06 – The ESL / EFL student brain and how we learn – Stephen van Vlack

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MOT 6 - brain 1400

As teachers, we need to be aware of how students are learning. Different brain systems need to work together in order to retain information and, most importantly, integrate it into existing systems. So, what is the best approach for teachers to give the best chance for students to improve? Stephen van Vlack slices open the brain (metaphorically) to show us how the different brain systems interact and the most effective ways for students to improve.

This is one of the more difficult subjects we’ve tackled on MOT, but Stephen breaks it down into an understandable view of how information and perception affects language learning and retention.

This is a slimmed down version of the full interview. To hear an extra 8 minutes (I say 15 minutes on the show, but it’s not that long!), including how learning an L2 affects L1, click here. Absolutely free. I’m so good to you…

Be cool and subscribe on iTunes or your podcast catcher of choice, and get the episodes without lifting a finger (more than once!).



Some terms used in this episode:

L1 / L2 – Language 1 (native / first language), Language 2 (second/additional language)

SLA – Second Language Aquisition


Stephan van Vlack’s page

Teaching with the brain in mind – Jenson – on Amazon

A Users Guide to the Brain – Ratey – on Amazon

Learning: Principles and Applications – Klein – on Amazon


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