Learning by doing – get away from the table

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In many parts of the world, people learn second (or third or fourth or fifth) languages not by rationally studying a language but by picking them up in the course of their lives. You may have experienced how different it feels to learn a language say at school than to learn to speak a language whilst living abroad for a few years.

Learning by doing can be an effective way to help the student learn and remember what they have learned. An example would be preparing food to eat rather than reading a recipe. It makes language real and connects the learning with emotional experiences.

Try to take advantage of opportunities make the learning as real and emotionally meaningful as possible.

Here are some ideas:

  • introduce your students to your friends
  • make role plays involve people in the student’s life
  • use props/clothes to bring a sense of theatre to lessons
  • set up interactions in shops, libraries, offices and even on the telephone
  • real postcards to friends/family
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