When we throw around the term ‘experience-based language learning’ today, it’s often easy to forget its humble beginnings. Let me take you back in time, almost more than 5000 years ago, a period when our means of communication were vastly different from the sophisticated systems we know today. This journey back in time isn’t just a historical expedition – it’s also my personal story, offering insights into the evolution of language learning.
Symbols: The Birth of a New Era
During this ancient era, verbal communication was our only tool. Sounds, actions, and gestures were the expressive currency of the day, allowing us to share our thoughts and experiences. Yet, in our inventive spirit, we started crafting symbols, etching them onto our cave walls. Probably, you would have heard about many of those carvings on the caves, back in the days, those were drawn by me and my fellow tribesmen. This was our first step towards written language, a revolutionary medium that transcended the barriers of time and space.
A Discovery Through Gestures
During those early days, with no written language in sight, my communication with my mother was through gestures and sounds. When I saw a cow for the first time, my excitement knew no bounds. I ran home, animatedly mimicking the cow’s movements, pointing in the direction of the pastures. And somehow, my mother understood – she knew I had seen a cow. That was my first encounter with experience-based language learning, a method where personal experiences influence our understanding and expression of language.
The Evolution of Language: A Personal Transformation
Our adventures with symbols from footprints in the sand to those on the caves walls continued over the years. From simple drawings to abstract representations, my family and I found joy and fascination in this novel and new form of communication. This process mirrored my personal growth, from a young boy excited about cows, desire to communite and express becoming an explorer of symbolic representations. The evolution of the symbol for the sound ‘M’, derived from my drawings of a cow, signified a critical moment in our journey towards language development. Here is the visual graphics of my journey.
From Cave Drawings to alphaTUB: The Journey of Experience-Based Learning
Now, thousands of years later, the principles of experience-based language learning have taken root in modern educational systems. Jean Jacques Rosseau (1712-1778) was the first to acknowledge that Child’s learning unfolds naturally; learning through curiosity, which was later supplemented by Johann Heindrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827) who said that natural potential of a child develops through senses. Many scholars including Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852) “Father of Kindergarten, B. F. Skinner (1954), Maria Montesorri (1965), Jean Piaget (1969) echo similar views. John Dewey (1966) said that Early childhood learning is child-centered: built around the interest of the child; child learns best through play because of social interaction and finally the mentions by Lev Vygotsky (1981) that Mental functions are acquired through social relationship; learning takes place when the child interacts with peers and adults in social setting as they act upon the environment.
All this feels redeeming of the long journey that has today resulted in tools such as alphaTUB. It is a profound realization to see how a personal journey that started with cave drawings and symbols has now evolved into structured tools that connect experiences and language learning.
Bridging the Gap: Theory and Practice
Theoretical support for experience-based learning is abundant within academic and research circles. However, there often exists a chasm between this theory and its practical implementation. It’s crucial for educators and policymakers to dedicate efforts towards bridging this gap. Tools like alphaTUB, when combined with appropriate training and support, can empower educators to deliver immersive language learning experiences in classrooms.
The alphaTUB Way: Real-World Language Learning
With alphaTUB, parents and teachers can incorporate real-world simulations, role-plays, and interactive projects into language learning. This strategy revives the age-old principle of experience-based learning, transforming classrooms and homes into dynamic environments where language learning is a living, breathing reality.
The Future of Language Learning: Your Role
As we step into the future of language learning, it’s imperative that we, especially parents, advocate for the integration of experience-based learning strategies in classrooms. As a parent you can voice against rote learning and offer the school to leverage parental engagement in early language learning. By doing so, we can ensure more engaging and inclusive learning environments. As I reflect on my journey from cave drawings to alphaTUB, I hope you too can be a part of this evolution, helping learners become confident and proficient communicators in our ever-changing world.