Do you want to be TEFL or TESOL-certified and teach in Xiqiao Zhen? Are you interested in teaching English in Chifeng Shi? Check out ITTT’s online and in-class courses, Become certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language and start teaching English ONLINE or abroad! ITTT offers a wide variety of Online TEFL Courses and a great number of opportunities for English Teachers and for Teachers of English as a Second Language.
Are Flashcards an effective way to learn a new language? How do they work? How are they used as classroom activities? Flashcards are cards with pictures or words on one side with an associated answer on the other side used to aid in memorization, reinforcing understanding and retaining details. Whether to learn new vocabulary, language phrases or sentence structures, they are an excellent tool for teaching and learning English as a second language through repetition. Flashcards became popular to use as a learning tool in the 1800s by the pioneer Joseph Lancaster with his book, Improvements in Education, published in 1805. Flashcards were created for students who couldn’t afford books and allowed them to learn concepts on their own time outside of the overcrowded classroom. The use of flashcards have many benefits for the language learner. For one thing they are easy to make yourself and relatively affordable to buy. Once you have them they can be used at any time and can be reused multiple times. They can be gamified and used as a fun activity and they help encourage repetition of difficult words or concepts. But how do they work? Flashcards engage a mental faculty known as active recall. The act of looking at one side of the card to think of the answer, then revealing the true answer, creates a strong neuron connection in your memory. Testing yourself multiple times until you can recall the answers correctly uses the principal of confidence-based repetition and scientific research shows it to be an effective way to improve memory. (The owner’s manual for the brain. The ultimate guide to peak mental performance at all ages by Pierce J. Howard, Ph.D.) Teachers can use giant flashcards in classroom activities. There are free online resources of flashcards you can download and print on a printer. (Just Google search, Flashcards for English.) The flashcard telephone game can be used to review sentence structures and tenses in the English language. Divide the students into two teams and have them stand in two lines facing the board. Whisper a sentence to the two students at the back of each line. The student at the back of the line whispers the sentence to the student in front of them. This is repeated until the sentence has traveled to the front of the line. The student at the front of the line must reassemble the correct sentence via a set of flashcards. When the sentence is correct the student at the front of the line moves to the back of the line and the process is repeated until all of one team has completed a sentence to win the game. Another fun flashcard activity is the Use It In A Sentence board game. Place a series of giant flashcards around a big circle in the room starting with a start card and ending with a finish card. Each student rolls a die and the card must be answered correctly to land on that card. If they are incorrect they stay where they are. Each student takes a turn until one reaches finish. Some simpler activities for younger students include What Do You See. The teacher holds up a flashcard and the student has to identify the correct answer. The correct card is passed to all the kids to repeat the answer. The Fast As You Can game has a pair of students in front of 5 cards on the board. The students must place their hand on the word the teacher calls out first. The Spin the Bottle Game has students sitting around a circle with a bottle to spin in the middle of the group. The teacher spins the bottle and the student who it points to must answer a flashcard correctly. The winner gets to spin the bottle next. With repeated use, flashcards can be a fun and an effective way to learn new concepts and words for the student learning English in and outside of the classroom. Flashcards may have a reputation for being boring or juvenile but when used correctly they have been found to improve language memorization and usage for students of all ages.