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Publikacja nr
4678
rok szkolny
2007/2008

 
Archiwum publikacji
w serwisie Publikacje edukacyjne

When a child's language education is best to be initiated ?

This short article tackles the intricate issue of school readiness giving the insight into two humble remarks emerging mostly from the empirical experience leading to the conclusion that the parents' or caretakers' linguistic ambition or child's readiness reaching the stage of adequate reporting of physiological needs may seem to be insufficient when making quick and astonishing progress in learning foreign languages is considered.

According to awarded senior science writer for Newsweek magazine and Wall Street journal Begley,S.: "A baby's brain is a work in progress, trillions of neutrons are waiting to be wired into a mind. The experiences of childhood, pioneering research shows, help form the brain's circuits-for music and math, language and emotion." It means that the education process or more precisely the education of the sensitiveness to different sounds is possible to be initiated as early as during the foetal life i.e. while reading aloud fairytales or playing the cassettes. These above mentioned early implemented teaching methods seem to approve also the scientific research made by Torsten Wiesel and David Hubel stating that "(...). Sensory areas mature in early childhood; the emotional limbic system is wired by puberty; the frontal lobes - seat of understanding - develop at least through the age of 16."

What is more, everybody knows the proverb such as "Just as the twig is bent the tree is inclined", though, the children's achievements in the area of mastering the basis of linguistic knowledge depends mainly on:

  • Willingness to acquire knowledge
  • Individual predispositions
  • The capacity and permanence of ones memory
  • Emotional lability (unsteadiness).

    To put it otherwise, children's kindergarten and school readiness may play the fundamental role in acquiring all of the above mentioned abilities. A child's readiness for the kindergarten includes in most cases the openness for unknown that is the capability to enter into social relationships which are established by children who are two years of age and eager to play with their peers rather than with their mums as it usually takes place during the pastime activities in the sandpit. As far as the kindergarten preparation period is concerned, along with working on establishment in child's mind, any form of acceptance of new situations such as these connected with the regular meeting of their foreign-language teacher without the assistance of parents as well as the strengthening of social bonds via encouraging them to stay in a group of children, share toys, play and cooperate, let alone developing various recovery strategies after loosing battles should also be taken into consideration. During the preparation period, while temporary separated from caretakers, the positive experience seems to play the substantial role when playing with children. A child psychologically mature to take up the linguistic knowledge is the one who is both aware of temporary separation from their parents and ready to become independent, which "usually manifests itself at about four years of age" due to a British psychoanalyst, notable for his interest in child development and his pioneering work in attechment theory.Therefore, a well-prepared child to take part in foreign language classes is the one who has became well-acquainted with and accepted the rules of social life meaning that they are not afraid of staying alone for longer period of time among their peers or with their foreign-language teacher.

    Additionally, a child duly prepared for linguistic classes does not have any problems neither with speech and hearing apparatus nor handling of pencils, scissors, not to mention drawing, painting, sticking, cutting and tearing out activities in which of course a foreign- language teacher can help but developing all these skills independently, so often exploited during the teaching sessions, can result in both money and time savings as the child, except for linguistic skills, will not have to acquire any other skills, which they simply do not have. This leads to substantial shortening of educational process as well as enabling children to more cheerful participation in their foreign-language classes by engaging all their senses in the natural process of learning via entertaining instead of struggling with all these activities simultaneously.

    What is more, shaping or improving motoric, mobility and coordination skills, dexterity or laterality, let alone exercising logical thinking, visual and three-dimensional memory, perceptiveness, learning numbers, matching, discernment, colour recognition, effective jigsaw puzzles' arrangements or logical arrangements of small pieces encouraging intellectual development or pushing their manual skills to their limits. For example dexterity or focusing attention on task performance prove that the purposeful and consistent activities seem to lay indispensable foundations for the effective methods of teaching foreign languages allowing a child to become more successful in their future life in varied realms of interests, let alone the linguistic ones.

    Furthermore, children prepared for foreign-language classes can listen to others, they are able to concentrate their attention on what other people have to say or on what they themselves are up to. In addition to this, they can follow the commands, can freely express themselves verbally. A wide range of vocabulary allows them to establish comprehensive communication with everybody. In consequence, children should not only be able to articulate their own anxieties but also share their feelings. Their mother tongue is supposed to help them in it so it is highly recommended to make it occlusal as well as grammatically correct. It is worth stressing that the appropriate word pronunciation can be an indispensable factor not only in further reading and writing achievements but also for competent distinction of foreign-language sounds.

    Another determinant of children maturity level may be the ability to end up the allotted activities and finish the assignment. Less mature children are unable to complete their tasks, they neglect their chores or become whimsical and unmanageable.

    On one side, there are unsteady children who are simply immature for taking part in kindergarten, school or linguistic classes on various stages of their developments, sometimes even the first-formers display low level of school readiness due to which they are able to burst into tears, weep or become irritated due to extremely trivial causes in order to avoid confrontation with their teacher.

    On the other side, only few children have their motivation for learning foreign languages equally developed. There are children, though, who associate learning with great fun and adventure. These children, however, need to be explained the sense and told about the toil of learning. They must be shown the aims and methods to achieve these goals. It's worth making them realize that the substantial knowledge at the beginning of learning process does not guarantee the end-up success. The key to success seems to be the mixture of both the elaborated habit of systematical work and eagerness to gain education undoubtedly leading to the victory in the field of picking up foreign languages.

    It's worth remembering that in order to increase children's chances for the prosperity the development should be harmonious at every stage of their lives which is bound to assure a steady pace of changes and guarantee that all aspects of children's development will stick together.

    To sum up, children's intellectual, emotional, manual-motoric development as well as the motivation for resuming the attempts and toil of learning, moulded since early childhood, seem to be the main detriments of their success in future English-dominated world.

    References:

  • Begley, S. (1996) "Your child's brain", Newsweek.
  • Kwiatowska, M. "Podstawy pedagogiki przedszkolnej", Warszawa 1988
  • Kargulowa, A. "Dojrzałość szkolna a jakość startu edukacyjnego", Wrocław 1980.
  • Pelcowa, M. "Uspołecznienie dzieci rozpoczynających naukę szkolną", Warszawa 1965.
  • Jóźwiak-Brudzińska, M. "Dojrzałość szkolna - kilka słów do rodziców, których dzieci rozpoczynają naukę szkolną", Publikacje edukacyjne, publikacja nr 4616, www.publikacje.edu.pl
  • Tomaszewski, T. "Wstęp do psychologii", PWN 1963.
  • Wilk, B. "Dojrzałość szkolna" prezentacja multimedialna (2005), Publikacje edukacyjne, publikacja nr 4589, www.publikacje.edu.pl
  • Dbaj, S. (2006) "Zabawa i jej rodzaje" Publikacje edukacyjne, publikacja nr 3998, www.publikacje.edu.pl
  • Dickinson, L. (1993) "Aspects of autonomous learning"
  • Józefik, B., Pilecki M. (listopad 2007) "Jakie więzi takie życie" , Charaktery.
  • Bowlby, J. "Maternal Care and Mental Health", 1952.

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