No Pain No Gain

When it comes to learning, the most demanding task a human can endeavor is the learning of a new language.The delicate process of learning of a new language puts into action all of the features built-in the mass of your brain cells. The learning takes advantage of conscience and unconscious portions of your brain; sections which operate with logical problems as well as the utilities for data storage and manipulation. Additionally, all means of perception and muscular movements are involved with the maximal brain commitment by engaging corresponding controlling units.

A learner must develop two skills: the skill to comprehend and skill to produce messages – orally and/or by means of creating meaningful records.

The former assumes the correct interpretation of input data streams necessary if you are listening to someone else or analyzing records.

The latter assumes the production of output data streams: spoken or written words in order to promote your ideas.

The process of analyzing input data streams falls into the domain of logical problems. The information gathered by means of your senses is processed by the software built-in your gray-cell system. Since the process is merely mental, we accept the skill to comprehend more within reach than the skill to speak.

However, the process of producing a meaningful speech (oral output data stream) is a software but also an extensive hardware problem.

Compiling of seemingly disconnected data into some kind of understandable ideas is a process of creation – the most challenging process of all. Simultaneously, almost a hundred of muscles are engaged in the business of producing a human voice. While you speak, you expose your vocal cords to the stream of the air under pressure. Thus, full command over the muscular systems that administer inhalation and exhalation of your chest is necessary. Thereafter, your voice is fine-tuned in your mouth, nasal and sinus cavities, what requires the clockwork of the muscles that shape your larynx, guide your tongue, lips, lower jaw or even wrinkle your face.

In respect to a single contraction of a muscle, physiologists have written thousands of pages, which, luckily, a learner of English is not obliged to read. On the other hand, the pronunciation of a single word, say, “Hello,” so familiar to all of us, requires hundreds of precise muscular maneuvers in an instant of time.

Yet the ability to convert your ideas into comprehensible data (sound) output streams is what makes you able to speak a language.

Therefore, the learning of a new language is the process of immense complexity and, owing to that, the learning of English, whether as a first or second language, takes so much time and effort.

Let’s Figure Out How You Learn Your First Language

Having left the safety of mother’s womb you are suddenly exposed to the streams of various visual, sound and other sensations. In particular situations, you associate them, say, images with particular sound streams, to construct your first list of objects; the list you need in order to comprehend and communicate with the world around you.Then you begin constructing your list of actions: notions related to the changes of object states in time. Objects and actions make possible to comprehend and produce your first simple sentences.

The learning process requires several steps:

1. Catching of regularities
2. Compressing regularities into schemas
3. Checking the viability of schemas against the real world

To illustrate the stated pretend that someone is opening, one by one, playing cards from the top of the pack figures down. Pretend too, that someone pre-arranges the pack so that a black color suit follows a red one – spade by heart and then club by diamond and so on.

... RED → BLACK → RED → RED →

Your brain starts analyzing the data stream, and if the stream is long enough, and your brain works properly, you are able to catch the regularity - in our example it is the shortest pattern continuously repeated in the input data stream:

... RED → BLACK → RED ...

then compress it into the logical schema:

if RED then BLACK
else if BLACK then RED
end if

The above schema, accompanied with others, generates your experience. Since there is an unlimited number of schemas you can construct, one can rearrange the pack so you might encounter the following data stream:


Again, if the input data stream is long enough, you can catch the regularity and compress it into a new schema:

if SPADE then CLUB
else if CLUB then HEART
else if HEART then DIAMOND
else if DIAMOND then SPADE
end if

However, even a moderate command over a language requires access to a considerable number of schemas.

That is how you learn your native language. Your teachers are not only people in the nursery but also your parents, grandparents, uncles, neighbors and so on. However, they do not worry too much about schemas like those mentioned above. Instead, they expose you to an endless input data stream. They correct your output by means of negative feedback. So, the teacher, say, your mother, instantly rectifies your schema if it does not fit actual situation. She does it without explaining anything regarding grammar but supplying you with the correct pattern.

Keep in mind that the above method is time-consuming and it is effective because a child’s classes last as long as the child is able to stay up within the course of a day. Obviously, the production of sufficiently lengthy data streams in such a process is essential. It enables the learner to catch regularities and compress them into schemas/patterns. At the same time, the teacher gets opportunity to confirm or reject learner’s output. On the part of a child, meanwhile, the process goes on quite smoothly as if playing a game.

Learning English as a Second Language

Fortunately, the learning of English as a second language does
not begin from scratch.During the course of adopting their mother tongue, learners are supplied with the basic constituents of a language, in other words, with notions like objects, actions etc. The learning process begins by renaming already constructed lists of objects (actions, etc.) and adopting a new set of patterns – schemas, which might significantly differ from the set of patterns applied with students’ native language. Then, they sacrifice to correlate them to familiar situations. Nevertheless, the learning of a second language is less demanding than the learning of the first one.

Keep in mind the abundance of time is an attribute of childhood. As you get older, you suffer an ever-increasing lack of time. Hence, teachers, usually at schools, administer different teaching methods than parents teaching their children. Namely, teachers deliver already worked-out schemas. Then, students adopt them by checking how they fit pre-arranged situations. This is so, for neither teachers nor students have time at hand to operate with sufficiently lengthy real-data streams.

Therefore, the efficiency of learning English

1. depends on the intelligence of students and teachers, and
2. the length of input and output data streams produced during classes.

The first point is discouraging since the intelligence of a person is not a subject to significant change.

Luckily, it is possible to increase the length of data streams produced during classes by applying suitable teaching methods.

In the context of OOELA, the input data stream consists of the words spoken by your teacher, other students and non-human devices like computers. An output data stream assumes the words you speak out. Of course, you can generate an output data stream by typing words on a keyboard or writing them down on a paper sheet. (Interestingly, if you read something loudly, you gain both: input and output data streams.)

This course relies upon that point.

The dictum of OOELA teaching course reads: make input and output data streams as lengthy as possible.

So, teachers, bear in mind: each of your students has to pronounce (loudly!) at least 30 sentences within 45 minutes.

If otherwise, it would not be possible to yield the results proposed by OOELA teaching curriculum.