It’s funny how the human brain works. It processes huge amounts of information, and makes connections between different things. For example, how would you fill in the blank in this sentence – ‘Selfish people don’t like to share their ______’? Some children may say toys, or food, or books. However, one child in an exam I was watching over this week believed that the perfect way to finish this sentence was ‘fish pie’. Why? Probably because ‘selfish’ contains the word ‘fish’. He also thought that ‘fish pie’ would be great to finish this sentence, too – ‘To be unselfish means to _______’.

Although the boy’s answer was totally strange, his story can help us when learning new words, or their spellings. For example, when I was a small girl, ‘because’ was quite a hard word to spell for me. My friends and I had a way or remembering the spelling – ‘Big Elephants Can Always Upset Small Elephants’. One of the teachers here in Indonesia had an unusual way for remembering the Indonesian words for ‘four’ and ‘six’, which are easily confused. The word for ‘four’ is ’empat’, and the word for ‘six’ is ‘enam’. She remembered which was which this way – the VietNAM wars were in the Nineteen SIXties, therefore ‘enam’ was ‘six’.

When you learn new words, what ways can you think of to help you remember them? Do they sound like something similar in your own language, or can you think of a special or silly way to remember? The human brain is amazing, and once you make one small connection, it will be hard to forget it.

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About ingwhiz

We are a couple, half English and half Indonesian. Corinne is an experienced teacher. She has taught in a well-known English school and has been a Director of Study. She has taught English to many top companies and government organisations in Indonesia. Currently, she works in an International school in Jakarta, teaching English to children. Giri has lots of experience working in many different areas of a language school, and of learning English. He knows how difficult it is! Currently he works for a leading English language school in Jakarta. We hope you find our blog useful!

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