This article is about the form of communication. For the legal concept, see government speech. Private speech is speech spoken to oneself for communication, self-guidance, and methods of speech development preschoolers-regulation of behavior. Private speech is typically observed in children from about two to seven years old.
Private speech or “self-talk” is observed speech spoken to oneself for communication, self-guidance, and self-regulation of behavior. In 1923, Piaget published The Language and Thought of the Child. In this book he recorded his observations of children talking to themselves in classrooms and termed the idea of self-talk as “egocentric speech”, which was the earliest concept of private speech. In Thought and Language, Vygotsky argued that egocentric speech was a part of normal development of communication, self-guidance, self-regulation of behavior, planning, pacing, and monitoring skills. Vygotsky explains that private speech stems from a child’s social interactions as a toddler, then reaches a peak during preschool or kindergarten when children talk aloud to themselves. Vygotsky’s theory of private speech has been deemed noteworthy to more recent developmental psychologists, providing a stepping-stone for over 75 years.
Berk, Winsler, Diaz, Montero, Neal, Amaya-Williams, and Wertsch are amongst some of the current well-known developmental psychologists and researchers who have been specializing in the field of private speech. Evidence has supported Vygotsky’s theory that private speech provides many developmental benefits for children. Above all, private speech aids children in different types of self-guidance and self-regulation. More specific uses and benefits of private speech are listed below. Young children’s behaviors are strongly influenced by the environment.
For instance, the presence of an interesting new toy in the preschool classroom is likely to draw a child’s attention and influence his or her play. Private speech helps children to verbally guide their own behavior and attention by helping them to detach themselves from stimuli in their environment. The relationship between private speech and behavioral self-regulation is further demonstrated by research showing that children use more private speech when asked to do more difficult tasks or when asked to do tasks without the help of a teacher or parent. Young children also use private speech to help them regulate their emotions.
One way that children regulate their emotions and comfort themselves through private speech is by mimicking their parents’ comforting speech. Private speech is used by children spontaneously and is a learned strategy to enhance memory. Private speech is used as a repetitive strategy, to enhance working memory by maintaining information to be remembered. By expressing goals, opinions, feelings, and self-thoughts through private speech, private speech increases children’s motivation. For instance, a child may talk him- or herself through a challenging task.