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Speak Italian Magically and spaced learning

Scritto da speakitalianmagically.com il 16 novembre 2010

Making MindsWhat is spaced learning? Have you ever heard of it? Do you practice it? If your answer if no, what could it be? Whether you know spaced learning already or not, say or write the first things that come into your mind now.

Have you done it?

I think you already know that the brain learns in layers, that is why it is good to be exposed to the same input in different ways: from the big picture to the detail is usually best.   But what about revising the material? When should you revise it?

Now, I can tell you about spaced and my experience with it. I’ve always known that to make something stick in your long term memory you need to revise it and repeat it. But when? Let’s say that you listen to an episode of Speak Italian Magically, when should you revise it again?

A couple of years ago, when I first read  Tony Buzan’s books I discovered about spaced repetition.  Basically he talks about the five-times repetition formula. He says that you should revise:

- the first time within an hour or so you’ve first read or learnt something;

- the second time the day after;

- the third time about a week later;

- the fourth one month later and

- the fifth and final six months later.

Based on this, if you listen and understand the first episode of Speak Italian Magically now at 10.36 a.m, you should:

- revise it within an hour today, 16 November 2010, that is 11.36 a.m.

- revise it tomorrow, 17 November 2010;

- revise it next week, 23 November 2010;

- revise it next month, 16 December;

- revise it after  6 months, 16 May 2011!

A couple of days ago I discovered more on the subject, by finding this website: www.spacedlearning.org.uk.

Here you find neuroscience proofs for the importance of gaps in learning.

Quoting what they wrote on the explanatory dvd:

Creating Spaced Learning
The core structure of spaced learning is based rigidly on Fields’ discoveries, with three stimulations separated by two 10-minute gaps, as follows:
- Teacher input of key facts/explanations (and therefore pathway stimulation).
- Ten-minute “break” from the input.
- Teacher input of key facts/explanations.
- Ten-minute “break” from the input.
- Teacher input of key facts/explanations.

This approach was developed by Paul Kelley and Angela Bradley and first reported in Kelley’s book, Making Minds.

[...]

The inputs containing the lesson material are separated by two 10 minute ‘breaks’ that are distractor activities.  It is important that not to stimulate the memory pathways being formed in these breaks and so an activity must be carried out which has nothing to do with what the students are learning. The most effective way of doing this is to carry out a physical activity requiring coordination, for example juggling balls. These types of activity use parts of the brain requiring balance and movement, which are not being used during the learning in the lesson. This improves the chances of the pathway being allowed to ‘rest’ and form create stronger connections.

Other types of activities to try:
Keyword games like taboo (not related to the content)
Number based games such as Sudoku
Origami
Simon says
Musical chairs
Play dough modelling”

Let’s get back to Speak Italian Magically. According to this research, if you have 40 minutes available, an example of using Speak Italian Magically is this:

1) Find a comfortable position, close your eyes and listen to the bilingual version of the Speak Italian Magically episode.

2) Distract yourself for ten minutes, doing something totally unrelated that you like (I would suggest Brain GYM;-).

3) Listent to the SAME audio again, but this time while reading the text provided.

4) Distract yourself for ten minutes, doing something totally unrelated that you really like.

5) Just read, slowly and silently, the text of the SAME episode, noticing words (highlighting, colouring and marking them) and expressions; Alternatively, find a comfortable position, close your eyes and listen to the Italian only version of the Speak Italian Magically episode.

Of course you can be creative and find new ways to Speak Italian Magically.

If you enjoyed this post, leave a comment, I would much appreciate it!

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