How do I Learn?

learn english, written on a blackboard
05 Dec Shelley Vernon 1 Comment

 How do your students learn? Recently we spoke to a teacher who was asking for help to prepare a summer project for a student who struggles with ESL to help her understand how she learns.

QUESTION: Any ideas, about presenting a project? The title is: 'How I can study more effectively?' I am working on this with a girl who doesn't seem to know how to make the best use of her abilities and is easily discouraged by her slow progress. I chose her for this summer project hoping that she will find alternative ways to learn and absorb what she is exposed to. 

This is quite theoretical and I'm much more of an action person.  What I do is teach with my method of games, building from listening to speaking, then reading and writing.  I use lots of drills, repetition and praise so eventually the language goes in and the child does learn.  The results speak for themselves and as a consequence the child feels encouraged.  I also make lessons fun so that the child wants to come to them and therefore enjoys them.  I also organise an end of term show for the parents so that they feel involved, that the child is the centre of attention and feels like he/she has achieved something.

Since you are doing this project with your student you could suggest things like:

  • I will study 20 minutes every day.  (20 minutes a day is much more powerful than one hour every three days.)
  • When I do my 20 minutes I will concentrate completely on the task. (Remove any distractions)
  • Keep it simple and keep working on the basics until they are known - there is no point putting fancy door knobs on a door that doesn't close properly in a house made of crumbling cement.
  • Revise every day - 'repetition is the mother of skill'.
  • How do I learn - do I learn best from pictures or words?  Do I need to copy a word to learn it or is using an action better for me?  Do I need to SEE a word written or can I learn it through hearing it?  You as the teacher could test that using games with sets of six words - use a different method to teach each set of six, and then test the next lesson to see how many she remembers.

I find that best results come from me saying the words over and over in combination with pictures and actions - the children do the actions, look for and point to the correct pictures.  Then the kids say the words and do the actions.  Next I show the word in writing if the kids are aged 6 or over (but I don't bother with younger ones) and they write them using a game from one of my ESL games books.





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