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Why understanding the development of oral language matters

Abstract: Oral language is foundational for learning and attainment. Understanding the relationships between language and learning requires an awareness of the the key components of the language system and how these impact across development. By corollary language development depends on children’s language learning environments: without effective language learning environments development is compromised. Using an implementation science framework drawing on our own data about language and language interventions in the early years I outline challenges for supporting oracy in preschool settings. These developmental challenges are considered by examining the ways in which the language learning environment and language learning interactions can serve as barriers/supports to learning and development. Methodological and conceptual challenges for future research are considered to further our ability to effectively impact on policy and practice.

Speaker bio: Julie Dockrell is Professor of Psychology and Special Needs at the UCL Institute of Education and is qualified as both a clinical and educational psychologist. Her research interests are in patterns of language development and the ways in which oral language skills impact on children’s learning, interaction, and attainments. A central theme in her research has been the application of evidence-based research to support children’s learning through interventions, enhanced language learning environments and professional development. Previously she was deputy chair of the BPS research board, treasurer and chair of the BPS developmental psychology section. In 2023 she was awarded the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Developmental Psychology’ by the BPS Developmental Psychology section.


December 7, 2023
4:00 pm
- 5:00 PM