The Science of Language Cognitive Neuroscience
Like psychologists, linguistic anthropologists, sociologists, and others, Neuropsychologists study how the brain works with language cognition. Cognitive Neuroscience uses various tools to study how language and thought interact, particularly in cognitively-impaired or cognitively-challenged persons.
Many theories in this area have been developed over time. One emerging theory is that language cognition and the roles of early childhood development strongly influence brain plasticity.
According to this theory, the brain is plastic and flexible, so it can rapidly establish and change its neural representation of the world as we learn languages.
Children Brains Grow up
As children grow up, their brains continue to develop new neural pathways along with new language skills. Then they move on to adulthood and experience a wide range of challenges, including language proficiency and cognitive reserve. The challenge in this theory is that although children may have excellent language ability, they may still have significant neural processing deficits that prevent them from performing language.
When this occurs, their performance in many cognitive tasks will be below average. This can include aspects of memory, executive functioning, attention, and other cognitive skills. This is important to understand because language cognition and brain plasticity are interlinked. If one is affected, then the other is also at risk.
Children who study language
.Those who practice English as a secondary language (ESL) in school have an advantage in that they have learned language skills from an early age and have developed a neural representation for the language system of their native culture. Children who study language cognition and brain plasticity in other ways may not have this advantage, or if they do, it may not be optimal.
For instance, it has been demonstrated that adults without language experience a significant decline in brain plasticity when left uncorrected. This suggests that such adults need to learn the language or face a lifetime of poor memory, attention, and executive functioning performance.
Teachers and Educators who wish to teach language
For teachers and educators who wish to teach language cognition and brain plasticity effectively, it is vital to address these issues at the childhood and developmental stages of learning.
For example, it has been shown that pre-literacy experiences and language environment play an essential role in children’s opinion of the world around them.
A neural system that does not respond to the world around it can only be expected to function at its best when actively involved in language comprehension.
This makes it especially important to expose language cognition and brain plasticity to children at very young ages when forming neural networks and using language.
Unfortunately, educational systems that emphasize memorization and repetition stifle many children with brain developmental language deficits. Many parents have displayed difficulty that their children never seem to read from their teachers regarding language skills.
These children are being deprived of experiences that would foster language development. On the other hand, some teachers and schools are motivated because children with solid vocabulary and expressive abilities tend to do better.
It is also crucial for teachers to pay close attention to language development while engaging children in meaningful activities. Research has clarified that there is a kinship between language ability and brain plasticity.
Neural plasticity can be measured using functional MRI scans to learn a new language or prepare to take an advanced language test. The more plastic a brain is, the more it can change as it experiences changes in its environment.
Thus, teachers need to ensure that their language programs provide meaningful activities that stimulate brain plasticity. Of course, teachers need not limit their focus to language cognition and brain plasticity when it comes to language development. They must teach kids the basics of the language, such as speaking and reading.
But it should also become clear that language cognition and brain plasticity are just two essential factors that go hand-in-hand with language development. These factors may even play a crucial role in developing the child’s personality and intelligence quotient. It would undoubtedly be an exciting field of study.