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Visual memory in learning English

No doubt that visual memory plays an important role in learning. It makes things easier to remember and it’s even more effective when we talk about kids.

Here, in Vietnam, and probably in many other places in Asia, everybody wants to learn speaking and listening; nobody really wants to learn writing or reading. You might say that I am wrong. Vietnamese learners of English write a lot and they are good at writing. Well, that’s not really true. They just copy from the board and fulfill their notebooks without rational.

However, let’s get back to visual memory! Now I am not talking about visual aids use in learning (such as pictures), I am talking about writing and reading and their importance in learning process.

I have conducted a test among my friends and my coworkers (18 people in total have been tested, all teachers of English, one British, two Americans, one German, my wife and thirteen Vietnamese teachers of English).

I told them that I am going to tell them a Romanian word and I want them to listen very carefully and repeat. I have told them the word “lucrat” and they were all able to pronounce it quite well. After three repetitions I asked them to write the word on a piece of paper. They wrote it wrong but I correct the mistakes and I asked them to write it again correctly.

I didn’t stopped here. The second word was “facut” and after they listen to me, they were able to reproduce pretty good pronunciation. This time I didn’t ask them to write the word on paper. We just repeated the word three times without writing it down.

Nobody knew the purpose of this Romanian language mini-lesson and they all asked me what was it about. I told them that the answer will come a little bit later and we continued our conversation unrelated to English language or teaching English. As soon as we stopped the Romanian language mini-lesson, they forgot about it.

The following day I met them again and I asked them if they could remember the first word, the word that I asked them to write on the paper. Surprisingly, all of them could remember the word very well. They wrote the word again and they pronounced it again very well.

The situation is completely different when we talk about the second word, the word that I didn’t ask them to write on the paper. Except two Vietnamese teachers of English nobody could remember the second word. They said that they could remember the first word because they remember the spelling and my corrections regarding to their spelling mistakes. They also said that they forgot the second word very soon after we finished the mini-lesson.
So, as you can see, the visual memory played an important role in remembering the words. I let you draw the conclusion!


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