Educational Implications of Chomsky’s Theory of Language Development

According to Chomsky,

“language defines what it means to be human and the study of language is a way into the study of the human mind.”

In 1957, Chomsky introduced the concept of language acquisition device (LAD) which was used to account for the language acquisition competence of human beings. He believed that acquiring the first language is the function of the human brain or an innate structure. The introduction of UG or Universal Grammar is also credited to Chomsky.

Chomsky believed that humans are born with:

  1. LAD, a set of language learning tools.
  2. LAD is an abstract part of the human mind which enables humans to acquire and produce language. 
  3. Since they are equipped with LAD, children can acquire rules of a language through hypothesis testing
  4. LAD transforms these rules into basic grammar. 

According to Chomsky,

“the LAD explains why children seem to have the innate ability to acquire a language and accounts for why no explicit teaching is required for a child to acquire a language.”

Educational Implications of Chomsky’s Theory of Language Development

The educational implications of Chomsky’s theory of language development are as follows.

Teachers must cultivate growth

According to Chomsky,

“students, typically they come in interested, and the process of education is a way of driving that defect out of their minds. But if children’s normal interest is maintained or even aroused, they can do all kinds of things in ways we don’t understand.”

Teachers must keep the students engaged: Since learners come with an interest to learn, teachers must try their best to retain their interest and keep them engaged.

Focus On Student Learning

The main emphasis must be laid on students’ learning rather than teacher training.

Imbibe Natural Curiosity

The teachers must apply a method of teaching that can develop curiosity and interest among learners for learning naturally.

Personal Views Are Not Professional Expertise

Teachers must not confuse their introspection, experience, or personal judgment with professional expertise.

Chomsky rejected Skinner’s Behaviorism Theory because he felt that there is more to language acquisition than stimulus-response. He rejected the idea of operant conditioning. He also believed that the theory was lacking and thought that innateness was an important aspect of language acquisition.