Your browser does not fully support this website. Maybe it’s time to upgrade?

Janel Umfress


The Importance of Language

I approach my practice with the belief that use and comprehension of language are fundamental to every aspect of learning. The foundations of language are formed with an infant’s eye contact, which impacts ensuing relationships, and are built and reinforced as words begin to emerge. Over time, the understanding of the intent behind sounds, words, sentences, descriptions, and thoughts, becomes connected through deepening relationships and also through the medium of print in reading and writing. Language foundations intersect to allow learning to take place.

The interconnected process of relationships, usage, instruction and experience meld into effective communication and learning.

In other words, I believe with the hierarchy of language comes the hierarchy of learning. When elements of these foundations are lacking, complex learning can be significantly impacted.

The Learning Process

I believe that productive learners ask questions, are actively engaged, and have a sense of wonder. As I have observed over the years, however, some students who are bright and interested do not have the deep understanding and integration of content or ideas that is needed. An important element of my practice is to help students understand that relationships and associations between content and their personal experiences are essential to building a broader contextual base. Having those connections, allows for access of information in both depth and breadth, as well as a more profound curiosity about learning in general. It is my desire to stimulate a student’s innate curiosity. Of equal importance is helping students understand the mind-body connection and that learning, behavior and emotions are interrelated. Recognizing that we have some control through conscious practices can help shift negative patterns and behaviors to ultimately make learning more effective.