A sound education, a lasting inheritance
- January 21, 2017
- Posted by: Zi Ying Lee
- Category: Message
A set of parents spend 9 months planning the arrival of their child and spend at least 17 years nurturing a child into a successful person. They buy toddler paraphernalia, attend parenting classes, set up vaccination dates with a paediatrician; there is much to consider in the upbringing of one child alone. Parents only want the best for their children so read on for some clues.
- Gardner Theory of Multiple Intelligences
There are many facets of child education to be considered. Let us start with the Multiple Intelligences Theory. Professor Howard Gardner of Havard classifies intelligences into 8 different classes in his Multiple Intelligences theory. It explains that every person displays varying degrees of the 8 classes: musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalistic. If you notice your child is particularly good in sports, this would indicate bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. Children who pick up languages quickly would be considered to have high verbal-linguistic intelligence. It is very important to understand a child’s strengths to be able to help the child polish his/her gifts and talents.
- Learning styles
A child’s predominant intelligence type will influence the learning style best suited to them. Some children are visual learners hence they will benefit most from watching media related to the lesson while some children learn best through the kinestatic/tactile style. Therefore, in order to select a learning style that will benefit the child most, one needs to first analyse and understand the child’s intelligence.
- Lesson Material Selection
With the progression of technology and the advent of VR immersion levels, teachers today have a vast array of teaching materials to choose from. Material selection for a lesson is dependent largely on the learning style of the students. For those who learn well visually, an English teacher may choose to watch a video with the students and then discuss it in class. On the other hand, children who pick up language better through reading and writing would benefit from a session of reading aloud with their teacher from texts and story books. Another factor to consider is how adept the teacher is in utilising the chosen material.
- The Anatomy of a Language
Have you ever wondered how a child learns a new language? Very much like how a baby learns how to say “mama” or “daddy”, we first listen before attempting to form the sounds ourselves. Educators consider the listening skill a receptive process, not so different from reading. There are 5 components of a language: listening, speaking, reading, writing and grammar. These components are all connected; listening leads to speaking while reading helps build a foundation for writing. If listening and reading are receptive processes, speaking and writing are termed as productive processes. The name is self-explanatory. Where does grammar factor into all these? Grammar is the garnishing that ties all the skills together to make sense of a language. When grammar is compromised, miscommunication may happen.
- Language Acquisition Theories
F. Skinner was an American psychologist who thinks of babies as “empty vessels” that you can fill with language. To be sure, these “empty vessels” may seem pointlessly loud in the earlier months, but there is a reason. The term Skinner used was “operant conditioning”, where a child learns through trial-and-error with reinforcement and shaping provided by their parents. This should come as no surprise, many childhood educationists agree that children are great imitators. A parent’s daily life routine will teach a child many things not found elsewhere.
- The Critical Age Theory. (The Age of Acquisition)
Children grow up faster than one thinks. It goes to reason that your child won’t be imitating you forever. Educationists may not agree on a fixed number for the Critical Age Theory, but all studies conclude that the human brain’s ability to process and acquire a language reduces after puberty. This is especially prominent in empirical studies concerning Second Language Acquisition. Data shows that few adult learners achieve native-like accents. Unfortunately, science has yet to find a way to prolong brain plasticity which is crucial in acquiring speaking skills. Thus, the best period to pick up languages is between ages 5 and puberty.
Material wealth has an end, but the wealth of a sound education is a lasting inheritance that your child will carry with him or her till the end of time.