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Educating Young Children

This research paper will focus on the personal and professional theories of childhood education as it is expressed by Noam Chomsky, David Johnson et al. , Ritzer, John Dewey and Sniegowski and Lenski and present an argument based on their findings for the early development of language in children. The paper will delve into cognitive developments of the mind in relation to Chomsky’s theories on language. Another viewpoint that will be strongly used is Johnson et al.

’s theories on isolation in classrooms and the use of communication as a main component of learning. My own personal opinions on early childhood education will be used both as a way of practice and theory. Chomsky Noam Chomsky suggests that language is an underlying acquisition device in the perimeters of the brain. This function of the brain is specialized and able to learn language at an exponential rate.

The mind then, is thusly equipped to be a computational device specific to communication because in the base of evolution is found the need to verbalize wants, needs and desires for either living necessities such as food and water but also for communal necessities, as is found in the classroom-thus, an early understanding of language is necessary in order to obtain life support and thus it behoves children to learn language quickly. The mind is not a reflex to the environment, but while it responds to that environment it also stores information for future use either through objects, sensory data or otherwise.

It is within these parameters that early childhood education should focus; that is the natural ability of the growing mind to expand, retain, and focus on their environment in a learning capacity. Through language there arises a sense of belonging through the brain’s ability to act and work like a computer the neural networks of the mind give off the impression of vocal integration of a species, and through this is found a preliminary common ground by which an individual may interpret signals and voice to demonstrate camaraderie, which is critical to early childhood education since sensory stimuli is essential to learning.

It is through language and communication that the essentials of education are evolved. Freud, Ritzer, and Dewey In Freud’s New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis translated by W. J. H. Sprott, he states: The danger of mental helplessness corresponds to the stage of early immaturity of the ego; the danger of loss of object or of love corresponds to the dependence of the early years of childhood; the danger of castration to the phallic phase; and finally, fear of the super-ego, which occupies a special position, to the period of latency.

As development proceeds the old conditions for anxiety should vanish, since the danger-situations, which correspond to them, have lost their force owing to the strengthening of the ego. But this only happens to a very incomplete degree. A great many people cannot overcome the fear of loss of love; they never become independent enough of the love of other people and continue their infantile behavior in this respect…There is no doubt that persons whom we call neurotic remain infantile in their attitude towards danger, and have not grown out of antiquated conditions of anxiety.

(122,123) And as Ritzer states, A thinking, self-conscious individual is…logically impossible in Mead’s theory without a prior social group. The social group comes first, and it leads to the development of self-conscious mental states. (207, Ritzer) Learning goals in regards to pragmatism can only be realized if consensus is constantly challenged-which is contrary to the argument of route recitation which schools so clearly base upon the developments of children.

That is what is meant by ‘Do not block the way of inquiry’ (Wiles Online). By generalizing education into separate genres the sociology and interrelated issues of each subject become a chaotic discord. Through this type of group learning, children learn that nothing is related and that one subject cannot breach another subject. Thus, route recitation is not the way in which children should be learning language but by interaction and placing importance on an object instead of through rudimentary means.

In support of this argument, Dewey brought to the foreground of early American pragmatism in the 1900’s that teachers should teach according to how the student learns. Thus, in order for children to become adept in learning language, it must be further argued that the teacher must know the interest of the student, and therefore, the child will make an effort to learn if it is something for which they already have a propensity.

John Dewey taught that a teacher cannot force a child to learn or even be interested in a subject; however, in the scenario of this argument, it is something the student has to choose. Opinion In the case of this argument for language usage by young children, schools must be approached through the achievement of common goals; not through students’ learning alone, but by teachers and administrators also in the pursuit of a school district must coincide. Language is not a tool which children can learn along as route recitation provides, but one in which many must aid in the advancement of a child.

As such, typical classroom schematics that have in the past pointed towards competition, and independent work ethic must be overruled by the more efficient cooperative small group learning dynamic. I believe small groups allow each member to fulfill a specific purpose and to work towards a common interest together; thus, the individuality that has been so prized in the academic arena no longer holds precedence through Johnson et al’s theory of cooperation (1986).

In the opposition of this argument, schools that have focused on working to deprive others through competitive classroom activities initiate a win/lose strategy that only heightens the disappointment in the kids that lose instead of pointing towards the positive aspects of learning new materials that kids should be excited to learn: In arguing for language development in children at an early age, failure in any way detriments the overall learning behavior and expectations of these school-age children.

The lesson being focused upon in chapter one of Johnson et al’s book is that the classroom should be no place for a child to learn to lose. Negative behaviors are learned in the school system and this particular type of strategy only paves the way for kids to learn to lose. Also, working as an individual in a classroom serves no purpose but to allow an individual to improve instead of the entire class to improve. However, to properly analyze Johnson et al’s theology a point of fact must be made that every child learns differently and must be treated as an individual.

No child learns in the same manner and thus, group work vs. independent study has many areas for which each is both improving and delaying the learning of a child. Cooperation, however, is the key by which a new system of learning is being presented and it is truly through cooperation that a common goal of academic success may be realized. Learning goals in a group can only be realized if every member of a group comes together on the same points and the group as a whole works towards a consensus not as individuals as some might try and argue.

Through this type of group learning, individuals learn that cooperation means teamwork. There are five essential components by which cooperation works: positive interdependence, promotive interaction, individual accountability, interpersonal and small-group skills, and group processing. Each of these components teaches students and teachers that learning is not achieved through route memorization but through actively taking part in lessons and developing independent thought. Active learning should be a base by which each classroom is structured.

In analysis, active learning simply means that students aren’t spoon-fed the correct answers but instead they question the subject and come up with their own hypothesis and then are allowed to check to see if it is correct: They are not handed the answers and taught to memorize but instead are taught to actively engage in each school subject and come to their own conclusions through proper problem solving techniques (this is applicable in any genre). In active learning, questions are just as important as the answers. Johnson et al.

highlight that learners need to think as well as learn for themselves and take what they learn in a classroom setting as a guideline. I do not agree that isolation is good for the growth of a school in a positive manner. Alienation from one classroom to another and from one teacher to another limits the possibility of the exchange of ideas and thus, the addressing of better course material and teaching tactics. Breaking down the barriers of grade level and opening interaction among teachers is essential for a working, healthy school environment.

To learn from each other’s mistakes and to learn what works for some teachers and applying this knowledge is what would ideally keep the focus on the students’ learning. Fragmentation is an all too common syndrome in mass-production schools and one that benefits no one. Therefore, the ideas that Johnson et al. present about co-teaching, co-planning, and the general communication are beneficial. Students suffer if the feedback from one teacher to another is nil.

A student benefits from cooperation among teachers and administrators also. What works for one classroom in curbing bad student behavior or promoting good behavior can be reacted upon by other teachers that the student sees during the course of the school year. If a child acts out in music than the homeroom teacher should know, if the child excels in art then the homeroom teacher should show the artwork in the classroom and try to nourish the student’s talent in other ways outside of the art environment.

Communication then is proven to imperative when it comes to cooperative learning. Conclusion Collaboration is the key toward students’ success in school as well as teacher and administration success. It is through a group effort from all points that true learning can take place; and by keeping the lines of communication open for discussion and collaboration better schooling is assured.

Mainly, it is through the students’ effort, the teachers’ continual interaction, and the administrators’ powers to communicate effectively that cooperation in the school may be realized.


Johnson, David W. et al. (1986). “Circles of Learning: Cooperation in the Classroom. ” Interaction. New York. Ritzer, George. (2000). Modern Sociological Theory. Boston: McGraw-Hill Co. , Inc. Sigmund, Freud. (1933). New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis (W. J. H. Sprott, Trans. ). New York: W. W. Norton & Company, INC.

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