When the Teacher Sings "Ball"

Delivery Method: 

When the teacher sings word-like sounds to Blake (10 months old), he orients more intently to the teacher. Notice how the teacher first invites Blake to make the same sounds she does. Then she elevates the invitation to consider that the word “ball” refers to the object she moves gently in her hand. By shifting back and forth between the game of “make my sounds” and “this object is called a ball” Blake might soon use the word “ball” himself in reference to the object. There is one place where Blake holds the ball up to the teacher, as if to invite her to share in his attention. Perhaps this is the beginning of shared reference, the first component of using a word to communicate to someone else the presence of a known object.

More generally, this is a mirroring game where sounds, inflection and tone emerge. The teacher initiates new sounds while also acknowledging and repeating Blake’s sounds back to him. Observe how the teacher gently draws Blake back into their conversation whenever he begins to disengage. Notice how she makes minor variations, (change in pitch, presentation of the ball, number of sounds) to subtly communicate to him that they are still working. The teacher ends the interaction by thanking Blake for sharing his voice, demonstrating her understanding of his capabilities and his willingness to play along. Run Time: 3 minutes 58 seconds