Tuesday, May 17, 2005

How babies learn

Learning is a process that starts as soon as a human being is born. Not only humans, but also the same thing applies for every living creature in this universe. Learning is of many types like natural, unnatural, conventional, non-conventional, formal, informal, non-formal, direct, and indirect, etc. Among these natural learning is a must for every living being. Without it life can not be sustained.

Let us have a look how a baby starts learning from the very birth. For this we have to chalk out the needs of the babies, which lead them to learn and fulfill them. Feed is the first need. How a baby comes to know as to how to intake any given substance? This is natural learning. Whenever a baby cries due to the reflexes of appetite, it is brought near the mother for breast-feeding. No body tells the baby about the technique of sucking out mother's feed. The obvious helpers are the need and the endeavor.

Now, how the babies learn to sit, crawl on the ground, stand, walk, speak, climb up and down the bed, excrete urine, passing out stools, chewing, holding articles, drinking and so on, are all the learning processes which are natural. In some of these like standing, walking, sitting, and crawling, etc., a bit of external help is provided by the caretakers, which is in the form of inspiration only. That is to encourage the baby to get perfection in the given process. Again the will power, the need and the endeavor of the baby are very essential for this. Take the case of mentally challenged babies. They do not learn all the abovementioned techniques, which are essential to sustain life or in some cases these babies learn upto only certain extent and also not very skillfully. What is lacking in them? The lack of willpower, the endeavor and the need are the main causes. There is no fault or disobedience but it is their inability to feel for these things.

Practice is an important aspect with the learning for a baby. For example it is practice that determines that a baby is going to be a left hander or a right hander in future. Now, language, clothing, habits of food, reading, and writing, etc., are some learning techniques, which are unnatural. That is to say that these depend entirely upon the region, culture and tradition in which the babies is born and also the caretakers, which are most of the times around the baby. A baby born in India will speak a different language than the baby born in the USA. Similarly a baby born in Japan will have different clothing and food habits than a baby born in Australia. The likes and dislikes of babies are also directly attached to the abovementioned aspects. For example a baby born in a family on sea shores will most probably be a non-vegetarian since fish is easily accessible to them; whereas a baby born in a family, which is dependent upon agriculture, will most probably be a vegetarian since non-vegetarian food is not required very badly.

There is also an ability to learn something from child to child. Some little ones are brilliant and catch immediately whatever is there around them to learn, while some are slow learners. That is to say, they take there own time to observe the happenings around their surroundings or we can say that their brains need more time to recollect and communicate with the other sensory organs of the body and further with the surroundings. That is why we use the terms like brilliant, genius, intelligent, dull, lethargic, and naughty, etc., for different babies. So we can say that if a baby is able to learn well, all sorts of learning in the very beginning of his life, then it can make all his life comfortable since a good foundation stone can be laid down with the habit of good observation, good coordination, good communication and good conclusions with the mind, sense organs and the surroundings.

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