The ways to increase sensory and long-term memory for English learning

G’day, how are things going mate? Today, I am going to talk about the ways to increase sensory and long-term memory for English learning. Unfortunately, there is no miracle here. So, your dedication, continuation and perseverance are the key to sucess. However, I can give you some tips how you should do. Let’s get into it.

First of all, when you encounter new words, you start repeating them verbally, and typing them up (Repeating and Dictating over and over again)

What you should do is to boost your sensory memory before short-term or long-term memory, because without having a good sensory memory, you can’t effectively increase your long-term memory. Simply because, sensory memory is indispensable to understanding and retaining what a speaker is saying before you respond. So, pretty much everyone is unconsciously using this memory skill. So, you listen first, and then you retain the word and repeat almost immediately, but no at the same time. A bit of time lag between what a speaker says and what you repeat is needed to train. Shadowing requires a different skill, not using any working memory.

And, then after getting used to repeating the word you listened, you start dictating the word over and over again. In this tech era, I don’t suggest writing it down on your note, rather typing it up is absolutely fine. It’s not only an environmentally-friendly way, but it’s also beneficial for today’s tech society. Dictation is completely different from shadowing, precisely because dictation requires you to use your sensory working memory to reconstruct things what a speaker said, whereas shadowing requires imitation skills. So, even if you don’t know spelling, pronunciation, the meaning of words, you can still do it, because you’re just chasing the speaker at the same time. In contrast, you have to increase your sensory working memory to do dictation.

After getting accustomed to repeating and dictating words, you use them for self-talk in three days, not the same day

You start using the words you repeated and dictated three days ago as a self-talk. You set up a self-talk topic, something like ‘transport’, and then you kind of forcefully use them. But if you’re not sure what to say, then the best solution to it is to just explain the word in a simple way. Like, if your new word is ‘illiteracy’, then you’d say, ‘Ok so illiteracy’ is like the opposite to the meaning of literacy, literacy implies the importance of having the ability to write and read as well as understand today’s technology such as computer. Something like computer literacy’. How simple is that? You don’t need to use any fancy, complicated expression, and the simplest is the best to remember new words, but you will surely forget in a few days, because at the moment, you are remembering words using still your short-term memory, which still won’t last long time.

You restart using the words you used three days ago for your self-talk in six days

Before you kind of nearly forget about the words you used three days ago, you want to make sure you get used to the words in your brain storage. To this end, simply you need to review the words before forgetting. But the point is that you need to have six days time lag compared to the time you did self-talk. This is critical to increasing your long-term memory. Frequency is the key, so ideally you use them everyday, but you want to learn many new words day by day, so it’s hard. People have the limitation to memorise things a day. Even if you think I can remember heaps a day, that’s still your sensory to short-term memory, so you’ll definitely forget them in a few days, or even the following day. That’s why it’s important to keep such a time lag between you did use them and you’ll reuse them for self-talk, first in three days and then six days.

And you proceed to the final stage, which is re-using the words after two weeks

Finally, you almost remember the words you’ve been using over the last couple of days, but there will still be a handful possibility for you to forget them. In order not to do so, you reuse them in about two weeks after you used for self-talk. Ok, that’s what I do normally. This frequency does work the best personally, and it may apply to pretty much everyone, I suppose.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading!

Cheers mate.

Published by Masato Kawaguchi

I am an English entrepreneur here in Australia. I've been teaching the PTE exam for the last 2 years or so, now mainly general English online.

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