THE NEURO-COGNITIVE METHOD: From theory to Practice

The Neuro-cognitive Method is one of my best teaching and training methods. I have researched it in my Master's thesis, honed it over the many years of teaching english experience that I have. In this article, I am going to briefly outline the neurological principle lying behind the method, explain how the method works my the classroom environment while giving english tutoring classes (and outside), and give an example or two to ifllustrate the ideas being put forward.

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This novel teaching english method is based on one important finding in neurology, which is the science studying the human brain. Put simply, there is a neurological principle called "Use it or Lose it". This means that the language learning (or any other subject) will become successful learners if they are given multiple opportunities to review and reuse the same content from time to time, and over the entirety of a subject course. Popularly expressed as "Practice makes PERFECT," the method requires instructors and syllabus designers to ensure that there is a cyclicality built with the programme to be taught which allows to revise the content of Unit 01, for example, in Unit 05, Unit 02 in Unit 06, ...etc.

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To give but one example of how this method should be applied as an english teacher, I am going to detail how I managed to hammer 100 words into my learners of one semester. To elaborate on what I explicate above, I had had the chance of working with a select group of TOEIC trainees, and their main issue was with the Reading section of the test, i.e. vocabulary and grammar.

  • I devised a preparatory course of 40 lessons where I included ten key TOEIC vocabulary items in each of the first ten lessons,
  • I repeated the ten words of the first lesson in lessons 11; 21; 31, and the ten words of the second lesson in lessons 12; 22; 32, and so on.
  • I also made sure to use the items in question in different contexts and in seemingly grammar and reading comprehension questions as well as in listening questions.
  • At the end of the training course, there was a mock test where I tested the 100 words and, except for two learners, all other learners (8 out of 10) got the right answers for all the items tested.
  • I am sure that they have learned those 100 words and will not forget their meanings and forms any time soon.

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To conclude, I do consider this method as higly effective in achieving some specific learning goals (TOEIC vocabulary, for instance) in a relatively short time. Besides, it gives the opportunity to the learner to practise what they are learning under any of the four skills they are targeting, namely reading, writing, listening, and/or speaking.

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