child learning, child development
A famous psychologist once arranged a narrow pathway of glass in the form of a T . When he placed an earthworm at the base of the T, it crawled up the tube. When it arrived at the top, it turned sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left. Repeated trials showed that the earthworm had no particular preference for the direction it turned.
Then the psychologist changed the situation. He placed an irritating substance in the left arm of the T and an artificial burrow at the right. Now, after repeated trials, the earthworm turned regularly to the right, avoiding the irritation on the left. Even after a vacation from the T, the worm still remembered its experiences - and turned to the right.
Laboratory experiments give facts on learning
Experiments like this have been made with dogs, cats, and other kinds of animals. They point to some of the basic features of simple types of child learning process, and are confirmed by our observations of children. A child, of course, differs enormously from an earthworm.
The earthworm, for example, is capable of simple learning only; a child has a capacity for learning many complex ideas.
The psychologist couldn't talk with the earthworm, but your child responds to conversation. He learns by your direction. And another difference: the child's stimulation need not even be apparent - it may be a future goal, for example.
Our experiences today affect our actions tomorrow child learning, child development
After having an unpleasant experience in one arm of the glass tube, the earthworm in the experiment learned to avoid ligature unpleasantness by turning in the opposite direction.
Similarly, Jimmy doesn't try to put his hand on the hot stove today because when he tried it yesterday he was almost burned. Yesterday's experience changed today's behavior.
Learning took place. Four basic principles of learning are:
1. We intend to avoid unfavorable or painful situations.
2. We adopt those habits winch result in satisfying outcomes.
3. We form habits by repeating experiences.
4. We are influenced by our memories of past experiences.
The results of learning can be seen or felt by others: they are habits, skills, attitudes, insights, knowledge, and memories. In a broad sense, learning is as much a part of alar daily lives as are eating, sleeping, and breathing. Because it is ever with us, it is easy to take learning for granted, and to overlook making plans to direct it. That's why I urge you to direct gently child's learning.
Signs that show learning is taking place
“If I deliberately set out to help my Ricky learns how will I know when child learning is taking place?” you ask. Are there signs to watch for?” Let me reply by giving several illustrations that bring out some of main features of how learning takes place.
Parents should watch for signs that show learning is taking place
Remember when Ricky was a baby and you placed his Parents should just toy in his crib? He kicked his feet, waved his hands, and made many useless movements trying to grasp the toy. So you offered it over and over again. Gradually the useless movements of his hands and feet ceased. Finally Ricky made a direct grasp of the toy. This is one sign that learning is going on : the elimination or dropping off of unnecessary movements.
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