There must be some understanding of how people learn as well as some understanding of how people eat. The connection? Re the latter, the more we look at what truly works in diet, the more we gravitate away from the government nutrition pyramid and look at how our ancestors ate. After all, our bodies are the same as those of our ancestors of 20, 30, 40 thousand years ago. Since agricultural was introduced, we have forced into our bodies foods that do provide nutrition but also stress our bodies. Beginning (I would say) with Gary Taubes NYT magazine article July 7, 2002, we have seen a migration toward vegetable-based diets with a healthy amount of meat but less diary and mucho mas less carbohydrates, the basis of the food pyramid. Taubes enraged the diet community by endorsing Atkins, but after that more and more diets are focusing on diabetes, hypertension, obsesity, and other ailments rare in earlier times and endemic/pandemic now. I am 74 and remember Middle America (Ohio, Arizona working-class people were not fat and ate far less than people do now).
We would hope to see a similar shift in education. How did we used to educate our children? They worked alongside us without a constant flow of encouragement other than the most elemental: the joy of participation in work. IMHO, we can date the classification of work as drudgery from the opening of the Industrial Age where men (and now women) left home daily while children were shunted off to schools designed to resemble the factories their daddies worked in. This separation and disintegration of family work patterns might even be blamed for the more general disintegration of the family, at least by true conservatives.
In the fl classroom, we have perhaps the worst case of a natural inclination inclination to work, to cooperate, to develop goals out of the context we find ourselves in, and to rest appropriately being wrenched out of its context and reformed along factory lines: analyzed the task, break it down into steps, attach movements to the steps, reward successful completion of the task, punish failure to meet goals set by others, and divide the work/learning force into unnatural hierarchies separated by pay scales and corner offices.
Just as children play and work naturally and learn naturally working beside their parents, and mankind grubbed for natural foods in a natural way to which the body adapted over time in a process known as evolution, so people have always come to speak the way others in the context, i.e. in their communities spoke, incl acquiring new languages when the need and context provoked that natural learning process we call acquisition.
Therefore, it behooves us to feed our children food they are adapted to by evolution, keep them in their families and with their age group as much as possible*, let them be free to learn in contexts evoking the learning we would like to see**, and then put them in a second language context that triggers the LAD, the Language Acquisition Device.***
* this is not an endorsement of sorting children in school by age but rather a recognition that children learn together from each other as they mature together as well as learning from older children who mentor them
** aka curriculum, whose contents challenge our motivation for educating our children….. cooperate cogs, obedient slaves, fierce warriors, subservient employees, subordinate wives, independent free-thinkers…………
*** no evidence exists that people begin speaking a second language as adults (12 and up) by analyzing and practicing rules, while massive, undeniable evidence exists that throughout history absolutely everybody acquires a second language by being settled into the context, i.e. community where that language serves as the medium of communication