Oink, oink makes the pig

May 13, 2020

Foreign language teaching in primary schools literally opens up new worlds for primary school children: with a large portion of curiosity, willingness to learn and impartiality, they encounter not only new languages but also new cultures. Early foreign language teaching takes advantage of the special learning conditions at this age. It is therefore all the more important that the learned content is permanently anchored in the children's memory and not only available for a short time.

In a recent study, a team of neuroscientists at TU Dresden, in cooperation with researchers from the Universities of Leipzig and Linz, has shown that the use of gestures and pictures leads to an improvement in the learning performance of primary school children in foreign language teaching.

The study was conducted with eight-year-olds at a primary school in Leipzig. In several experiments, the children learned new English vocabulary for 20 minutes per day on five consecutive days. They learned the words while viewing pictures (sensory enrichment), performing gestures (sensorimotor enrichment), or by listening only (no enrichment). The children's knowledge of the new vocabulary was tested eight days, two months, and six months after the learning period.

Neuroscientist Katharina von Kriegstein and her team found that both looking at pictures and performing gestures improved the children's memory of English vocabulary compared to pure listening comprehension, and that this improvement continued for six months after the learning week. "Based on previous studies conducted with adults, we actually thought that sensorimotor enrichment (performing gestures) would help the children even more over the long-term than sensory-only enrichment (viewing pictures). Unexpectedly, however, we found that pictures and gestures were equally helpful for children's foreign language learning, even six months after the learning week. This means that the types of enrichment that work for adults may not necessarily work for kids," explains the Professor of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience at TU Dresden.

Dr. Brian Mathias adds "Enrichment teaching strategies may work because they allow learners to experience the meanings of words through multiple senses, and with their own bodies. Positive effects of enrichment for the children in this study were surprisingly robust in that they lasted six months following a minimal amount of vocabulary exposure. Moreover, gestures and pictures enhanced children's memory not only for foreign language words whose meanings are more concrete such as "newspaper" and "monument," but also for words whose meanings are rather abstract such as "innocence" or "recommendation"."
-end-
Original publication:

Andrä, C., Mathias, B., Schwager, A., Macedonia, M. and von Kriegstein, K.: Learning Foreign Language Vocabulary with Gestures and Pictures Enhances Vocabulary Memory for Several Months Post-Learning in Eight-Year-Old School Children. Educational Psychology Review (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-020-09527-z

Media inquiries:

Prof. Katharina von Kriegstein
Chair of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience
Email: katharina.von_kriegstein@tu-dresden.de

Dr. Brian Mathias
Chair of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience
Email: brian.mathias@tu-dresden.de

Technische Universität Dresden

Related Memory Articles from Brightsurf:

Memory of the Venus flytrap
In a study to be published in Nature Plants, a graduate student Mr.

Memory protein
When UC Santa Barbara materials scientist Omar Saleh and graduate student Ian Morgan sought to understand the mechanical behaviors of disordered proteins in the lab, they expected that after being stretched, one particular model protein would snap back instantaneously, like a rubber band.

Previously claimed memory boosting font 'Sans Forgetica' does not actually boost memory
It was previously claimed that the font Sans Forgetica could enhance people's memory for information, however researchers from the University of Warwick and the University of Waikato, New Zealand, have found after carrying out numerous experiments that the font does not enhance memory.

Memory boost with just one look
HRL Laboratories, LLC, researchers have published results showing that targeted transcranial electrical stimulation during slow-wave sleep can improve metamemories of specific episodes by 20% after only one viewing of the episode, compared to controls.

VR is not suited to visual memory?!
Toyohashi university of technology researcher and a research team at Tokyo Denki University have found that virtual reality (VR) may interfere with visual memory.

The genetic signature of memory
Despite their importance in memory, the human cortex and subcortex display a distinct collection of 'gene signatures.' The work recently published in eNeuro increases our understanding of how the brain creates memories and identifies potential genes for further investigation.

How long does memory last? For shape memory alloys, the longer the better
Scientists captured live action details of the phase transitions of shape memory alloys, giving them a better idea how to improve their properties for applications.

A NEAT discovery about memory
UAB researchers say over expression of NEAT1, an noncoding RNA, appears to diminish the ability of older brains to form memories.

Molecular memory can be used to increase the memory capacity of hard disks
Researchers at the University of Jyväskylä have taken part in an international British-Finnish-Chinese collaboration where the first molecule capable of remembering the direction of a magnetic above liquid nitrogen temperatures has been prepared and characterized.

Memory transferred between snails
Memories can be transferred between organisms by extracting ribonucleic acid (RNA) from a trained animal and injecting it into an untrained animal, as demonstrated in a study of sea snails published in eNeuro.

Read More: Memory News and Memory Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.