Monday, March 22, 2010

How children learn

This is a topic of hot research which people have uncovered only part answers to. Jean Mandler wrote a book called "How to build a baby". I read about 4 pages of it before realizing that it is a consolidated account of research, but that which doesnt give any real answers.

I dont claim to have answers either. But i did observe my children over last week when they were exposed to a week of Sanskrit. And here are some of my observations.

During the Sanskrit class, Anu taught the class Patata Sansksritam. One off the ladies in the class immediately wanted to know what the song meant. The ideal would be for her to understand what the song meant word for word.

Anjali, however, is content with learning the song and humming it left and right.

So Rule Number 1: Meanings and semantics are not important

When we spoke to Anjali, we used to say things like

"Bhavati kaadati?"

And she would answer

"bhavati kaadati"

And we would correct her

"Say Aham kaadaami"

She still hasnt gotten around to saying Aham kaadaami by herself, but I remember that when she was a toddler, she never used to say "I want" she used to say "Ani want". So

Rule Number 2: Conjugations are not important

We had several conversations in Sanskrit and part Sansksirt  and I am surprised how much Sanskrit Anjali actually understands. Sometimes she replies in Sanskrit and sometimes in English. Like yesterday.

Anjali: blah blah blah
Me: Kim Artam?
Anjali: Because blah blah blahh
Me: Kim Artam?
Anjali: because blah blah blah
Me: Kim artam?
Anjali: Dotn ask me why. I dont know!

This again shows the encoding of the term Kim artam and equating it to the English word why. Is this an explicit encoding, or is it a neuron where both constructs are grouped and represented together?
Why does Sophia, when I say

"Mama naskiaam na kaadatu"

drop all her work, come to me with a grin and bite my nose?

Aaah the mysteries of the world!!

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