Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Common Myths About Communication: DON'T BELIEVE THEM

Here's another important message from Dr. James. D. MacDonald, aka "Dr. Jim", from Communicating Partners and Play to Talk.

by Dr James D MacDonald

Our 35+ years of clinical research with hundreds of families and professionals reveal several common beliefs about Conversation.

These beliefs can seriously limit a child’s success in life.
(MacDonald, 2004; MacDonald and Mitchell, 2002)

1. Conversation skills come after language.
2. Children have conversation skills needed to generalize learning to daily lives.
3. Conversations come automatically with language.
4. Conversations at home are not important
5 Conversations cannot be taught
6. Conversations do not belong in therapy and education
7. Parents cannot teach conversation.
5. Questions and monologues are sufficient conversation skills.
7. Conversation skills cannot be learned.
8 Conversations do not help a child learn
9. Conversations do not belong in education
10. Conversation is not necessary for success in life.


Widespread research findings show the above assumptions to be untrue and support the following conclusions that are the bases of the Communicating Partners approach to Conversation.

1. Conversation skills should be learned long before speech

2. The earlier they are learned; the easier conversation develops.

3. Many schools teach cognitive, and behavioral skills without the conversation skills needed to make them work in daily life.

4. Many educational approaches actually train children to NOT have conversations.

5. Conversations definitely do not come automatically with language: many have much language and little conversation.

6. Without conversations, people appear much less competent than they really are.

7. Children are often evaluated (diagnosed) improperly when they have limited conversation skills.

9. Conversations simply mean going back and forth meaningfully with partner with any behaviors—actions, sounds, as well as words.

10. Conversation skills can be learned as well as any other social skills:

11 We actually learn more from conversations than from being taught.

12. Daily social routines foster greater learning than academic or behavioral drills because they allow conversations about immediate experiences.

13. We should not expect conversations to be easily learned in academic settings unless they are deliberately structured.
Thank you for thinking about these life-changing ideas.

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