By Fatima Habiba
“Reading makes a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” Francis Bacon
A young mind is a blank slate. An engaging, stimulating, and nurturing environment is essential to create the foundation for early learning and development. Teaching, learning, acquisition, and assessment of a language involves the following four main skills.
1- The first thing a child learns is through Listening which helps to ignite the creative cells. Though primarily a receptive skill, a good listener needs to be open-minded and empathetic. Listening intently gives you time to register and process the information; focus and reflect; formulate a question or comment and prepare for the next step- Speaking.
2- Conference refers to the art of conversing with people that requires one to be a coherent speaker as well as an attentive listener. Speaking enables one to ‘think on the feet’. Being a productive skill makes one a ‘ready man’, versatile, and adaptable to varying situations and personalities. Speech is a powerful ability. It is not just a sharing of information but also a sharing of oneself. Empowered with good speaking skills one can discuss, debate, or persuade. A good speaker needs to be conscious, aware, and above all well-read.
3- Reading can be a fun and imaginative time of exploration which opens doors to all kinds of new worlds. It helps develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge, and a better understanding of other cultures. An enlightened or ‘full man’ is obviously better than an empty or ignorant one. Books are packed with knowledge, insights into life, lessons, love, fear, prayer, and advice. Reading is the perfect hobby exposing you to new things, ideas, and ways to solve a problem and achieve a goal. A book transfers not only experience but also wisdom.
4- Learning a language is a beautiful cycle in a child’s journey beginning with listening, leading to speaking, and reading, with Writing being the destination. For people who are not so outspoken, the written word is a blessing. Writing to a young mind is nothing but lines, circles, and scribbles- a free and unique expression. The art of writing is the art of self-discovery. Writing makes an ‘exact man’ as this skill forces one to think about what one believes and what one wants to communicate. It develops the habit of trying to find the right word, organizing thoughts coherently, and storing information for future reference.
The deepest craving of human nature is to communicate. They say, ‘Speech is silver, silence is gold’, but is it really? Many times we hesitate to speak up or simply don’t know what to say. Be it an apology unrendered to your mother, a hand unraised by a student, or a word unspoken by a teacher in the classroom, words left unsaid are lost into oblivion. On the other hand, a word expressed can be healing for the wounded, an opportunity for the hopeful, a second chance for the fallen, comfort for the fearful, and a reality check for the confident. So keep communicating and keep learning.