What better to do than, share your English knowledge with other people
Have you ever think, are we born with innate knowledge? Or do we acquire knowledge only through experiences? Related to these questions, let’s find out how Tabula Rasa, Empiricism and Nativism provide explanation about human learning condition.
A British educational philosopher, John Locke (1632-1704) in his philosophic inquiry concerning the development of human knowledge, propounded that the child’s mind is like a clean slate (tabula rasa), void of all characters upon which experience alone can subsequently write knowledge.
The tabula rasa theory laid great emphasis on experience. Learning takes place through the experiences the child has acquired. The term “learning experience” as Tyler (1986) stated, refers to the interaction between the learner and the external conditions in the environment to which the learner can react to.
At birth, the children are unaware of the existence of distinct tastes, smells, and sounds. They have no idea of time. They are unable to listen attentively, analyze critically, or perceive things from their exact perspective.
The children acquire gradual sound discrimination skills. For instance, his eyes help him learn about close and distant noises, as well as how sounds are produced. So that he eventually identifies a dog bark with a dog even though there is no dog in sight.
As the children begin to crawl, they acquire more experience exploring distances. Similarly, as they begin to walk, they learn more about space and distance through their senses of touch and muscle feeling.
The children as a learner are not aware that all that is happening around him is learning. They just go on enjoying doing things, and though they do not deliberately practice to improve in everything they tries to do, they improve by enjoying what they do.
Adapted from https://learningtheories479.weebly.com/locke.html, the Tabula Rasa theory can be involved in the classroom setting through the following ways:
While speaking to the concept of tabula rasa, Locke’s work also focused on empiricism – which is the antithesis of innateness, and is related closely to blank slate theory –, believing people possess no prior knowledge when they are born and experience shapes ideas.
Empiricism comes from the English word’s empiricism and experience. This word has its roots in the meaning taken from the Greek “empeiria” and from the word “experietia”, which means “experienced in,” “acquainted with,” “skilled for” (Good, 2002).
In his book “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding,” John Locke explained that all concepts or ideas that express human knowledge come from human experience. These concepts or ideas are obtained from the five senses. According to Locke, there are two kinds of ideas: simple and complex. Simple ideas are captured through the five senses directly (spontaneously). Through simple ideas, thinking, doubting, questioning, classifying, processing what is given by the senses are born that allow for more complex ideas.
According to Davis and Francis (2022), empiricism is more commonly understood as a theory of knowledge than a theory of learning, but the distinction is often blurred in discussions of education. Empiricism states that knowledge comes from sensory experience, and thus emphasizes the role of experience and evidence.
The “hard” version of Empiricism is associated with rigorous scientific research.
The Empiricism theory can be implemented in the classroom through:
How is it possible that children are able to learn just a few years after birth? Some theorists believe this is due to nature, while others argue that it’s because of nurture. Nativist theory argues that important elements of our understanding of the world, such as language, are innate and do not necessarily need to be learned from experience (due to nature).
The nativist theory of language acquisition became very popular in the late 20th century through Noam Chomsky who claimed that language is an innate faculty. It implies that children are born with a set of rules about language in their head.
Mathews (2017) provided some strategies to implement the nativist theory in the classroom.