by Andrew Weiler

March 7, 2012

Perception as a learning skill is of undoubted importance.  It is hardly ever talked about in relation to learning languages but its importance I believe is common sense.  We all learnt our first language by figuring it all out for ourselves.  To do that we had to have great perceptive skills. As adults we have additional tools available to us BUT still many adults struggle with learning a another language. Not to mention of course the children who struggle to be literate in their first language. Why is that?
One reason is that the ways we are taught do not draw upon our powers of perception. Instead it is assumed that we can’t figure things out for ourselves, so we are “given” the rules, the patterns, the understandings and then we are expected to learn/memorize what we have been given. Isn’t that amazing? We learnt our first language without ever being “given” anything and all of a sudden we have gone from being the most amazing learner to one that needs to be “spoon fed”. This happened to us so often in school that most of us now believe we have few powers. So now many learners expect that their learning must follow such methods.
The ones, on the other hand, who do become proficient are the ones who have either not let their powers of perception (amongst other things) atrophy or they have somehow reconnected with them. Their perceptive powers are so good that, as in their infancy, they can now pick up on clues, on patterns, on all kinds of things that the ones who struggle with learning languages are not sensitive to anymore. In the process of figuring things out for themselves they actually learn what they need to.
Different languages have different ways of seeing the world. The only way one can reach these variations is by expanding our own perceptual abilities. The importance of allowing our perceptual abilities to be used and in fact encouraging their development whilst learning a language cannot be overemphasised 
So here, what I want to do is to show you a means to learn something, which is traditionally passed to learners as knowledge, through using perception. We will be looking at one aspect in the spelling in English. It does not really matter which language you are learning, this exercise may well teach you things you can apply to learning any language. I am of course talking about skills in learning here.  This video clip below will introduce you to the exercise. Enjoy! 
Here is the link referred to in the video: Spelling Chart


About the author 

Andrew Weiler

Andrew is passionate about doing what is necessary to enable language learners to not only improve BUT to keep improving.

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mistakes to avoid in learning languages

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