How do YOU learn? Knowing this can make the daunting task of English or a foreign language learning less like study and more like play. Are you a Visual – Spatial learner who likes pictures, drawings, graphics and extensive use of color? A Musical – Rhythmic type that would benefit from having your lessons and materials set to music, rhythm or rhyme? Perhaps you’re the athletic type who’d derive more success with learning by motion, movement, mime or even dance? Playing the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (pictured) in the background while studying has been shown to enhance learning in a number of areas. To find out more about your manner of learning visit these sites for starters:
• Learning Styles Explanation http://www2.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/ILSdir/styles.htm
• Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire http://www2.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/ILSdir/ilsweb.html
• The Success Types Learning Style Indicator http://www.ttuhsc.edu/SOM/Success/LSTIntro.htm
3. Practice reading skills
Literacy is one of the 21st century’s most innately valuable compound skills. After all, you’re reading THIS now, aren’t you? Few would wish to be illiterate in their new foreign language so practice of reading skills is paramount. Online newspapers, magazines, newsletters and blogs can provide the needed practice and learning materials. Check out these reading comprehension skills sites:
• How to Read Your Textbook More Efficiently http://www.utexas.edu/student/utlc/lrnres/handouts/1422.html
• Self-study reading lessons http://www.english-to-go.com/
• Read the article in the following address: http://www.pacificnet.net/~sperling/quiz/read1a.html
In the address that follows, take the quiz to verify your understanding of the reading passage: http://www.pacificnet.net/~sperling/quiz/read1b.html
4. Help in developing listening skills
Considered to be the most difficult of the language skills to develop, listening cannot be taught. Rather, you must practice, practice, practice and then practice some more. Every week, twice a week I passed a street vendor at the same spot, absolutely clueless as to what he was saying. I knew what he was selling – I just peeked over at his wares. But his entreaties in street Spanish fell on my language-clogged ears for months. Then one evening, without warning, it happened. Just two days before, his cries were the same incomprehensible slur they’d been for months. That one evening however, when he launched into his huckster’s spiel I suddenly understood every word. My listening comprehension skills had clicked in. Why then? No one knows. Especially not me, and I’m a post-graduate-degreed Language Education Specialist!
Practice your listening skills with radio programs in your target language for a change at www.live365.com which has live global feeds 24 hours a day in multiple languages.
Foreign language internet radio and foreign news radio in 27 European, 4 Middle Eastern, 9 Asian languages and audio feeds from 19 African countries are broadcast on: http://www.multilingualbooks.com/online-radio.html
We’ll continue with two more ways to effectively use the internet for English or foreign language teaching and learning in the final, part 3 of this article posting.
Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an English language teaching and learning expert author and university professor in