Memory Techniques

So many people believe that they don’t have an ear for languages. That they are not one of those lucky few that can spend time in the company of foreigners, or in our African Languages region, and magically just pick up that language and start understanding what the locals are saying.

But, in the words of Benny Lewis, Irish author and polyglot:

“It turns out, there is no language-learning gene, but there are tools and tricks for faster learning…”

Learning by story-telling is one of these tools.

When you learn something new, your brain has to create new pathways for the new information. The more the information is repeated, the stronger the pathways and the better you’ll remember. The same is true for the reverse effect. No repeating, and those pathways will eventually disintegrate.

Some pathways have been so established in our brains that they are impossible to forget. For example: eating, walking, talking, familiar smells and sounds. These are all things that we’ve learned throughout our lives. Physical things like the layout of your house and your mother’s face are also grinded into your memory over time.

The idea of memory training is to now take these already familiar memories, things that you can’t possibly forget, and make new connections with them. Learning by association.

For example, you take the layout of your house (which is also referred to as a memory palace) and dump new information on your living room table:

Imagine… your mother is sitting at the table with a soda can in her hand, and as you enter the room, she says to you: “there’s a star IN the CAN YES, SEE?” This happens to sound a lot like the Zulu word for star: inkanyezi.

Here’s everything that might be familiar to you in this scenario, even though the sentence that your mother speaks is new:

Walking / walking into the dining room
Your mother sitting at a table
Your mother drinking something
Your mother talking
Maybe even a specific soda can

Most of these things might bring up some kind of memory for you. A memory that you might not ever think about or even realise you have, but NEVER underestimate the power of the subconscious mind!

Adding new information to already existing neuro pathways leads to effective memory of whatever you are learning.

Keeping this in mind, without repetition of the new information, the new pathways might still disintegrate with time, since they have not been fully established as an association. For this reason, and specific to this program, we require that you repeat the new information, which is a 2 minute story, every day. By the end of the week, when you are presented with a new lesson, the previous information will be stored.

Benefits

Why learn an African language (or any other language for that matter!)?

  1. Better communication between co-workers, employees and employers
  2. Better client relations
  3. Learning and showing respect for other cultures
  4. Better communication between children in and outside of schools
  5. More job opportunities for children
  6. Your brain physically grows in size
  7. Improves concentration
  8. You’ll become a more conscious thinker and listener
  9. Your brain makes over 10 000 new connections when learning a new skill
  10. Improve your mental creativity and flexibility
  11. Lower the risk of brain aging
  12. Excellent exercise for memory
  13. Greater general intelligence
  14. Change the structure of your brain to function more efficiently
  15. Change the structure of your brain to function with better integration
  16. Allows for more brain flexibility and faster learning
  17. Learning by association and understanding develops important cognitive skills
  18. You’ll be able to better deal with life experiences, because of cognitive skill development
  19. Better concept formation
  20. Better multi-tasking skills
  21. Better problem solving skills
  22. Improve children’s (or your own) test scores in general
  23. Encourage better connections between peers
  24. Give a competitive edge to job seekers
  25. Increased attention span
  26. Better reading comprehension skills
  27. Improves your first and second languages – while learning grammar, we are more focused on grammar in general
  28. Delay the start of Dementia
  29. Zulu is the most spoken language in South Africa (Zulu, then Xhosa, Afrikaans and English are 4th on the list)
  30. More accurate info than conveyed in a second or third language
  31. Appreciate our country’s diversity
  32. Break down cultural barriers
  33. The younger the child, the easier they absorb new information (Before age 7, all children operate from the subconscious mind only! Taking more information in than after age 7.)

Just in case you didn’t read through the whole list, that is 33 reasons why it is extremely beneficial to learn a new language!!!

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