'Conversation at home enhances children's performance in school'

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London, Dec 14 (UNI) A study suggests that conversation at home helps children to perform well in school, supporting what the elders say -- a child learns his first lesson at home.

According to the research published today, ''The amount and quality of the dialogue children experience at home in the pre-school years correlated strongly with their eventual academic attainment.'' The study led by the Cambridge-based academic Professor Robin Alexander said, children from the poorest homes may do worse at school because their parents do not talk to them enough.

It also revealed that the average child from a well-off home will have heard 44 million ''utterances'' by the time they reach the age of four. By contrast, those from the least well-off backgrounds will only have heard 12 million words.

The authors stressed the significance of hearing language and engaging in pretend play in the classroom as well as direct teaching for motivating children and helping them learn, the Independent reported today.

They also said they could find no ''direct link'' between vocabulary at home and academic performance but argue: ''It may be that children's social background influences the likelihood that they will spontaneously engage in reasoned discussion resembling exploratory talk in primary school''.

This, they claimed , could have an impact on the benefits they gain from being taught in the classroom.

The research also highlighted the importance of teachers adopting a conversational style with their pupils to get the best responses out of them, rather than relying on direct teaching in front of the whole class.

The report said parents with ''high aspirations and expectations'' often get more out of public services such as education. Those from ethnic minority groups with English as a second language , about 12.5 per cent of all pupils, fail to make progress at school, it adds.

It also warned that children with special needs are three times more likely to be excluded from school than other pupils, a move which only exacerbates their problems.


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