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memorising techniques

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by hennapen, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. I've just been on a great course with a man called Ed Cook, a linguist who has some great memorising techniques for MFL. I'm sure we've all seen programmes where someone can memorise a shuffled pack of cards, well he revealed the technique and it can be used easily on any boy (or girl come to that) who knows the team members of the 4 biggest football teams.

    Essentially you give each suit a team (Arsenal for hearts etc.) and each card a player (Ace of hearts =card 1 so it would be Almunia, card 2 would be the player with no 2 on his back etc, the queen could be a famous WAG and so on). Boys often know this info already so learning time is minimal. Once they know the cards you they can start creating a sequential story involving the players as they look at the cards.

    While the above technique is not MFL specific it is a good one-on-one way of motivating an individual with esteem/behavioural issues and the technique can be used to help learn presentations etc.

    Vocab learning is made more fun by compartmentalising particular groups of words and giving them particular characteristics. For example you might learn all the words to do with emotion and locate them in a particular room of your own house (e.g. the bedroom). This makes it much easier for your brain to access the information. The word 'alegre' might be remembered as Ray Winstone with one leg sitting on your bed and looking really happy!

    The secret seems to be that your mind will only really remember *interesting* things easily. You are unlikely to forget a one legged man sitting on your bed.... The fact that all emotion type words are also associated with that particular place helps you access groups of information more effectively.

    This technique will not be news for many of you out there, and I have always used similar ideas (quinze = 15 cans, anyone?) but making it a systematic part of vocab learning seems a good way ahead for me.

    Has anyone got any other good techniques (sorry if I've missed previous posts!)

     
  2. I've just been on a great course with a man called Ed Cook, a linguist who has some great memorising techniques for MFL. I'm sure we've all seen programmes where someone can memorise a shuffled pack of cards, well he revealed the technique and it can be used easily on any boy (or girl come to that) who knows the team members of the 4 biggest football teams.

    Essentially you give each suit a team (Arsenal for hearts etc.) and each card a player (Ace of hearts =card 1 so it would be Almunia, card 2 would be the player with no 2 on his back etc, the queen could be a famous WAG and so on). Boys often know this info already so learning time is minimal. Once they know the cards you they can start creating a sequential story involving the players as they look at the cards.

    While the above technique is not MFL specific it is a good one-on-one way of motivating an individual with esteem/behavioural issues and the technique can be used to help learn presentations etc.

    Vocab learning is made more fun by compartmentalising particular groups of words and giving them particular characteristics. For example you might learn all the words to do with emotion and locate them in a particular room of your own house (e.g. the bedroom). This makes it much easier for your brain to access the information. The word 'alegre' might be remembered as Ray Winstone with one leg sitting on your bed and looking really happy!

    The secret seems to be that your mind will only really remember *interesting* things easily. You are unlikely to forget a one legged man sitting on your bed.... The fact that all emotion type words are also associated with that particular place helps you access groups of information more effectively.

    This technique will not be news for many of you out there, and I have always used similar ideas (quinze = 15 cans, anyone?) but making it a systematic part of vocab learning seems a good way ahead for me.

    Has anyone got any other good techniques (sorry if I've missed previous posts!)

     
  3. Dodros

    Dodros Established commenter

  4. Thanks - that's really good! I learned a lot from that myself!
     
  5. Michael Gruneberg's Linkword system works for some people. It's been around for a long time:
    http://www.linkwordlanguages.com/
    He demonstrated it to me on one occasion around 20 years ago. Basically, you learn vocab by associating each new word with a silly idea. I couldn't see this working, but 20 years later I cannot forget that the Greek for "dog" is "skylos" - by associating the word with a dog looking for a ski he has lost in an avalanche.
     
  6. The Expert

    The Expert New commenter

    Dodros

    Very nice resource. I think we greatly underplay the role of mnemonics in teaching anything these days, let alone languages. Why aren't memory techniques taught to school children before they actually start to learn, forget, label themselves as failures and hate school?

    Memory champion Dominic O'Brien asks the same question in his superb "Quantum Memory" course. Now there is an inspiring story for you. Dominic was labelled as dyslexic at school, and told he would amouunt to nothing, yet he completely obliterated this cruel prediction, and has won the World Memory Championships many times over.

    So kudos to you for teaching people how to use their minds, Dodros.
     
  7. minka1

    minka1 Occasional commenter

    Sad to see there are not many posts on this subject. Whether it's critical or supportive. Vocabulary learning is a neglected area of language learning and possibly the best method using mnemonics is hardly used. No wonder kids hate learning new languages.
     

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