Brain Research and Language Learning

These are my notes from John Bald’s session on learning languages.

Repeating language over and over again helps to embed as bits of the brain connect and the connections thicken the more they are used. (Teaching and learning research project, 2007)

Reading aloud of 1 language uses one part of the brain, reading in another language uses another part of the brain, reading in both uses a large amount of the brain.
(The Learning Brain, Blakemore & Frith, 2007)

Use what we already know to learn a language (think Michael Thomas method).

Use the phrase ‘shared words’ not cognates.

We can promote the formation of networks in children’s minds by: understanding how they learn and what their starting point is, explaining in terms they can understand, clear and attractive presentation (use colour coding), teach skills together so that they can see the links, encouraging questions, encourage them to practise.

We hinder the formation of networks by: copying (!) , overloading.

Write on sleeve to practise spellings, particularly of words with unusual sounds (French: vert, violet)

Use a song to teach pronouns. See John’s tune and lyrics.

Issues with spellings: book: Spell It Out helps

Clicker-software to create sentences. Click to create sentences and then it says them.

A vowel is not a letter, it’s a sound. Making links between j’ai and je ai and how it doesn’t sound right.

Considering drawing on sleeve with finger to write out a word instead of on back/hand etc.


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