Rees, English Teacher/Teacher Trainer, ELT materials writer
"I have worked in Spain, China and the UK, where I have gained most of my experience teaching people from all over the world, of all ages and all language levels. I currently teach at the London Metropolitan University. A lot of my work concerns teaching study and learning skills. I believe that part of teaching a language involves helping a student learn how to learn."
Gareth Rees gives advice on how you can improve
the way you learn English, particularly when you are studying on
- Your personal learning style
- Remembering and learning vocabulary
- Improving listening and reading skills
- Using new technology - DVDs and the internet
- Test yourself!
- More tips: Live Chat transcript
Your personal learning style
Learning a language undoubtedly requires dedication to the cause. You can only learn a language by applying yourself, by putting in the time and effort. During the day today, and when reading these notes, you should bear this in mind.
- Two ways to describe
Different people learn things in different ways. I think it is important to have some self awareness of your learning style, of what suits your intellect and personality. Here is a brief guide to two ways to look at learning styles. Which parts seem to relate to the way you study and learn?
- The four modalities
People with a VISUAL learning style use lists to organize their thoughts and recall information by remembering how it was set out on a page
People with an AUDITORY learning style like dialogues, discussions and plays and use rhythm and sound as memory aids
People with a KINAESTHETIC learning style learn best when they are involved or active andd use movement as a memory aid
People with a TACTILE learning style learn well in hands-on activities like projects and demonstrations
- Left brain dominated and right brain dominated
The brain is divided into two halves which appear to have different mental functions.
A left brain dominated learner has a more logical thinking style. They like sequences, logic, lists, numbers and names. They have good reasoning skills.
A right brain dominated learner likes image, colour, emotion and patterns. They have good visuo-spatial skills.
If you have a left brain preference you could try...
writing out information by hand
turning the information into lists
using headings to break information into categories
If you have a right brain preference you could try...
using shape and colour to highlight information
drawing a diagram to show how information links up
singing the information you have to learn!
- How to use learning style awareness
Once you have explored your learning style and decided what suits you best, you can then approach your learning in a way that will suit your learning style.
However, ideally you should try using your whole brain in your learning. If you can you should use a variety of techniques when trying to remember something. If you feel you are right brain dominated, and you draw pictures to help learn things, you should perhaps number those pictures, and so bring your left brain into action. Using both sides of your brain can only help in learning and remembering.
So, the best thing to learn from knowing about learning styles is that there are so many different ways to help you learn. It is time to experiment and explore new and imaginative ways to learn...