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Archive for November, 2010

Learning Second Language – Myths & Facts

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Second language learning refers to the learning of a new language besides the native language. There are many second language learning theories that aim to explain the way second language is learnt and which approach is the best.

The Behaviorist Theory: under this theory it is believed that the second language learning learner tries to imitate what he hears and practices the second language regularly to develop habits in the language. This theory also believes that learners try to relate their knowledge of the native language to the second language and this could lead to positive as well as negative results. However the imitation of one language with the other is not appreciated as this does not help in real life situations.

The Cognitive theory: this theory elaborates the learner’s ability to use his cognition skills in order to work out in the second language on his own. They try to notice a pattern and based on this make their own rules and if they are faulty, they change them accordingly. Here the learners are benefited in the sense that they constantly learn from their mistakes. However this theory has certain problems, one of them being that the learner not only makes use of his cognitive skills to make assumptions about the second language but are due to the rules based on the native language. Also it is not always sure what the person learning the second language meant to say, determination of error becomes slightly difficult.

The Critical Period Hypothesis: as per this theory, there is a certain period in the life of a person in which he must learn a language. Once this period is over, second language learning becomes nearly impossible. The basis on which this theory is based is that the brain is fully developed by puberty and hence language learning becomes extremely difficult after this. Therefore this theory is of the view that second language learning must always occur before puberty when the brain is still in the developmental stages. However the theory has some exceptions as many people are able to master the vocabulary and syntax of a second language after puberty.

The Natural Order Hypothesis: according to this second language learning theory the acquisition of second language occurs in a natural and predictable order and is the same for the native and the second language. It shows that whatever the background of the learner, some of the errors made by them are similar to what they make when learning their native language.

Second language learning myths

Myth 1: the best way to learn the second language is by going to the country.
Myth 2: the best way to speak a language is to speak it.
Myth 3: It’s okay to make mistakes
Myth 4: As a beginner, you are sure to make mistakes.
Myth 5: as a foreigner, you would always have a foreign accent.
Myth 6: if you did not learn a language as a child, you would never be proficient in its grammar
Myth 7: study of pronunciation is not important.

However the facts are entirely different from these myths and one must not base his second language learning on these myths and make use of consultations, self-study kits and avoid mistakes to be proficient in the second language.

The Importance of Higher Education in Developing Countries

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Beyond any doubt education plays a pivotal role in the development an d progress of any country. In a developing country education gains even more importance.

The per capital income depends upon the state of economy which is directly proportional to the literacy rate in a country. The economy of a country mainly depends upon the able economists who formulate such economic policies which play an effective role in the progress of the country. And the fact remains that the able and competent economists are produced only if a country has a sound system of education. Besides, the failed economic systems will have its negative effects on all the other fields. The health care, industry, agriculture, defence, etc. Would remain weak.

We take up the example of health care first. The hospitals are the ultimate place for the indisposed. If country’s economy is weak, it would be difficult for the government or the private sector to set up more and more hospitals, enough to cater to the health care needs of the nation. And obviously, the physically weak or the ailing nation would not play any role in the development of its mother land. Hence education in a way is directly linked to health care.

Moreover, the health care itself depends upon education in the sense that able and competed doctors could only be produced if the country has evolved and effective and viable education system. A weak education system means incompetent doctors who get degrees in medicine and surgery through back doors. Such doctors would not be able to serve the ailing humanity because of their incompetence.

And, of course, education makes up the conscience and makes one realize that the social evils definitely eat into the vitals of a society. The illiterate or less educated society has the corruption rampant in various forms – bribery, jobbery, nepotism, etc. on the contrary; the educated people realize that the society cannot b reformed unless these social evils are eradicated from the society. And this realization comes only and only with the education.

A developing country needs education all the more to eradicate these evils because it yet to rank among the developed countries. If the society is breeding this evil, it would become extremely difficult to put the country on path to progress.

Lawlessness hinders the process of development as nobody feels secure and education helps over come lawlessness as the educated people realize that it the lawlessness from which most of the evils stem. Lawlessness means the oppressors are free to oppress the already wretched sections of the society who do not know where to go and whom to talk to in order to get justice. In a lawless society, the outlaws are always on the rampage which disturbed the smooth working in all the fields with the result that the process of development comes to us standstill. Education is the panacea which can wash this evil also

The education also makes one realize that a nation can come out of the vicious economic cycle only if hard work is up held. If developing nation had this realization, al the members of the society will work hard to put the country on path to progress which will ultimately take the country out of vicious circle in which almost all the developing countries are struck up.