Have you ever said any of these things to yourself?
- “I can’t do this”
- “It’s too difficult”
- “I’ll never remember this”
- “It’s impossible”
- “I’ll never be able to speak fluently”
- “Oops I haven’t studied English since last month!”
You’re not alone and it’s not your fault!
Learning English isn’t easy. It requires effort and commitment but all we need to do to make it easier is understand our own amazing brain!
So why do we not learn about this at school?
Well the good news is that some teachers are teaching their students about their amazing brains and using strategies to help them learn more effectively and efficiently.
It’s called brain-based learning!
But don’t worry, you don’t have to go back to school to unlock the power of your brain.
A Neurolanguage Coach (and a little bit obsessed with the brain) I’m always on the lookout for fellow “brain geeks” and I recently had the pleasure of talking to Fanest Coronado, a neuro educational specialist.
Fanest currently works as an English teacher and brain-based learning teacher trainer. She designs cognitive programmes to develop memory and address attention problems.
We talked about memory, strategies and healthy habits to keep your brain happy and open to learning!
Here are some of those things we discussed:
5 things you need to know to learn smarter (more efficiently and more effectively)
1. We need to create the right conditions for learning
It’s important to create the right environment: lighting, temperature…
It’s important that your body and mind are in the right condition: have a good diet, keep hydrated, get enough sleep, rest, exercise…
2. There’s no such thing as a bad memory (well that is good news!)
We just need to understand how our memory works and use strategies that help us remember and learn better.
Engaging our different senses and including auditory, visual, and hands-on learning experiences can help us process information more deeply.
Incorporating movement can help to keep our brain happy and improve learning.
Taking breaks to stretch or do a quick movement activity, can help to keep us focused and engaged!
Stories (real or invented) help us attach emotion to words and make them more meaningful and therefore remember them better.
3. We need to create healthy language learning habits.
Apart from a good diet, enough sleep, exercise etc we need to have a system. We need to design a language learning plan.
Setting goals and breaking things down into smaller action steps helps us keep focused and be consistent. Making small changes and maintaining good habits will lead us to great results (with patience)
Knowing what we want to achieve and how we’re going to do that keeps our brain very happy!
4. We need to practise self-awareness and reflection
Reflection is an important aspect of brain-based learning, as it helps us to process and retain information. Reflection on what we have learned through writing, discussion, or other activities can help us deepen our understanding of the material.
And we should be aware when we need to take a break or a “brain pause.” This could be as simple as going for a 5 minute walk to clear our head or stopping our activities to have a drink of water (usually tea in my case!)
Or maybe we just need to change our focus and do a more relaxing activity or to shake things up and do something more energizing!
It’s all about being more self-aware and recognising our needs!
5. We can change things when they’re not working
From neuroscience we know now that our brain is “plastic” That means it’s capable of learning new things and new ways of doing things (at all ages) We just need to change our mindset first!
Brain-based learning can help us to learn more effectively and efficiently to get results and enjoy the learning process to be our best English self!
Watch the full interview with Fanest here for lots more insights about how we can unlock the power of our brain to make us better learners.
Happy Smarter Learning! (HSLx)
PS if you want more advice, tips and strategies related to learning English smarter, sign up for my YES mails
✓ Tips and strategies for learning English smarter
✓ News about events happening in the YES community (some are free!)
✓ Advice about language learning through stories and anecdotes. You’ll learn what to do (and not to do!) to become an amazing language learner (You’ll also learn about life in rural Galicia, “meet” my neighbours: a donkey and some goats, my family, my pets and many more colourful characters…)