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Friday, February 10, 2012

School learning understood as processes: observing the small steps

School apprenticeships are usually seen as abilities or tasks that students must master as a requirement for academic success. From the classroom, one of the works of Professor is to help the student to acquire these leanings and trying to making sense, ensuring a logical sequence of planned acquisition of knowledge depending on curricula and academic programs (Anderson, 1997). From Piaget’s point of view, this knowledge is developed in spiral form, in such a way that the student will support in that they already know to continue with the next item on learning, while the social perspective, explains that learning makes sense when it merges with the culture and you look at learning as a tool to understand others (Cruz Pérez, Galeana of O, 2006).
Aside from the cognitive tradition, this paper discusses learning from the point of view neurocognitive, which proposes that learning is first, a process necessary for the survival of the species, and on which it depends to continue in the struggle for the life of the human being, which is why learning is analyzed as small steps which are concatenated by way of links that allow the child to acquire skills from birth and which are the basis for learning in formal schooling and that is continues to develop until death, but which should be considered in teaching as a formal aspect.
Understanding the mechanisms from whom is learning
Although it sounds quite logical, the child learns not only at school or books, and there are things they already know when children go to school by very first time. Some of them are evolutionary legacies that allow  to adapt better to the environment, for example the language, as that from the early days of born this process begins to develop, first by way of crying to provide food and company, and later as a means of expression (Benítez-Burraco, 2007).
However, when a baby is already equipped with different mechanisms to help you survive in the conditions that the outside of the womb imposed since then begins its process of learning, although based on genetic aspects, because it must be clear key situations as how much and how much high the baby should mourn to catch the attention and get food?, who is the right person to ask for food?. Who has been close to newborn infants, have noticed this and other mechanisms to begin to develop in order to create environmental responses from the neonate (Pinker, 1995; Olarreta, 2005).
One aspect to consider is that when the human looks at the light outside the womb, the brain does not know is what will need to adapt to the environment, so the baby's life depends on two key aspects: on the one hand genetic load, which is equipped with, by way of reflections and the care that will protect it; and the ability to adapt to the enviroment.
Example of reflexes is well known in a very primitive way, vision adapted to conditions luminous environment, the hearing incorporates more systematically to sound the atmosphere of mode recognition such that this baby every day is a sum of events to develop at the brain level, to be combined with the environment which provides stable and rich experiences so that at the end of the first year of life, it may be better and stronger motor movements to stand, eventually walk; vocal sounds first to make sounds, which by the end of the first year will be translated in their first words, and with the passage of time will be the principle of short phrases, seeking to satisfy needs and are gradually will spend no more than 40 words, often unconnected to 200 words capable of forming ideas, feelings and making people laugh all those who surround him with their occurrences. Who has not enjoyed a child with their verbal games?. That is only the expression of a brain in explosion.
 The beginning of learning is due to a body in developing
All these small breakthroughs in the lives of babies are due to brain development. There is no learning without a brain, and similarly, there is no brain without learning. The human brain is born only with more tools than necessary; this is because it doesn’t know that humans will need throughout their life. So born primarily with skills granted genetically, it will be modeling environmental it that allows you to determine which are more appropriate to maintain sequences and make possible adaptation to the environment (Tubino, 2004).
And this is the process that will result in learning, because it will allow, after thorough practice, first determine that actions are useful for achieving food or shelter in a hostile world determined by adults, and then develop movement skills to expand areas of operation. This is why babies  develop from spending  time  lying at one place, then begin  to balance on their body, they  incorporate later, try to  sit down, sometimes they  crawling or  walking, running and one day they reach the moon (Cruz Pérez, Galeana of O, 2006).
To do so, they require multiple repetitions of movement or actions of learning, which creates connections between structural units in the brain that, are as the basis for the organization of the sensations, emotions, learning, memory, thought and language. That is why every experience is a structure of the chain of events that culminate in the development of learning (Sagan, 1981; Lieberman, 2002).
However, despite the need to create chains of learning, brain will not be able to maintain all the connections with it born , or it creates, because similar the memory of a computer, the space it occupies is finite, confined in the skull and is not able to expand beyond. So the brain folds on itself, looking for savings to maximize its resources, and thus give better answers to environmental needs it face (Marin Padilla, 2001; Lieberman, 2002). For this reason, the brain will keep only those connections that are strong, that they become necessary in response to the interaction with the environment and other people (Damasio, 1994; Anderson, 1997; Dick and Roth, 2008).
But what are these neural networks?, they are groups of neurons (clusters) already linked by a specific  function, by structural proximity or as part of a chain of processes. Considering that a human brain has 100 billion nerve cells (there is a discussion of how it came to this number), it is necessary to give order and found that neuronal networks give order but makes this complex system one of the most dynamic and functional (Búldu, 2011).
For example, it would be easy to understand those networks from children in an environment that promotes that language is a useful tool as a means of communication, those children will be better able to develop a broad and with time vocabulary, so reading and writing will be a logical step to the transmission of ideas . While children that are developed in a more demanding environment for the movement, as athletes, will generate more motor connections, because they work out them more extensively and probably put aside the words. What explanations should be given from a child to get his first goal before of the rest of his teammates?.
But this view is not black and white, children will develop brain connections which will be manifested in learning skills, whether in the areas of language or thought or in motor activities depending on which so much stimulation will provide the environment to his around, at the same time in which both these activities look like need. In this category fall activities although they are genetically programmed as language and arithmetic, not carried by that environment does not generate them (Defior Citoler, 2000;) Ruiz Vargas, 2000).
Examples of this are children that although they know to speak and know the words to ask for their milk, parents do not require them it to use your vocabulary and it is only enough children to bring their cups so mom or who cares for the child translated the action: Yes, my dear, you want your hot milk with chocolate and sugar in your red cup!, this actions are leaving the child without the possibility of exploring and developing their own words that if they were corrected, it would eventually expand and would be presented in a logical order.
It also applies that genetic burden is very important in the first months of life, but little by little the atmosphere becomes the main engine of the neural connections, which allows modeling more characteristics of the human being. Still, the influences of the environment depend on different factors, as those who are mentioned below.
Two elements that support learning: motivation and memory
Even if learning is genetically programmed, exist for learning certain principles. On one hand, there must be a brain with elements that allow the neural interconnection, and is known to be in the first years the brain a sponge suitable for acquiring skills to adapt to the needs of the environment (Dick, and Roth, 2008;  VIllaroel Villamor, 2009).
Secondly, there must be the need to learn, because otherwise, the brain will not strive for creating connections and it will lose those who are not fit to stay or not used. This principle of the struggle of the strongest and the fittest will become apparent during whole brain development (Marin Padilla, 2001). If a phone number is not used, why would you recall?. The brain uses a principle called cognitive economy which keeps only the important processes running (Artigas-Pallarés, 2009).
That is why there are two processes that become essential to learning, memory, which allows the system to create memories that it is something useful from stimulation of the medium, for example, you can read these lines is a task that has carried out many times, first as a game, then systematizing the task until you get to the point of not only reading, but the reading comprehension.
This is possible thanks to the loyal friend of memory: motivation (Benarós, Lipina, Segretin, Hermida, and Colombo, 2010). And is that when babies are born, their motivations are simple: eat, sleep, feel the embrace of mom or caregiver. Little by little these basic, maybe selfish motivations change by the need to make happy to others, this develops the social function, and when that person smiles broadly and asks  to smile babies, this responds, and is that you among most happy is the person more time devote you and your needs will be covered. Gradually this relationship will become more and more close to the point they will begin to share. If mom wants to respond in this way, the baby will do it. This will allow he baby to take the necessary step to ask for things, like milk, or seek shelter when he or she  feels cold and develop their social needs (Conde-Guzón, Bartolomé-Albistegui Quirós-Expósito, 2009).
This will lead to babies to the next item to learn what they want, when they want, and then follows the stage well known to the parents and educators in which the child learns with repeat, asking and making movements over and over again and again and one more, to the point that they are able to repeat each of the dialogue of a film which you are already tired. Have do you read  something like that?.
And children prior to formal education, to learn what they like, allowing them to adapt to the rules of the home, from stimulation from the environment, repetition of activities and exploration, so create a memory that allows them to argue that neuronal connection and make it strong so that it is possible to construct other learnings over time will become formal.
Changing rules
School, will change all rules, children began an apprenticeship that is not so based on stimulation of the environment or the exploration, nor on the enjoyment of learning.  It’s not quite a necessity. Until then, the child showed abilities that were appreciated by parents or caregivers, unless they were subjected to an evaluation. If the child stood and gave the first steps, the social circle he or she was applauded and it encouraged to repeat and repeat this first big step. If she or he did not, not passing a disappointment to their fan club and the same goes for the language skills. In a way, children decide when to display its powers or not and if this doesn't happen, they always have permission to do so later (Leonard, 2002; Haesler, 2007).
But when is of through evaluation, and this evaluation focuses on parameters of what children do and what determines a program must achieve, learning is no longer fun or motivating and the speed of the programmed contents avoids the repetition of tasks. This process chains are lost to the point such that the learner because you can't find anything that gives you the basis of all learning: motivation and memory.
In addition, the basis of all school learning is basically the language, this is necessary for reading, writing and mathematics learning, of which only the numbers are genetically programmed as part of the Repertoire of skills put to the survival of the species (Butterworth, 1999; Alonso and Fuentes, 2001). Both are the response of adaptive processes that are necessary for the cultural improvement. Not reading and writing, arising on dates very recent in the history of mankind, practically with the improvement of the printing and that they have not been part of the development of the child within the family until that school becomes a formal institution socially (Pinker, 1995; Olarreta, 2005;  Artigas - Pallarés, 2009).
While it is logical to think the language is needed to read and write only, we tend to forget that these leanings are not generated in the same way, nor have generated so many neural connections from trial and error or the support from parents, and is taken for granted that once joined the school they must be generated that thus it is stipulated and the child must learn it (Solovieva, 2008).
But this duty of learning is not based on natural principles genetically programmed and is not as slow and fun as when the first word, first step, or the first time that the child raised her finger to publicize their age. Formal teaching creates times so fast and vertiginous in which children are unable to understand the why of what you are teaching the person in front and no matter how much effort put, it will be evaluated with a number, and not with a: that’s good!, do it again!, look how beautiful!. Instead, a number or a letter will determine if you know to do so or not and obviously will condition the following learning, creating a dizzying race to the following content, the next lesson, the following discussion, the following year.
So for example, if students does not know or  recognizes the image or the sound of  letters, there is not possibility to read; or if they  can't combine the sounds of words, will not read phrases, and if you add the fact that does not understand the meaning of the words, then we have a child that will not reach to read beyond a few words, you'll feel discouraged by that fails to understand that it is what they expect of  this student and finally as possible, he or she will assume that is  a mediocre student, and eventually he or she will leave all studies, only because that was not time to learn.
But, if you look carefully at this student,   is he or she really mediocre?, if you understand the way in which the brain creates connections that seek you learning, the answer is no. They would only require two conditions: the first stimulation of the environment will ensure the repetition of important phrases and secondly, the motivation to read, not as an obligation but as need, from short but relevant phrases that they become an understandable line for the student. Add to this a way that learning to use and make it a cultural or an adaptive need, changes are huge in the attitude of that student.
The same happens with the writing, since it was not released on genes and is generally taught as a phase of the curriculum, but not like a need of the child (Vygostky, 1995). If we can talk to ask for something, or to fill a need, what case does have writing?. And more even if writing depends on what the reader interprets signs used in a natural way in the language, as inflections expressed in questions or admirations (Slavic and Slavonic Cobos, 2008).
In this sense, writing should also become a need and be linked to a process modeling the atmosphere, from the repetition of the task, even more so if it is considered that in the case of writing, you must develop the ability to coordinate the eye and the hand with the muscles of the hand and arm to outline each of the letters then find the necessary letters for each word and that words are able to draw ideas (Coltheart, 1981; Etchepareborda, 2002; Dehaene, Cohen, Sigman and Vinckier, 2005).
Understanding learning
In conclusion, this perspective explains the learning process first as willing human needs for the survival of the species, what would mankind be without knowledge?, from simple events like explain to others when a food is no longer edible, or transmit the findings of neuroscience.
Learning at schools requires stimulation from the environment, able to create a need for employees in multiple tasks that generate regular neural connections which eventually become strong and thereby enable the development of increasingly complex skills, creating chains of steps, known as learning processes, because each new skill is presented by others that can be traced to the birth.
The motivation that encourages the practice is also important repeated, which already is analyzed the benefits, but also allow learners find a reason to continue learning and to regulate their conduct determined by the accolades it receives from others, within the class environments, it increases the likelihood that a behavior be repeated if this turns out to be pleasant or useful anyway and who don't like you prove that it is able to do something that others can not do?. However this principle also suggests that there is only a way to learn, because the human brain as opposed to a computer to learn only what program you, is capable of seeking multiple responses to a single problem, in order to achieve satisfaction. This, however, runs counter to traditional school, which sees learning as a reflection of a single answer, invariable e equal for everybody, leaving aside the student while in correct way, unresponsive as expected.
Learning when is practiced and it’s based on motivation, open the door to the process of memory. This will create automating chains of response and thus save steps for the achievement of goals. All learning at the beginning should be modeled i.e., others should be showing and explaining how to do it - except those which are based on reflexes or vegetative needs as breathing, swallowing, or blinking-  and little by little they automate to do without thinking. The first time you saw letters, someone said that these signs were sounds, eventually, you were able to make sense to the signs, and with the passing of the years now is able to read and understand, thanks to a reduction in the steps used to give when it began the process of reading, which is now practically automatic.
If there were not enough memory, allows you to store information, provided this meaningful and more implemented once and preferably in more than one environment.
So surely you already do not remember the name of the author of this article unless you know prior her work. If not, the name is not relevant. That being the case, learn there is more to load books repeat, that as we all know, but the neurocognitive perspective, learning is a brain process, shared socially, because the brain stimulation of the environment and the social approval is needed to decide if he has given the necessary answers and is also why not, motivating?.
Alma Dzib Goodin

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  1. This is great! I love your posts. It would be easier to read if the text were smaller.... But I will be sending this to 2 people. Very nice!

  2. Thank you so much for your comment!, I try to write shorter but then I think I need more context since public can have or not some knowledge about the topic, my last post was really long!. Sometimes I think about cut them and post them individually, but I'm afraid it can lose the idea... But thank you!!! I hope you can find interesting this blog:)