Brain-based Research:
Strengthening Learning and Memory

Sarah Lynn 2013.1.1 Sarah Lynn

“If you’re just engaging in mechanical repetition,
it’s true, you quickly hit the limit of what you can retain.
However, if you practice elaboration,
there’s no known limit to how much you can learn.”
~ Brown, Roediger, McDaniel (2014)

Elaboration is essential for you to commit new learning to memory. Elaboration is when you explain new information in your own words. Once you begin to add examples and details, or make connections to other experiences and knowledge, you are enriching the new learning and making it more memorable and more  transferrable to new contexts.

Thinking Please wait

Elaboration involves the thinking strategies of paraphrasing, summarizing, creating analogies, answering questions, and describing connections. Elaboration activates the frontal lobe of your brain and brings your new learning to a higher level of awareness and articulation. Continue reading

Advantages of Using Technology in Language Teaching:
Learning Management Systems

As teachers we have two skill sets that we’re continuously trying to revise and adapt and improve.

The first of these is what I call “presence”. That is, the ability to deliver instruction in real time, to engage with the students, to interact with the students, to listen, to respond––to deliver instruction in ways that make sense in that particular context. Continue reading

Microlearning and MyEnglishLabs

SCAD Language Studio ? Professor Christina Cavage, Human Resources headshot, Fall 2013 ? Photography by Stephanie Krell, courtesy of SCADChristina Cavage

Why FLIP, or blend face-to-face learning, with digital learning? Well, the reasons are numerous. Many I have outlined here in the previous months. Moving some content outside of the classroom allows us more flexibility in the classroom. Additionally, it allows our classrooms to go back to a collaborative, communicative, rich language environment. However, it also allows our students to microlearn.

What is microlearning? While the term may seem new to you, the concept is not. Students learn best when content is presented in small chunks. Think of YouTube and Khan Academy. The success of these sites speaks directly to their appeal to digital natives—learning in bite-sized pieces for those ever-dwindling attention spans for traditional lectures. Recent research indicates that exposing students to new content in small doses is the most effective for learners today. Yet, while traditional learning methods are decreasing, media consumption is rapidly increasing for learners of all ages. Thus, the success of Khan Academy and TedEd. So, what about our ESL learners? How can we provide more microlearning for them? Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Fact Check & Idioms Fun

Bill Bliss Photo 2014Bill Bliss

True or False?
Can your students answer these true-or-false statements? Have them correct the false sentences and rewrite them as true facts.

1. We celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 15.
2. Two common colors of Valentine’s Day cards are green and blue.
3. Post offices and banks are closed on Valentine’s Day because it’s a national holiday.
4. A heart is a common symbol of Valentine’s Day.
5. A popular gift to give someone on Valentine’s Day is a long-stemmed carrot.
6. Another popular gift to give someone on Valentine’s Day is a box of candles.
7. Presidents’ Day is a U.S. holiday in February that occurs before Valentine’s Day.
8. Cupid is a fictional character we associate with love and Valentine’s Day.
9. Many people like to go to a restaurant for breakfast in the evening on Valentine’s Day.



Online Dictionaries Now Available


You know how valuable Longman learner dictionaries are. Now your students can get even more vocabulary and word practice by getting online access to the following Longman dictionaries:

  • Longman Study Dictionary of American English
  • Longman Dictionary of American English
  • Longman Advanced American Dictionary
  • Longman Thesaurus of American English

Even better, the online dictionaries let students use them anytime, anywhere.

Students can buy access codes (PIN codes) for one year or four years of online access. For one year the price is just $10.00 and for four years it is only $20.00.

The online dictionaries contain:

  • the complete contents of the print dictionary
  • pronunciation of all headwords and the example sentences
  • Longman Vocabulary Trainer
  • interactive skills practice

Your students can go to and purchase access to the online dictionaries in minutes. Credit cards and PayPal are accepted.

Once a student completes the transaction, the access code (PIN code) is emailed to the student, usually within five minutes.