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Language Learning Process

A- Language Learning

Learning to speak and understand a language is one of the most complex types of learning, yet all normal children master this skill in the first few years of their lives. The familiar principles of shaping, reinforcement, generalization, discrimination, and observational learning all play a role in a child’s language learning. However, in the 1950s American linguist Noam Chomsky proposed that these basic principles of learning cannot explain how children learn to speak so well and so rapidly. Chomsky theorized that humans have a unique and inborn capacity to extract word meanings, sentence structure, and grammatical rules from the complex stream of sounds they hear. Although Chomsky’s theory is controversial, it has received some support from scientific evidence that specific parts of the human brain are essential for language. When these areas of the brain are damaged, a person loses the ability to speak or comprehend language

B- Learning by Listening and Reading

Because people communicate through language, they can learn vast amounts of information by listening to others and by reading. Learning through the spoken or written word is similar to observational learning, because it allows people to learn not simply from their own experiences, but also from the experiences of others. For example, by listening to a parent or instructor, children can learn to avoid busy streets and to cross the street at crosswalks without first experiencing any positive or negative consequences. By listening to and observing others, children can learn skills such as tying a shoelace, swinging a baseball bat, or paddling a canoe. Listening to the teacher and reading are essential parts of most classroom learning.

Much of what we read and hear is quickly forgotten. Learning new information requires that we retain the information in memory and later be able to retrieve it. The process of forming long-term memories is complex, depending on the nature of the original information and on how much a person rehearses or reviews the information. See Memory.

C- Concept Formation  

Concept formation occurs when people learn to classify different objects as members of a single category. For example, a child may know that a mouse, a dog, and a whale are all animals, despite their great differences in size and appearance. Concept formation is important because it helps us identify stimuli we have never encountered before. Thus, a child who sees an antelope for the first time will probably know that it is an animal. Even young children learn a large number of such concepts, including food, games, flowers, cars, and houses. Although language plays an important role in how people learn concepts, the ability to speak is not essential for concept formation. Experiments with birds and chimpanzees have shown that these animals can form concepts

D- Learning Motor Skills

A motor skill is the ability to perform a coordinated set of physical movements. Examples of motor skills include handwriting, typing, playing a musical instrument, driving a car, and most sports skills. Learning a motor skill is usually a gradual process that requires practice and feedback. Learners need feedback from a teacher or coach to tell them which movements they are performing well and which need improvement. While learning a new motor skill, the learner should direct full attention to the task. Some motor skills, if learned well, can be performed automatically. For example, a skilled typist can type quickly and accurately without thinking about every keystroke.


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