The English Learners' Blog

A blog for English learners and their teachers everywhere, initiated in 2010 with the contribution of students from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. More about me on the On-line Profile below. Welcome!

How your brain learns English (and how it doesn’t)

||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

Hello, there, English learning enthusiasts wherever you are!

It is my pleasure to introduce a new post by ELB guest blogger, Aaron Knight from New York. His post is an excellent resource that complements the previous article on brain matters I recently published on the ELB.  You are invited to explore more great posts by Aaron at this link. Enjoy! 

||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

How your brain learns English (and how it doesn’t) 

I sometimes worry that the lessons I write contain too much information.

“Information” includes anything that can be written as a “rule”: grammar rules, explanations of the difference between two words, etc.

It’s OK to learn information about English. But it’s much, much more effective to become used to English through repeated speaking and listening. Here’s why:

Your brain isn’t one big container that can be improved just by dumping more information into it.

Instead, imagine that your mind has two separate “buckets”.  One part of your mind (the Knowledge section) stores information. Another separate part of your mind (the Performance section) controls things that you’re able to do, like draw a picture, drive a car, or speak a language.

When you learn information about English, it goes into the Knowledge section of your brain. But the parts of your brain are separate. Your knowledge might grow, but that doesn’t necessarily improve your ability to use English.

Experience improves performance

You know how to gain Knowledge about English: by reading textbooks and listening to teachers. But how do you improve your Performance?

By listening, speaking, reading, and writing. You improve by doing.

As you listen to natural English, you will naturally start to copy the patterns that you hear, even if you can’t quite explain what they mean.

As you speak English, you’ll get used to speaking in a certain way. The words will come out more automatically.

Why knowledge still helps

I still write explanations for all of my lessons. Why? Because a little bit of knowledge can be helpful. When you concentrate hard on something that you’ve learned, you can temporarily improve your speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

The improvement is only temporary. When you stop concentrating, you’ll go back to your old habits. But by hearing and speaking correctly, you can slowly train your Performance brain to continue the new habits.

The important point is to treat information as a tool. Learn some rules, but just a few at a time. Then be sure to practice them until they’ve become natural to you.

What do you think? Do you agree with my little theory? Are you guilty of paying too much attention to rules and information? Answer in the comments!

||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

Advertisements

Filed under: 3►SPEAK▼, ■ BM Brain Matters, ■ Brain Matters, TOPICS▼

One Response

  1. […] Read more… Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterLinkedInPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

A big WELCOME to all ELB visitors, from Europe and elsewhere!

Bloguri, Bloggeri si Cititori

Enter your email address

ELBlog Stats ■ THANK YOU for your interest & inspiration!

  • 42,571 visits

Browse by Category

0►TRUST 1►LISTEN▼ 1►TO DO 2►READ 3►SPEAK▼ 3►STYLE 4►LIFE 4►WRITE 5►LEARN MORE FROM: 5►On-line Assignments 6►THEME CHEST 6▼ Questionnaires 7► DIY 7►NET WORKS 8►BUSINESS 9►EXTRA TOPICS▼ ■ About Organisational Cultures ■ African-American History ■ Arts/ Music/ Dance ■ BBC ■ Biology ■ BM Brain Matters ■ Books ■ Brain Matters ■ Brain Plasticity ■ Brain Rules ■ Campuses ■ Celebrations ■ Charity ■ Christmas ■ CNN ■ CNN Money ■ Colour Vocabulary ■ Comics & Doodles ■ Communicate ■ Compassion ■ Conference Speakers ■ Creativity ■ Dream Jobs ■ Empathy ■ EU ■ EurActiv ■ Facebook ■ Food & Travel ■ Forbes ■ Fortune ■ Gabriel Garcia Marquez ■ Geeks ■ Generations ■ Giving ■ GLOBAL ■ Global Issues ■ Good Old Student Life ■ GOOP ■ Graduation ■ Ha, ha, ha! ■ Happiness ■ Harvard Business Review ■ Harvard Law School ■ How to Learn Languages ■ How to Live ■ How to Tell a Story ■ India ■ Inspiration ■ Intelligent Life ■ Kids ■ Leadership ■ Luxury ■ Lyrics ■ Meet my friends ■ Movies ■ Nationalities and Stereotypes ■ News ■ Open Letter ■ Perfumes ■ Photos that Speak ■ Physics ■ Podcasts ■ Poland ■ Polandia ■ Punctuation Marks ■ Races ■ Radio Shows ■ Relation ships ■ Romania ■ Running ■ School ■ Science & Technology ■ Self Development Links ■ Senses ■ Sept. 11 ■ Site Scout ■ Spring Cleaning ■ Stanford University ■ Talks & Conferences ■ Technology & Our Generation ■ TED ■ The Economist ■ The Next Web ■ The Path of Metaphor ■ The Teacher ■ The World ■ They say... & what they mean is... ■ They write... & what they mean is... ■ Thinking Space ■ TIME ■ Tongue Twisters ■ Travel ■ TV & Radio ■ Voice Matters ■ W. E. B. Du Bois ■ Week of Mourning 2010 ■ Writing Samples ■ YouTube ►10.IN PRINT▼ ►11.ON LINE▼ ►12.OFF THE MAP▼ ►13.WHAT DO THEY MEAN?▼ ►META PHORS▼
%d bloggers like this: