Essay Preview: Learining Process
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The learning process and its identifiable patterns
The learning process begins before birth and continues until death. It begins even in the fetal stage of development. Recent research indicates that the growing fetus is more than an unfeeling organism, but that it is actually an active learner. A fetus learns to turn away for light when shined on, changes in movement and heart rate change when loud music is played, or when the mother is in a stressful state.1 These suggest that there are specific behaviors being modified and changed due to experience and that the fetus is learning about them. After birth, an infant is flooded with new senses and sensations; each must be explored and learned. These include: problem solving, language, memory, creative thinking, early math, and English. An infant can realize that an unsupported object will fall and that an object in motion wants to stay in motion until blocked. Starting around 8 months, babies actively solve problems to reach goals. They begin to understand that actions cause reactions and enforce this by repeating their “experiments” over and over again. Hearing and language are also beginning to be learned from birth, and before, hearing speech helps newborns become familiar with sounds and begin to develop the ability to produce the sounds of speech. It usually begins with the mimicking of animals and progresses to simple one or two syllable words and eventually into full sentences. It has also been shown that infants who are spoken to more in complete sentences are able to speak in full sentences sooner than infants who are rarely spoken to, or spoken little to. These infants will still learn speech, but at a much slower rate. As an infant grows, so does the memory. Memory begins with crawling and cruising. As they move they experience elements of space from different vantages and begin to remember where things are. Basic memory skills begin to appear around 3 months; by 12 months they may be able to retain a specific sequence for three or more behaviors, words and events. Eventually babies develop autobiographical memory; or a memory of events and feelings.
Learning is observable
Some learning is observable while most is not. Most learning takes place mentally, while the brain processes the information it has been given and stores it. Learning is observable and I have seen it on some occasions, an example I can think of is when trying to teach a student what they perceive to be a complicated, or inconceivable task and then suddenly it all clicks for them and you can see a physical reaction, they get excited, their faces light up and literally a light goes on. Most learning is not as observable by a change in behavior, but it is observable by the products they are able to produce, and this leads to an overall change in behavior, or attitude towards
themselves. If a child cannot accomplish a task because it has not been learned this can lead to lower self esteem, which can change behavior negatively, the reverse is true for the opposite.
Learning is thinking and/or a change in thinking
Learning is both thinking and a change in thinking. The example given in the book with the water is a great example of this, when water is poured from a short, fat glass into a tall, skinny glass 3 and 4 year olds think there is more water, but by