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Learn English Physically


One student struggles to learn English. His speaking is slow and hesitant. His pronunciation is garbled and heavily accented. He’s painful to listen to.

Another student speaks easily. English flows from her, seemingly without effort. Her pronunciation is clear; her voice is strong.

We all know both types of students. The question is, what creates the difference between them. Why do some students forever struggle to speak English fluently, while others seem to do so naturally, with a minimum of effort?

Some teachers believe that genes or ingrained “talent” determine a student’s success. But there is no research to support this opinion and it is, in fact, totally false. Students do not fail or succeed because of talent or genetics.

Success or failure are ultimately determined by one simple thing: how the student learns. Students who use inferior learning methods get inferior results. Students who employ the very best learning strategies get superior results. It’s that simple.

The trick, of course, is knowing which methods to use. There are, of course, a wealth of highly effective English learning methods. Unfortunately, most are not taught in traditional schools.

One of the most effective methods for learning English is to learn the language physically. Research by Dr. James Asher shows that combining physical movement with language learning produces powerful results. Dr. Asher developed a method called “Total Physical Response” as a way to teach language through physical movement.

What we find is that combining physical movement with intellectual learning creates stronger neurological connections in our nervous system. In other words, we more quickly “wire” our brains.. thus learning faster, remembering more, and remembering longer.

Studies at San Jose State University show that students who moved their bodies while learning English learned more vocabulary and grammar in a shorter time, compared with students who learned the same material while sitting still. More remarkably, when tested one year later, the students who learned with movement still remembered 80% or more of what they had learned, while the non-moving students had forgotten over 80%.

So how can you put this to use? One simple suggestion is to always be moving while learning English. Go for a walk or run as you listen to a lesson- don’t sit still as you learn.

For even better results, try this: as you listen to a story or article, physically mime the action. For example, if you hear the word “go”, move your feet as if walking. Pretend you are an actor who is physically acting out the action of the story.

By doing this, you “wire” the language deeply into your nervous system and subconscious. As a result, you’ll learn more English, remember it longer, and be able to use it more easily.


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