Why Children Talk to Themselves; The Child's Mind; Exclusive Online Issues; by Laura E. Berk; 5 Page(s)
As any parent, teacher, sitter or casual observer will notice, young children talk to themselves-- sometimes as much or even more than they talk to other people. Depending on the situation, this private speech (as modern psychologists call the behavior) can account for 20 to 60 percent of the remarks a child younger than 10 years makes. Many parents and educators misinterpret this chatter as a sign of disobedience, inattentiveness or even mental instability. In fact, private speech is an essential part of cognitive development for all children. Recognition of this fact should strongly influence how both normal children and children who have trouble learning are taught.
Although private speech has presumably been around as long as language itself, the political climate in Russia in the 1930s, and the authority of a great Western cognitive theorist, prevented psychologists and educators from understanding its significance until only very recently. In Russia more than six decades ago, Lev S. Vygotsky, a prominent psychologist, first documented the importance of private speech. But at that time, the Stalinist regime systematically persecuted many intellectuals, and purges at universities and research institutes were common.