Can limited speech silence the better angels of students’ nature?
finds that some children with poor language skills not only have trouble communicating with others but can also lack the “running internal monologue” that helps them control their behavior.
After controlling for students’ sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, prior levels of behavior problems, academic performance in mathematics, reading, and short-term memory, researchers at the Cognitive Development Lab at IU found students’ language skills predicted their later behavior problems more strongly than behavior problems predicted later language skills. In the tests of self-regulation, researchers found a link: Children with lower language skills had less “self-directed speech” and were less able to self-regulate in tasks requiring impulse control.
A version of this article appeared in the August 27, 2014 edition of Education Week as Language