I’m very interested in how the brain takes in new information, and how to improve the learning process. I always encourage students to learn more about their brains, to better understand how to learn well. There are a few things that I do regularly, based on what I’ve learned about the brain so for.
- Ask students to talk about “what’s new”. This builds social skills, but it also allows them to practice using vocabulary they already know, and to expand on that vocabulary with new words, expressions and idioms that relate to their everyday experiences. I hope that this regular activity will also encourage them to “English” any of their everyday activities, since they know they’ll have to share something with the class.
- Work on exercises individually, review with a partner, then correct the exercise with the whole class. Good students will also do the connected workbook exercises after each class. This provides several repetition and reinforcement opportunities since we rarely learn something new, the first time we’re exposed to that information. It also allows connections to be strengthened between existing and new knowledge.
- Individual, narrative writing that connects to each new subject area, as well as grammar. Again, this allows students to reinforce new knowledge, connect it to existing knowledge, and expand their “English” thinking about the current subject. As students write, I collect their writing, edit it, and send back the writing that all of the students have done, so that they have a grammatically correct “template” for expressing themselves on the subject. Also, this provides reading material that is interesting, and not too challenging for students to read independently.
- Regular “fieldtrips” to go use the target language in a real, yet safe and enjoyable environment. This means visiting restaurants or grocery stores when learning about food, a nearby gym while learning about staying in shape.
I hope that these various methods are helping students to incorporate their language learning as quickly as possible! Please share any other tips and tricks that have helped you to learn or to teach a new language.
Click the link below to see what scientists are saying about the brain.