When we learned as infants and children,
thinking aloud or saying what we are thinking was accepted as a
way of demonstrating our knowledge, or of opening ourselves to "get it
We sounded out words, expressed ideas, formed sentences.
When corrected, we practiced until we imitated correctly, or
conformed to the model of our family, neighborhood, school, etc.
was essential to our early learning. Thinking aloud is
also called private speech.
As we grow older and mature, thinking aloud is
internalized, and speech shifts to communicating with others.
We tend to use only phrases and incomplete sentences
in private speech. What is said reflects our thoughts, but only
what is puzzling, new, or challenging. We omit what we already
know or understand. So also private speech decreases as our
performance or understanding improves.
Applications of private speech in learning include
planning, monitoring progress, or guiding ourselves in working
through challenging tasks and mastering new skills. It can help us
manage situations and control our behavior by verbalizing our
feelings, or venting to ourselves.
Private speech is a useful tool in learning. The more we
engage our brain on multiple "levels," the more we are able to make
connections and retain what we learn. We read, create images or
diagrams, listen, use music or motion, talk with others
(collaborative learning) and with ourselves. Some of us like to talk
things through with someone or in a group, either to help us
understand or to remember better. And some of us don't need another
person around to talk with in this process! This can be a learning
style, and a very effective one.
We use multiple senses and experiences to process and
reinforce our learning, and the combination of these strategies is
Applications of private speech in learning include;
memorizing vocabulary by saying the words
appreciating poetry by "dramatizing" it
editing papers by reading the text aloud
talking through math problems to arrive at solutions
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