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Friday, February 18, 2011

Music and Language Learning

This morning I watched a very interesting tv programme on music therapy in NZ. It was amazing to see the kids who are obviously benefiting from music therapy and to listen to their teachers, parents, therapists talking about the change music has made to their lives. Truly inspirational!
I've always thought there's huge potential in music assisting in the learning of languages. Either as a way of relaxation and 'fine-tuning' with the tones, intonation and rhythm of a language or as a help in learning vocabulary, grammar structures, etc, through lyrics. It works both ways, I think.
I know of a couple of research projects currently in progress which are looking at the relationship between musci and language learning and there certainly must be more. I will be looking for them. In the meanwhile I have found these two articles which are both interesting and inspiring:

Does music help us learn language
Best music to listen while studying

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Rote learn /memorize or not?

Here is some food for thought - whether we need to rote learn or not? Memorize or not? A nicer way to call it may be learning by heart . Does it help with learning a language? Why? Why not? Does leaning poems by heart help learning other things? It may be, although many educators will say it doesn't have anything with creativity or can even supress the creativity... But, how come kids love nursery rhymes so much and remember them for the whole life? We all do, don't we? Learning by heart may be a kind of training for our brains - although it seems we tend to neglect the importance of training our brains as there's more and more stuff around ready to be used instantaneously, just to spoon feed us...
Here is an interesting article, and comments as well.

Rote memorization: Overrated, or underrated?