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How Children Learn by John Holt
The manner in which children learn is not only important for all, but the knowledge leads to a more concise understanding on the same. They learn emotional grammar of language earlier than structural grammar. This involves learning of underlying contents of talk, what it is all about, and what it is supposed to mean. The author uses example for this based on two TV sets to illustrate talks, events, and happenings. One set functions well and shows news and other programs, which unravels relationships between parents and children, boss and employee or friends and rivals. Children learn by being inquisitive; they could either watch these programs or ask probing questions about what they see. By the virtue of just observing through the window, they are likely to ask questions about people they see, such questions would include; who are they? What are they saying? What are they doing? (Holt 286).
The author contrasts the inquisitive nature of children to those of adults by arguing that people do not pay much attention to such details and types of questions because they are not certain of the type of response expected. Little children cannot and will not shy away from such questions, even though most their questions have no certain answers. This is why he believes children are living in a perpetual uncertainty and wonders. Few adults, on the other hand, would ask these children foolish questions in attempt of testing their intellects. It is from this aspect that he believes that children learn most of the world through this game of no answers. They slowly develop the natural learning style from which they become curious, and the desire to make sense from things, unravelling how things work, gain competencies as well as control of themselves and their environments as to emulate what others are doing at long run. They are not only open but also receptive and perceptive; this makes them unreachable, and they have no boundaries between strangers, confusion, and complication brought about by the world around them. They seem to have an experimental taste, in the sense that they prefer tasting the world around them rather than just seeing it, touching it, hefting it or breaking it in finding out how realities unravel themselves.
From as lower age as two, most of children would not prefer to just learn about the world: they also strive to be a part of it. Most of them would want to be like adults: to apply skills, to be careful, and emulate what adults do.
The writer argues that delay of gratification is uncalled for; it is thus not a good idea to let a child make use of useless and meaningless things so that they may apply some of them later in life, but rather children should be given real things and be guided in using them as they grow because of their curiosity driven by energy, determination, and patience in learning.
When children are more enthusiastic and passionate when learning, this helps them acquire physical skills more quickly and easily, which is, however, contrary to the slow schedule of learning structured by school system. Most of them would not follow such timeline. They tend to ask questions, write, read, and talk for long hours on a daily basis; they can, however, drop this desire and focus their attention on other issues. This is particularly useful in helping them acquire a more firm grip of what they already know and understand.
They have ability to correct their own mistakes upon realization if they are not hurried or scared. Though normally it takes time to realize that they have made a mistake at first, but later on when they do something wrong, they correct themselves (Holt 289).
Children are curious to participate in events happening around them, no matter how challenging the situation may seem they may even stop eating however hungry they may be (Holt 289).
School will not provide a good environment for this kind of thinking. Children learn independently and not in groups or bunches. The driving force for this is their interest and curiosity, which should thus be natured by their own way of controlling learning process. It is important that they are not taught about nature or anything in it; this is because they can figure out for themselves in their own best ways at their own convenient time. This calls for their freedom in exploring.
He argues that cramming of facts is not a good idea, but rather children should be allowed to direct their own learning process. Learning should be based on the desire to know, since this creates permanent learning process. He further asserts that there is a mystery in the human mind, although it is crucial to control what goes in a child’s mind. It is not possible to know or identify what others have learnt or of what they are aware. Similarly, children cannot be forced to learn: what needs to be done is to ensure their learning environment in school and classroom is accorded with help. Therefore, it is necessary to ask them what is important to them, listen with interest and respect what they say, and trust them to do everything in their own way, at their own pace and time (Holt 293).