Listening in Early Childhood: An Interdisciplinary Review of the Literature

International Journal of Listening 01/2010; 24(1):1-18. DOI: 10.1080/10904010903466279


Three general purposes of research in human development are to explain, predict, and modify behavior. Studies of listening during early childhood (birth through age eight) are of particular significance to the field because they enable researchers to describe listening processes from their very origins (explain), they demonstrate the effects of early listening experiences on later experiences (predict), and they offer practical guidance to adults who are committed to exerting a positive influence on the listening habits of the very young (modify). To those ends, this interdisciplinary review examines six different strands in the research literature: (1) listening research with infants and toddlers, (2) evidence for a listening/literacy connection, (3) the link between listening and socio-emotional development, (4) the listening needs of special populations, (5) studies of classrooms as environments for listening, and (6) curriculum issues in basic and higher education. The article concludes with a philosophical stance that holds the greatest promise for supporting young children's growth as listeners.

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