Why is conversation important?

1. Language Development: From birth people are surrounded in a world full of language. As they begin to develop their own oral language, the influence of the adults around them is imperative. Hearing others speak begins the process of learning how language works. They learn phonemic, semantic, syntactic and contextual awareness. The development of learning to listen and speak is crucial not only for academic learning, but also for social and emotional growth.  Conversations are an important way to enlarge vocabulary.

2. Relationship-building: People are learning about life every single day. One important lesson is how to begin and maintain healthy relationships. Whether being a parent, family member, teacher or friend to others, your relationship serves as a model for future relationships. Engaging in rich discussions teaches a person how to be an active participant in life.

3. Discovery of the world: Talking with a person creates an opportunity to reveal something to them about the world around them. For example while going shopping, conversation might reveal about how food is prepared, by finding appropriate ingredients for a recipe or how to create a shopping list and follow through with it or even learning about different cultures.  For a person, everything is a lesson and conversations are one vehicle in their learning process.

4. Reasoning: Conversations encourage people to think about new ideas, develop questions and make decisions. It is so important to encourage children to think and make decisions for themselves. This later helps children become more independent and self-sufficient.

5. Understanding diversity: Young people are naturally self-centered. They see the world as revolving around them. Through interaction with different people, children learn that there are many different kinds of people with differing ideas, life styles and opinions. They then begin to develop understanding and acceptance of differences. Rich and frequent conversations with a wide variety of people can even teach a child how valuable diversity and discussion can be, as we each have something special to contribute.

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