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Language Training:  New ideas in Language Teaching

We are always looking for new ways to teach our language learners here at Unique Language Training.  Our mix of organic and academic teaching is a great way for students to learn, but a recent article in Time caught our eye.

 

You are probably familiar with this idea put forward by several authors, the most prominent of whom is Malcolm Gladwell.  He wrote a book called The Outliers, which states that people need roughly 10,000 hours of practice in order to become proficient at something.

 

Playing Golf

A gentleman by the name of Dan McLaughlin was inspired by this idea and decided to quit his job and have the goal of one day playing in a Master's golf tournament.  This was despite not having ever played golf before.

 

So, where does all this fit in with language learning?  Well, the implications of Dan's project reach far beyond the field of golf and in March this year, a group of US-based learning and memory researchers examined his idea more closely.  

 

Language Learners

Language learners are often taught that constant repetition will improve one's ability to communicate in a second language, but Dan's training incorporates something called "interleaving".  This is where you "mix things up", so in Dan's case they switch golf clubs, targets, etc. and so this idea could possibly be transferred to training in languages and a myriad of other subjects.

 

Studies show that interleaving does work, with baseball players who mix up their training improving far better than ones who don't.  Art students who studied various painters in smaller lesson chunks also learned far more than the traditional way.  So, it improves recall as well as motor learning.  

 

Mix up your Language Education

Consider it to be like doing a gym workout for your brain.  You don't just concentrate on one machine for your entire workout - you mix things up to develop your muscles.  The same goes for learning and so you are not bored as you learn and you feel less stressed.

 

We think that there is something in this and we are encouraging our tutors to give this new method a try over the next few weeks.  

 

Glossary

"take up"           To begin something.  "He took up golf"

"fit in"                 To march.   "He fits in so well at his new school."

"put forward"    To promote.  "He has put forward a great idea."

 

 

Unique Language Training runs bespoke language classes in English as a Second Language as well as many modern languages.  For further information, please contact 020 3566 0145, e-mail us or fill in the form on this page.  

 

 

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