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Traditional Malay granite mincing tool

Traditional Malay granite mincing tool

Spanish and ‘Batu Lesung’? Over the weekend, I reflected on my childhood learning experience. I took a picture of this pounder (‘batu lesung’) which most traditional Malay families use to prepare spices.

It is made of granite stone, carved into a bowl which we use as a tool to pound spices. The dish will taste better when spices are prepared this way. Mum used to pound every kind of spice that went into her ingredients. I remember smelling the spices as they break apart, hearing the sound of stone hitting stone and watching mum as she scooped the ingredients into the frying pan to cook delicious meals.

I still prepare my meals this way these days. I left the blender in the cold. This batu lesung causes me to wake up to my senses about language learning. I want to share my thoughts here with you.

“The first of the child’s organs to begin functioning, are his senses.” Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind, Page 84

That means, the power of our mental is far more superior than the organs. Our senses of hearing, sight and smell actually make it possible for us to use their respective sense organs, ears, eyes and nose.

My cousin's newborn Masayu Nuruliman Zulaikha

My cousin's first child, masayu-nuruliman-zulaikha

Wow! That means the ears are not complete until they are used; the eyes are not complete until they are able to see and the nose is not complete until it is able to smell. Information enters into our mental through our senses first via these organs.

It explains why when food is being prepared in the kitchen, we smell the odour, hear the bubbling of stew in the pot, hear the clanging of pots and pans in the kitchen. Even before we speak, our senses and organs are already at work. “That smells delicious!” “What’s cooking?” Then when we check it out and say “That looks lovely!” There is a time lapse before we speak. Speaking has never come first. It arrives later.

Infants first start to cry and giggle, her first words arrive at about 1 and then it improves exponentially. Even without complete use of the organs, children can learn to speak well.

Think: Stevie Wonder or Helen Keller (or even Elliot Yami – American Idol, he says he is deaf in one ear). Their other senses are fully developed and complete, that is why they can speak a language. That also explains why some children take longer to speak while others just rattle on by time they are 2 yrs old.

I have been working on the 6 Free Lessons for Spanish but discovered that without the learning environment, I will be progressing too slowly. [You can download for free Spanish