Language myth #4: “I can’t retain information”

"I have the memory of a goldfish!"

I think it is fair to say that adult learners are often envious of their children’s abilities to learn a language.   The saying is true in many cases; children are like sponges, but that doesn’t mean that our hopes of learning a language are dead in the water!  It is equally true that, quite often, the more ‘mature’ we get, we simply need to work a bit harder; to make a commitment to learning and to find a more effective way to retain information than rote learning.

In my classes, I put most emphasis on using a variety of teaching methods; whether this might be a Powerpoint presentation, a set of flashcards, a worksheet, a conversation, a listening exercise or a game.  Here is an extract from an email recently received from a new client who has been attempting to learn French for a year, with no success beyond “bonjour” and “bonsoir”:

“Thanks again for a great lesson, I still can't believe how much I'm retaining!  For me to make this kind of progress is remarkable! Your teaching methods, materials we’re using and I think the pace you set really resonates with me... I'm really enjoying the challenge of getting to grips with the language.” -  Andy, adult French beginner.

I recommend studying little and often; the more you can study between classes, the more successful you will be.  Find the way that works best for you.

It is estimated that as many as 1 in every 5 people suffers from some form of dyslexia.  Most people assume dyslexia means simply seeing letters in a jumbled order on a piece of paper, but it may also encompass such traits as finding it difficult to retain information for more than a few seconds or being disorganised.  

Simple things such as having a folder to store your work in, or setting aside a regular time to practice can really help.

Try to vary the way you work too – you don’t necessarily need to sit and suffer reading a text book every night:

  • ·Make yourself a set of flashcards for words you find tough to remember.  Make two piles of those you know and those you don’t, until eventually you only have one pile .
  • By a game, such as KLOO GAMES which build vocabulary and sentence structure.
  • Find someone with whom you can practice.
  • Join our FREE social meet up groups.
  • Or for those of you who like Sherlock, you might be familiar with the idea of a memory palace.