Looking back at my days in primary school and high school, the best memories are of moments spent doing activities with friends—sports, art, drama club, environmental club. I don’t recall a lot of the moments spent cramming for a science test, memorizing words for Spanish homework, or listening to monotonous history lectures in class.
Sound familiar? I know I’m not the only one. That’s because our brain can remember things more easily when they are associated with an emotional memory—a fun moment or a hands-on experience. So why do we continue to teach foreign languages to kids “the old-fashioned way” – sitting at a desk, textbook open, memorizing words and dates? Experts will tell you, this is probably the least effective way for kids, or adults for that matter, to truly learn and remember something.
There are actually 7 primary learning styles, most of which are not being fully utilized in traditional school classroom settings, especially as kids get older and school performance becomes a more serious matter. In fact, when it comes to learning foreign languages like English, most schools use only two of the seven styles. Can you guess which two when you look at the list* below?
The 7 Primary Learning Styles:
Visual (Spatial)- learning through pictures and images
Aural (Audio)- learning through sound and music
Verbal (Linguistic)- learning through written and spoken words
Physical (Kinesthetic)- learning though touch and experience
Logical (Mathematical)- learning through logic and reasoning
Social (Interpersonal)- learning through interacting with others
Solitary (Intrapersonal)- learning through self-study
If think about your own traditional school experience, especially language learning, which methods were used? Typical language classes at school use only two of these styles: verbal (mostly written), and solitary learning (reading alone, memorizing lists, doing exercises alone). There may be some social techniques used for role play activities, but it is not the main method in most cases, and not exploited to the fullest.
Learning a language is something that is natural, social and creative; it is something that humans all over the world share. So it’s no surprise that teaching kids English the “old-fashioned way” in a traditional classroom isn’t very natural, or effective, especially once we start to look at all the other types of learning that exist.
That’s why some schools and language centers like Speak English Kids in Grenoble offer a different way to learn English for kids—a way that is both fun and effective! Through activities which are led in English, such as singing, cooking, playing games, having a costume party, celebrating holidays and birthdays, building things, painting, and more, kids are able to acquire the language almost effortlessly, without boring textbooks and vocabulary lists.When they are immersed in a language doing something fun and memorable with their friends, their brain is able to imprint the experience, and the words used in that context, in a way that is much more permanent than short-term memorization or forced reading aloud, for example.
We have all heard about the effects of “immersion” for language learning. Well now you don’t need to visit another country to have the immersion experience. Especially since Speak English Kids has just opened a new school in St. Martin d’Hères (Isère), in addition to their existing school in Fontaine, to be able to welcome even more kids who want to learn English the fun way!
Don’t hesitate to get in touch or stop by the Open House at the new Speak English Kids location on September 13th from 2pm – 7pm for a piece of cake and a gift for all kids ! Or if you can’t make it, get in touch to sign your child up for the next session!
*list source: https://blog.udemy.com/how-to-teach-kids/