It is ironical that the same parents who want their children to learn Chinese hesitate to enroll them in a Chinese kindergarten in Singapore when they are quite young . Their argument is that children of that tender age should not be made to struggle for learning that language. They also fear that if such pressure is put on the minds of young kids, they will start hating the process of getting the education they need or going to school. But according to the unanimous opinion of experts, these fears are baseless. These experts firmly say that young children will not at all feel the pressure of learning. Not only that, it is their tender age that helps them learn Chinese better than the others who try to learn the language at a later stage. Let us find out the reasons behind their assertions.
Experts point out at the findings of the various researchers that have been carried out on brain science that reveal that it is the human mind and the human memory that influence how we all behave or learn. Almost all our behaviors do not start at the rational level but they start at the emotional level. At the same time, researchers admit that they still have trouble in comprehending that particular part of the human brain that inspires us to behave the way we behave.
In fact, our body and whatever it does are slaves to our mind. This includes the beating of our heart, circulation of blood, and even pumping of our endocrine system. But at the same time, the mind does not sit idle. It keeps sorting out, storing and reacting to the sensory inputs or data it receives. In other words, it always involves itself in a vast number of memory-processing activities. That is why we are able to identify colors, recollect memories, etc.
Researchers have found that all the sensory inputs pass through “amygdala,” a region of the human brain that helps in translating information in such a manner that they can be used for storage, for influencing our thought processes or for deciding our future behaviors.
If the sensory inputs are strong, the mind finds it easy to store them at the conscious level. When the inputs form memories, a physical alteration takes place in the patterns of brain cells and neurons. In fact, how a brain tissue physically changes its patterns can be observed through a high-quality electron microscope.
The more we exercise our neurons, the more will be the inter-connectivity between the brain cells. The dendrite network will also become more complex. When the pattern becomes more and more complex, more synapses will be taking place along the brain pathways. Experts have christened the phenomenon of such physical changes along the brain pathways as “plasticity” of the brain.
Researchers are amazed to find that if rich and vivid environments are made available, it will create more physical changes or more plasticity than when dull environments prevail. Researchers have also found that since young kids have more active brains that are capable of absorbing strong sensory inputs, the physical changes that happen along their brain pathways will also be much more than what it is in grown-up people. In fact, teaching languages including Chinese is a great way to provide the rich and vivid environments to the brains of young kids. So, they are certain to learn the language better than how they learn it at a later stage.
Teachers will do well if they teach Chinese to young kids using innovative ways. They should ensure that the teaching process involves providing rich and vivid environments to the children. This will help in making the sensory inputs that enter the brain of the kids stronger. If this strategy is adopted, teachers will be able to make the children learn Chinese more effectively and faster.