Teaching English to the rythm of the brain
Keywords:neuroeducation, educational neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, language, english as a second language, memory, teaching-learning process
Efficiently teaching and learning languages becomes increasingly important especially when it comes to the English language. Education systems should be able to equip students with adequate tools and skills required to face this world. However, they still have some room for improvement to achieve that purpose. This article seeks to contribute to the enhancement of the teaching-learning process of English by considering neuroscience discoveries. It is a bibliographic review providing neuroscience-based findings to help teachers facilitate the learning of foreign languages. Advances in neurotechnology have allowed neuroscientists to directly observe the functioning of the human brain. In this context lies the interdisciplinary field of neuroeducation. It specialises at serving education by providing relevant brain evidence. This study found that teachers should stimulate motivation, attention, emotions, and memory to help their students process and learn English. The present study concerns the teaching of high school students. With adolescents, teachers should consider the importance of reducing stress, promoting the reward system, using variety in their teaching, strengthening working memory, and fostering social interaction as well as a growth mindset. Looking at language in the brain, it appears that both hemispheres are involved in the language process which seems to stress the importance to provide for a rich multimodal learning environment. Besides, both the declarative and procedural memory are memory systems underlying language acquisition. However, adolescents have a stronger declarative memory. It entails that language teachers should appeal to the latter while allowing for the development of the procedural memory. In the light of the findings, this study produces a guide which exemplifies the incorporation of neuroscience principles within a standard English lesson. It leads teachers to consider neuroscience findings and operate intentionally. Creating a learning environment where teachers instruct at the rhythm of the brain and students’ skills are optimised.
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