Talking With Drums

Delivery Method: 

During the earliest months of life infants are mostly the recipients of adults' efforts to engage them socially. A shift occurs around twelve months. Infants begin to actively capture and maintain the attention of others. Objects often afford infants the opportunity to create a sense of shared meaning and to build early social exchanges with others.

In this videative we see how Leah, a 12-month-old, invents ways to maintain a conversation with her teacher by using a drum. Leah's use of gaze, well-timed pauses, and choice of actions, reveal her understanding of other people’s thinking and her knowledge about the give-and-take that fosters social exchanges. We see how Leah initially follows the teacher’s lead by imitating her drumming patterns and then introduces a new topic of conversation by creating a novel drumming pattern for the teacher to follow.

A one-tap dialogue has been going on for a full minute. In the first few seconds of this trailer, as the teacher taps, Leah raises her arm in anticipation of her turn to tap the drum. She models the teacher's two taps and then pauses and looks up at the teacher as if to say, "Your turn." Leah withdraws her arm and waits for the teacher to respond. Now the teacher varies the rhythm by tapping only once. Leah responds in kind. Notice how the teacher makes slight variations in the strength or the delay of the beat just as a way to make the conversation more interesting. Like two people having a verbal dialogue, child and teacher work to listen and respond, vary and accommodate. Clearly this dialogue on the drum forms a basis for understanding the structure of dialogue with words.

Keywords: Infants, Drums, Child-Teacher, Communication, Imitation, Non-Verbal, videative

Length of videative: 5 text pages, 6 video subclips

Length of stand-alone master video clip: 1 minute, 36 seconds