Warsaw Univeristy of technology (9)

Learning inside and outside the classroom

Learning English in the classroom

Don’t work hard, work smart!

Learning a foreign language does not have to be hard or boring. Getting to know oneself and finding the most suitable techniques for language practice can save a lot of time and trouble. Whether you know it or not you have a preferred learning style. You tend to use one of your senses: sight, hearing or touch more often and to a greater extent when you study, revise or try to remember something. So what kind of learner are you? Visual, auditory or kinesthetic?

Try a little quiz below to find the answer

1. Think about your first day at school. What comes first to your mind?

A) you can see this day in your mind quite clearly
B) your teacher’s voice and the sounds of the school
C) what you felt when you saw a teacher and the other children
D) my memories are not very clear

2. Which of these phrases do you use when you like something

A) It feels good
B) It looks good
C) It sounds good
D) None of the above appeals to me

3. Which classroom situation don’t you like the most

A) you have to be quiet for a long time in class
B) you have to sit still for a long time in class
C)  the teacher does not use the board or any other display
D) you dislike them all in the same way

4. If you are writing a test and are not sure how to spell a word. Do you

A) need to write it down on paper and then you will know if it is correct
B) try to recall what it looked like on paper in your book / notebook
C) spell it in your head  and listen to the names of letters
D) use a different method

5. Which phrase do you use more often than others in a conversation

A) I can figure it out
B) I see what you mean
C) It sounds familiar
D) It seems OK

Check the number of points against each question

1A 4 1B 3 1C 2 1D 1
2A 2 2B 4 2C 3 2D 1
3A 3 3B 2 3C 4 3D 1
4A 2 4B 4 4C 3 4D 1
5A 2 5B 4 5C 3 5D 1

So what kind of learner are you!

  • 16 – 20 points. You seem to be a visual learner.
    Images matter to you! Clear notes and drawings help you remember and make studying more pleasant. Make colourful markers your friends!

  • 15 -11 points. You seem to be an auditory learner
    Hearing is very important for your memories. Let the melody of the language guide you to success.

  • 10 – 6 points. You seem to be a kinesthetic learner
    Movement and your inner feelings are crucial activities for you. You think better on the move. Why don’t you move while you are studying.

  • 0-5 points You are a mystery! Try to observe yourself and discover which senses are your favourite in a learning context. Alternatively you might be an ideal learner a perfect mixture of the above.

Below you will find the type of activities that suit your preferred learning style and help you work smart.

Visual learners enjoy studying when they

  • make colourful and clear notes
  • draw mind maps and invent diagrams to cover important information
  • keep a vocabulary log where you enter the meaning, stress, examples of use of new words and phrases
  • highlight important information in your books or notes
  • make your own flashcards and display them in prominent places in your room
  • read simplified readers or articles in a foreign language

Auditory learner

  • talk to your classmates in class as often as possible
  • listen to your teachers try to recall what they have said before the end of the class
  • use tunes of songs to remember longer rules or exceptions
  • look words up in electronic dictionaries to hear the pronunciation and word stress
  • record yourself while saying a text from the book and compare it with the original
  • listen to CDs attached to simplified readers or audio books
  • make use of CDs and DVDs attached to your course book

Kinesthetic learner

  • write down the longer texts that you want to remember – the memory of your muscles will help
  • build models of grammar structures /sentences in class, you may use post it notes or colourful slips
  • take breaks to walk or change places in class
  • take active part in role plays in class
  • recall what you remember from the class while doing sports or physical activities
  • prepare animated Power Point Presentations during /after your classes with a mobile phone software

Learning English outside of the classroom

To make progress in English you need both to attend classes and to study on your own. This will help you develop your language skills and extend your knowledge to reach higher levels of proficiency. If you want significant or brilliant levels of achievement you need to ‘live’ the language outside of the classroom as well. Try spending as much time as possible every day doing enjoyable activities in English developing all four language skills.

READ in English

  • read English language newspapers such as The guardian, and you may even do it on your mobile with free
  • applications nowadays
  • read English language websites such as the BBC
  • read English language blogs on whatever subjects interests you

LISTEN in English

  • listen to songs in English on youtube, study the lyrics and sing with the performers
  • listen to English speaking radio programmes such as LBC from London, you may go for a walk in the park and listen with your mobile thanks to free applications
  • watch English language films with or without subtitles

SPEAK in English

  • find a conversation buddy: someone who will meet you in a café or elsewhere and enjoy talking in English with you
  • talk online to other students from different countries
  • play computer games that require talking in English to other players
  • set up an English club where you can meet with other students and discuss a book or article that you have all read or have a current affairs debate

WRITE in English

  • enter English language chat rooms, take part in discussions online
  • keep a diary of your everyday life in English – write a paragraph a day, show it to your teacher every now and then if you want
  • find a pen friend in an English speaking country and keep in touch with them

The ideas listed above worked for other students because they enjoyed them and did them systematically every day. Which of these activities appeal to you? Do you need to invent new ones?
Whatever you do, do it often and with joy and soon you will become not only a brilliant learner but also a perfect communicator in English.