Learning Mechanisms Associated with Referent Selection and Retention in 18-24 Month Old Children – Term Paper

Learning Mechanisms Associated with Referent Selection and Retention in 18-24 Month Old Children

Children are different from the adults especially in the way they visualize and conceptualize ideas and synthesize complex information as compared to adults. The learning environment in which a child is brought up dictates how fast the child is able to integrate into the formal school setup. In researching and studying how a child synthesizes information, it gives much insight into what are the strengths and weaknesses of the child as he or she grows, and also it exposes a niche in the development of the child and especially if one concentrates on the formal and developed learning environments and setups where children grow in.

Learning Mechanisms Theories

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Some researchers have formulated theories suggesting that young children have complex cognitive senses that are used by the young children to comprehend what is around them (Piaget, 1920). Swiss psychologist argued that the cognitive structures of the young children developed gradually through various stages. He concluded that the external and internal environment surrounding the child leads to the gradual intellectual development of the child and mostly depends on the coordination of childs senses of hearing and touch (Gibson, 1973).

Many scholars researched the childs sense of sight and hearing and some researchers, for example, Gibson (1973) noted that a childs learning ability was so rapid since the child was able to conceptualize the objects that were around them, and this made some scientists suggest that the mind of a child operates like a computer since the mind processes information very quickly Garner (1970) did a research on the social background of a child and how it influenced the childs thinking and the power to apprehend various things that were in the childs surrounding. He was also interested in understanding on how people and culture influenced development thinking of a child and he found that there was a zone of proximal development where there is a bandwidth of competence (Brown & Reeve, 1987). It suggests that whatever a child can do with assistance of adults can also be done by a child without any assistance, underpinning the rapid development of a childs brain (Dore, Franklin, Miller & Ramer, 1976).

A Standard View: Acquiring Lexical Knowledge

In this concept, word learning is fast developing (Bloom, 2000). Nazzi and Bertoncini (2003) described children as efficient learners. Though children being efficient learners, the main obstacle is that people in the society use ambiguous words to refer to an object or person just present making it difficult for the child to comprehend the new word. Despite the children going through all these challenges, it is somewhat seen as the start of social skills that enhance word learning

Learning Mechanisms Used for Teaching Children

Children and community where the child grows, play a great role in the development of the child. This greatly influences the childs behavior and intelligence hence making them acquire the various behavior that is present in the society. Though some behavior may impact the children positively or negatively.

The physical world also influences the learning of children. They understand that objects vulnerable to fall are supported, immovable objects are moved with application of force and that the children stare longer to unusual happenings in the surrounding showing that they are conscious of their physical environment as much as the adults are conscious of their environment (Behl-Chadha, 1996).

The early number concept shows that the human brain recognizes representation of the series of pictures and numbers. In a research done by Gibson (1973) some children aged from 6 to 8 months were subjected to the viewing of photographic slides which were grouped into two or three pictures per slide. As the children viewed the pictures, the interest of the children in viewing the photos fell by fifty percent and as the photos went on being repeated, the interest of the children fell further. In any case, when a new photo not previously viewed popped up, the interest of the children towards the photo grew and they got interested in viewing it. This shows that the children are able to process what they view either pictures or numbers (Garner, 1970).

Early attention should be paid to a language a child is able to learn and develop according to where he or she has been brought up. They have the ability to differentiate between linguistic and non-linguistic languages and also they can differentiate different languages and sounds. Some research showed that a 2-month-old American born child reacted to some English utterances in more active way than to the Spanish utterances. Also, the child was able to notice the intonations in the utterances and this ensured that the child understood well the language spoken and the reaction and meaning of the statement made.

The importance of gaining capacity, strategies, and knowledge which ensures that children are more intelligent and competent as they grow and mature (Behl-Chadha, 1996) As the children grow up they are able to make more complex decisions and thus grown up children are able to perform complex tasks in a more effective and efficient way and this ensures that the limited space and time they have are used in an efficient way to produce better results (Behl-Chadha, 1996)There are also more ways to ensure that there is retention of information for easier remembrance and apprehension of an idea.

Metacognition is another learning mechanism that ensures referent selection and retention to children in the age of between 18 and 24 months. This is a phenomenon where a person has a higher level of thinking capacity. It also includes self-correction, controlling of one’s mind, planning and execution of one own plan for efficient learning and the continuous gaining of knowledge (Bereiter ; Scardamalia, 1989). If children are not introduced to self-thinking and to self-control of their actions and decisions, in future they will be poor implementers of crucial decisions and tasks thus jeopardizing the effective running of their personal affairs. Though this phenomenon grows gradually as one grows up, some aspects of self-decision making should be introduced earlier in a child’s life.

Multiple strategies or strategy choices should be effectively enhanced for children to start reasoning and solving various challenging tasks as early as possible. This coupled with multiple intelligence which largely deals with the logical, linguistic and interpersonal intelligence (Gardner, 1997). This should be nurtured at an early stage of growth of the child’s life to ensure flexibility of the childs decision making.

Children should be motivated to learn, read and tell stories. This will ensure the growth and easier understanding of a language by the child. Reading of the pictured story books enable children to form mental illustrations in their mind to enhance concentration. To ensure that the book is readable to the child, questions may be asked throughout the book and in case the child encounters any hitches, the adult may help with it ensuring that the child is able to effectively answer the question. For example, asking the child the question ‘what happened next?’ will develop the narrative skills of the child at an early stage.

Cultural variations in communication are crucial in how a child grows and develops and it also impacts a child’s learning culture (Newell, Shaw & Simon, 1958). Though each society has its own unique way in how it communicates, children should be able to understand how to communicate in at least one language since this will inculcate various kinds of knowledge and interaction between the child and other people in the society.

Conversing and observation are another way that learning can be enhanced in a child. In different interactions with the people in the society, children observe and reciprocate what they see the adults doing in the society. For example, the Pueblo children are given a chance to experience the adult life and they are allowed to choose what and whom to associate with (Gibson, 1973). In other communities, children are not allowed to directly converse with adults and when the adult talks, the child should better listen, since talking when the adult talks is abominable according to their culture.


Children behavior and language are always influenced by the community that they have grown up in. Children are able to comprehend what is happening around them and their brain develops rapidly as the child advances in age. Children are actively engaged in making their own decisions that will eventually shape their future destiny. Their zeal and will to know something make them be able to understand and comprehend the various aspects that life offers them on display. Children have the reasoning capacity but they lack the knowledge and experience of life and that is why children are able to adhere to the discipline instilled by adults on them.


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