The Art of Children's Conversation,
Keith Lamb and Louise Howland
by Annie Desantis
The Art of Children's Conversation
What a great family tool this is! TAOC - The Art of Conversation, is a game that aims to help children to develop not only speaking but probably more importantly, listening skills.
I was recently commenting to some friends, that conversational skills are a lost art, and particularly with Televisions, computers and phones. Media has intruded into our lives in such a way that our interactions are often on the fly, and sitting and conversing - talking AND listening is something that has become rare. Communication has become text message quality, and children don't learn how to listen, debate, ask questions or explore a topic in any depth.
Interactive listening seldom happens in classroom either, children mostly have to sit and be told information and instructions. Unless they actually join a debating club, they don't learn to put forward points of view. And debating, is really more adversarial, it is about scoring points for the best argument, whereas conversation is about listening and understanding just as much as having the confidence to put forward a point of view.
So discovering TAOC - The Art of Conversation - I was delighted. If families even just used this game once a week, it would have a huge impact on the quality of their interactions, and kids would gain tremendous skills.
TAOC provides a framework for discussing and listening, so kids get the opportunity to both practice presenting ideas and opinions in a non-judgmental way, and also learn to take turns at listening and understanding others.
Wouldn't it be brilliant if something like this was part of the curriculum - as well as practiced at home! It most certainly would be a fantastic resource for homeschooling families. Although these families are probably having far more conversations than the average!
There is lots of research that shows children begin learning communication (not just language) at a very young age, and babies that are exposed to lots of conversations and interactions with adults end up with a much wider vocabulary by the time they reach school. They also have better all round communication skills, even handling conflict better.
Sadly, experts agree that more children are starting school with verbal language delays, decreased vocabularies and poor speech.
Without adequate language skills, children have difficulty developing their ideas. Initially, verbal skills are simply used to express needs and wants. With development, children become able to communicate far more and begin to discuss their inner state, and also recognize the feelings and ideas of others.
Children who communicate well by the time they start school have a head-start in life. They are more confident, happier, make friends more easily and are less likely to be bullied or marginalized.
This family tool is an excellent way for children (and adults!) to expand their communication skills and language development as well as an excellent bonding process.
I'd highly recommend every family has a copy of this great game - and there is even a Travel Edition
available. What a great idea for long car journeys!