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Posted: October 3rd, 2023

Assessment 1: Reflective Essay Reflections on “The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6-Year-Olds”

INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION – Assessment 1: Reflective Essay
Session due: Session 6
Date 23 October
Length: 1200 words maximum
Marks: 100 (40%)
What is a Reflective Essay?
Reflection exercises offer the student the opportunity to consider their thoughts, opinions, and experiences about specific content covered in the module. Furthermore, it allows the student to engage with how their own opinions and experiences influence their acceptance, understanding and views of new theories, ideas, concepts, or information. Writing that focuses on reflection allows the student to not only express their own opinions but also work to improve their analytical skills, as well as, their comprehension of key concepts and/or ideas related to the topic for reflection.
The student’s ability to: examine their thoughts about the content, and what it means for them, offering a unique and independent yet related view, and understanding of the content, will be assessed. Furthermore, the student’s ability to write and reflect will be assessed.
Write a reflective essay in which you will explore various aspects of interpersonal communication. The essay should include the following:
1. Transferable skills: Begin by explaining the concept of transferable skills and their significance in interpersonal communication. In particular, discuss the importance of interpersonal communication as a transferable skill. Use examples to illustrate your points.
2. Non-verbal communication: Next, explain why non-verbal communication is particularly important in a counselling setting. Use research to support your explanation, and provide examples to show how non-verbal communication can impact the effectiveness of counselling.
3. Self-concept, self-awareness, and self-esteem: Consider the concepts of self-concept, self-awareness, and self-esteem, and explain how these affect a person’s communication effectiveness. Also, reflect on how your own interpersonal communication skills are influenced by your self-concept, self-awareness, and self-esteem. Use examples to illustrate your points.
4. Culture and interpersonal communication: Finally, discuss the role and influence of culture in interpersonal communication, with specific reference to the South African context. Explain why it is important to understand the influence of culture in interpersonal communication, and how this understanding can improve communication effectiveness. Use research and examples to support your arguments.
Session due: Session 6
Date: 23 October
Length: 2100 words maximum
Marks: 100 (40% of the final grade)
What is an essay?
Essays generally demonstrate the author’s research, position, and understanding of a specific topic or subject matter. The student should demonstrate their understanding of the topic through personal interpretation in addition to citing literature and relating its applicability to the topic. Essays differ based on the module topic under investigation. Ideas should be presented logically and coherently, showcasing a reasoned argument in the relevant subject under investigation, and specifically meeting the respective assignment instructions. The student should make use of appropriate academic language relevant to the subject and incorporate a conclusion that is consistent with the evidence in the essay about the topic.
The student’s ability to: select, organise, integrate and present information from various credible sources will be assessed. Furthermore, the student’s ability to write, develop an argument, present their position, present supporting evidence of their research on the topic and demonstrate their understanding of the subject matter will be assessed.
Watch the second episode of ‘The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6-Year-Olds’ and write an essay that responds to the following:
1. Start your essay with a brief reflection on what stood out for you in the episode you watched. Your reflection should be no longer than 100 words.
2. Define the concept of developmental milestones and support your definition with literature. You must explain what developmental milestones are and provide references to scholarly sources that back up your definition.
3. Identify and discuss the key developmental milestones that you observed in the video, and provide examples from the episode to support your points. This requires you to pay attention to the children’s behaviours, actions, and interactions with others to identify the milestones they’ve achieved.
4. Choose one developmental theory that you think is relevant to the context of the video, and use it to analyse the behaviour and interactions of the children in the episode. When discussing the theory, you should cover:
??The key characteristics of the developmental theory that is evident in the episode.
??Criticisms are labelled against the theory.
5. Present an argument about the significance of early childhood development and reflect on the unique challenges that South African parents face when trying to access quality early childhood development support centres. This requires you to research and analyse the challenges and barriers that exist in South Africa that may prevent parents from accessing these resources.
6. Use research to support your answers wherever possible. This means providing
references to relevant literature to back up your arguments.

Reflections on “The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6-Year-Olds”
(100 words)
Watching this episode, I was struck by the children’s burgeoning independence and curiosity about the world. They showed budding social skills through play yet also flashes of selfishness and impatience. Most memorable was one boy struggling to share with frustration, highlighting social-emotional milestones still unfolding at this age.
Developmental Milestones
Developmental milestones refer to abilities that children are expected to achieve by certain ages (1). They reflect progress in physical, cognitive, language, and social-emotional domains as children’s brains and bodies develop. Some key milestones for 4-6 year olds include independently dressing, writing their name, counting to 20, following rules, taking turns, and expressing emotions through language rather than behavior (2). Milestones provide a framework to monitor children’s growth and identify any delays requiring support.
Milestones Observed in the Episode
Physically, the children showed increased independence through dressing themselves with minor assistance. Cognitively, they recognized numbers, colors and could problem-solve basic tasks like opening a juice box. Language skills were evident as they communicated needs, asked questions and chatted with peers (3). Socially, most played cooperatively but one boy struggled to share, highlighting the uneven nature of development at this stage (4). Their curiosity emerged through exploring objects, asking “why” frequently and testing boundaries, reflecting cognitive development according to Piaget’s preoperational stage (5).
Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development

Piaget’s theory posits children progress through sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational and formal operational stages of cognitive growth (6). In the preoperational stage from ages 2-7, children develop symbolic thought and language but still struggle with abstract concepts, logic and perspective-taking (7). This was evident as children in the episode showed imagination through play yet struggled to cooperate or understand others’ feelings at times due to still emerging cognitive abilities. However, Piaget is criticized for underestimating children’s competencies which vary individually (8).
Significance of Early Childhood Development

Quality early childhood development lays the foundation for lifelong learning, wellbeing and success (9). Yet in South Africa, many lack access to early education due to poverty, lack of facilities and teacher shortages in disadvantaged areas (10). The result is millions of children entering under-resourced primary schools without the home or center-based stimulation needed to reach their full potential (11). Addressing barriers like lack of funding, transportation, information and culturally-relevant curricula could help close the development gap between socioeconomic classes from an early age.
In conclusion, this episode highlighted the rapid developmental changes occurring in early childhood. Applying theory aids understanding while recognizing individual variation. Ensuring all South African children can access nurturing early learning environments is crucial for breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty and disadvantage. Ongoing research and advocacy are needed to strengthen early childhood development systems and outcomes.


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