Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 24 - June 2007 - by Phil Chambers

TIME TO READ: 4 minutes (Average Reader), less than a minute (Speed Reader) - Word Count: 892. To learn more about Speed Reading Contact us.

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Welcome to the June issue of the Learning Technologies Newsletter, Please continue to forward it to friends and colleagues who you think would find it useful.

This month, as well as our regular quote of the month and Mind Mapping Tip, we share some tips on learning foreign language vocabulary.

June's Quote of the Month

" If you talk to a man in a language
he understands, that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his own language,
that goes to his heart "

- Nelson Mandela

For many more quotes click here.

Mind Mapping Tip of the Month

Try using photographs as central images. A digital camera or Polaroid gives you an instant image. You could use royalty free or stock photographs available on the internet, in books and on CD-ROM. You could even cut out pictures from magazines but make sure you don't infringe copyright if you intend to distribute copies of your Mind Map.

For more tips on Mind Mapping see "101 Top Tips for Better Mind Maps" available from our online shop, click here.

Memory for Foreign Language Vocabulary

I want to share a true story with you. When I was at school I studied GCSE French. My teacher was a Frenchman who was passionate about his language and had a fearsome reputation. Every week he would set a vocabulary test. We'd be given a list of about 15 or 20 French words to learn. I really struggled with this. I would try reading through the list or writing them out lots of times. Nothing seemed to work. I remember him announcing to the class, "The village idiot can learn vocab". How do you think I felt?

If you didn't score well enough you had to come to his office and do the test again before school. Many was the time I found myself sitting in his small, dimly lit office repeating the test.

It is a testament to what a good teacher he was that, despite my problems with vocabulary learning, I got an A-grade. How I wish I had known then what I'll show you this month. With a little imagination and the right approach language learning can be easy and fun.

Learning foreign language vocabulary is often a challenge for students struggling to associate the new word to something they already know.

To make this process easier, try linking each English word with it's foreign equivalent by creating imaginary pictures or situations. The more fun you have creating memorable imaginary pictures the easier they will be to recall. A large vocabulary in your Long term Memory will make it easier to locate the correct word when you are writing or speaking the new language.


For Example:

The French for BREAD is PAIN

Imagine that you are cramming hundreds of French bread sticks into a pan and are jumping up and down on top of the lid to try and get it to fit.

2. The French for WINE is VIN

Imagine standing in a street feeling very, very thirsty. You yank open the rear door of a massive white van and thousands of bottles of wine cascade from the back, shattering on the road and swamping you in a pool of fruity smelling wine.

3. The French for MENU is CARTE

You are trying to order in a restaurant - your waiters are riding around in little go- carts and every time they whiz past your table you make a frantic effort to try and reach out and grab a menu from one of them.

4. The French for COAT is MANTEAU

Imagine a man with a tiny coat on his toe to keep it warm. Perhaps he has smelly feet!

5. The French for HAM is JAMBON

You are spreading sweet smelling, sticky, strawberry jam over the bone of a large ham.

6. The French for RABBIT is LAPIN

Imagine a large white fluffy rabbit lapping up water from a bowl like a cat. Feel its soft fur and see its darting red tongue.

7. The French for MUSHROOM is CHAMPIGNON

Imagine a champion mushroom proudly holding up a cup for to cheering crowd. Perhaps hear hear "We are the Champions" by Queen.

8. The French for MILK is LAIT

Feel what it would be like to lay in a bath full of warm milk.

9. The French for ARM is BRAS

See a man wearing a bra on his muscular arm.

10. The French for HAND is MAIN

See a man with enormous hands. What would he sound like if he was clapping?

Think how much quicker and more fun it is to learn vocabulary using this technique than the boring, laborious writing out many times traditionally done by students.

You can find out more by reading French By Association by Dr Michael Gruneberg. ISBN-10: 0844294454

That's all for this month. If you have any comments, suggestions or would like more information about our courses please feel free to contact me.