How Personal & Individual Issues Impact Language & Reading Development

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  • 0:01 Language & Reading Development
  • 1:00 Impact of Home Life
  • 2:08 Physical &…
  • 3:00 Emotional Issues
  • 4:10 Dealing With Issues
  • 5:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Students need to learn reading and language skills, but this is easier said than done. We are going to look at several issues that can impact student learning, including home life, physical/developmental situations, and emotional difficulties.

Language and Reading Development

Imagine that you could not read, or could not read well. Life would be quite a bit trickier. Reading and language skills are among the most important things that we teach children and studies have continuously shown that a failure to master these can impact education for the rest of a student's life. So, it's important to teach it well, but that's not always easy to do. Now, I'm not sure where you went to school, but where I grew up, our classroom had students, plural. I wasn't the only student there and every student learned materials slightly differently than I did. Some learned quicker, some learned slower. But the teacher had to deal with all learning styles together. Now whether it's simply a lack of motivation or a genetic condition, some students will struggle with learning language and reading skills. But, you've still got to teach them. After all, just imagine what could happen if you don't.

Impact of Home Life

So, what can cause difficulties with language and reading skills? Well, one place where we can look is in the student's home life. There are several issues at home that can impact a student, from a lack of emotional support to the stress of watching parents go through a divorce. But one major issue faced by many students is poverty. Let me start by clarifying that families in poverty are not bad, by any definition, nor can we assume that they don't care about education. But poverty does tend to lead to a less stable home life, with children who can not always assume that basic necessities will be available and where parents are often working inconsistent schedules. Also, in general, families in poverty have fewer opportunities to try new experiences, from traveling to visiting museums, which are shown to help students develop language and reading skills, simply by exposing them to new words and ideas. Many learning difficulties stem from issues like these that occur within the home, which can be difficult for teachers to both discover and resolve.

Physical and Developmental Issues

Sometimes, students with perfectly healthy home lives still struggle with language and reading skills, and this may be a result of physical or development issues that have nothing to do with exterior factors. Perhaps the child has a psychological condition, where sounds are not properly recognized by the brain, or a chemical imbalance that inhibits their ability to focus, or are simply maturing more slowly than their peers. It is estimated that 6-10% of children have some form of learning disability, which is basically a pattern of uneven development that impacts the ability to process information. Teachers should be aware of the symptoms of various learning disabilities because students themselves and their parents may not recognize the signs or may be too embarrassed to ask for help.

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