English Fluency Methods Class Projects

English Fluency Methods Class Projects - student project

 

Class Project: How To Memorize Vocabulary Effectively

Step one:

Go to Google. Search for "travel article" or "technology article" or "food article" or "business article" etc. Basically choose any topic that you are interested in, and find an article about it.

Here are some website suggestions:

 

https://www.lonelyplanet.com   (travel)

https://www.wired.com    (technology)

http://www.saveur.com    (food)

https://hbr.org/     (business)

 

Step two:

For shallow meanings:

Open the article. Start reading the article. (Only read one or two paragraphs for this assignment). When you find a word that you don't know, go to Google Translate ( https://translate.google.com) and translate the word into your first language. When finished, continue reading until you find another word that you don't know and translate it into your first language. Continue until you finish the paragraph/s. Now without looking at the article, try and remember all the words that you had difficulty with. How many can you remember? What % of words did you remember correctly?

% = (number of words remembered) / (number of words translated) × 100

 

Step three:

For shallow meanings (but slightly deeper than only translating):

Open another article. Start reading the article. (Only read one or two paragraphs for this assignment). When you find a word that you don't know, go to WordReference (http://www.wordreference.com/) and find English definitions for that word. When finished, continue reading until you find another word that you don't know and find English definitions for that word. Continue until you finish the paragraph/s. Now without looking at the article, try and remember all the words that you had difficulty with. How many can you remember? What % of words did you remember correctly?

 

% = (number of words remembered) / (number of words used in WordReference) × 100

 

Step four:

For deeper meanings:

Open a different article. Start reading the article. (Only read one or two paragraphs for this assignment). When you find a word that you don't know, first search for the word in Google Images (https://images.google.com/) and try and understand the meaning of the word through the images that you see. Next, go to Google Translate ( https://translate.google.com) and translate the word into your first language but quickly forget that translation and only focus on the mental image or concept that it represents. Keep saying the English word to yourself while thinking of the concept or image that it represents. Make the image or concept really vivid in your mind. Try and think of a personal memory that you have and keep saying the word to yourself. This should only take about a minute. When finished, continue reading until you find another word that you don't know and repeat the same process with the Google Images and/or mental imagery. Continue until you finish the paragraph/s. Now without looking at the article, try and remember all the words that you had difficulty with. How many can you remember? What % of words did you remember correctly?

 

% = (number of words remembered) / (total number of words associated with mental images) × 100

 

Step five:

Compare the different experiences that you had. Which process helped you remember more words? Which process felt more "natural"? Try and repeat the three different techniques again and again to get a clear picture of which works best. Hopefully you will see that creating deep connections is the best way to remember vocabulary!

 

 

 

 

Class Project: English Reading Strategies

 

 Step one:

Research "Flash Cards" and "Spaced Repetition Systems" in google, just to get an understanding of how they work for building vocabulary in language learning. These systems can really help you to build vocabulary, and if you try them, and you like them, and if they work for you then continue using them! But personally, I believe that there is a much more interesting method to use for building vocabulary in a natural way, which I will explain next:

 

Step two:

Think of all the topics that you are naturally interested in, in your first language. What are the topics that you really love to read about in your free time? Be honest with yourself. Do you love comedy? Do you like to read about technology in your first language? Do you love sports? What about politics? Do you like history? Travel?

Now write down a list of all the topics that you really love in your first language. (This is something like your 'personality' in your first language)

e.g sports, travel, food, cultures around the world, technology, history, movies, music etc etc etc

 

Step three:

Now you need to do some mental preparation. Imagine that your first language doesn't exist in your mind anymore. Pretend that it really just isn't there. Try and imagine what that feels like. And now imagine that the only way that you can learn about the world is through English. If you want to know what's going on in the world you need to do it throughEnglish and nothing else.

 

Step four:

Next, choose a topic from your list. Just for example, let's choose "travel". Now go to google and search for online magazines and websites that talk about travel, in English. In the google search bar, type "travel magazine" or "travel articles". And if you want to search for something specific, search for "travel Brazil articles" or "travel Japan magazine" or "Mount Everest article" etc etc. You need to develop the habit of searching for your favourite topics in English, and then just sitting down and enjoying the articles.

 

Step five:

Now find two or three good articles about "travel". Have a look at the articles and notice the language that is used in these articles. Even though the articles are about a specific topic, they all contain lots and lots of common vocabulary. The most common words in the English language should be found in these articles. And some of this vocabulary will repeat and repeat and repeat again and again. This is natural Spaced Repetition within an article. And if you read some travel articles again next week you will see a lot of this vocabulary again and again and again!

 

And now for the 'Flash Card' idea. Flash cards try and get you to associate an image with vocabulary by using cards with vocabulary and images printed on them (digital or real paper cards). But what if you created a Flash Card system for your mind without the cards? This is the method that I spoke about in the "Visualization and Vocabulary" section of this course. The idea is to try and imagine mental pictures for every word that you read. So, when reading these 'travel' articles, you need to imagine mental images for each word that you read, and after every paragraph you need to see the 'big picture' in your mind, and after reading the whole article you need to see that 'bigger picture' in your mind. You need to see a kind of "movie of the situation" in your mind.

 

When you see these words  repeating again and again throughout the article and other articles (natural Spaced Repetition), and when you create mental pictures for all the vocabulary that you read, you are performing your own Flash Card and Spaced Repetition System but everything is within your mind. There is no need for software or paper cards. Just keep reading and reading and reading, and imagining pictures for every word. This is the best way to build your vocabulary in a natural, enjoyable way, in my opinion.

 

Step six:

Now choose another topic from your list and repeat the process ;)

 

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