Have you ever heard about spaced repetition system? We all know the well-known saying “repetition is the mother of learning”. This proverb is so familiar from childhood that sometimes you stop perceiving its meaning, but the secret of the successful mastery of any foreign language lies in that. This is how our memory is built – in order to consolidate the material you’ve learned, you need to repeat it with a fraction of the frequency.
A striking example of the benefits of spaced repetition – learning children. Introducing a child to a new subject, an adult repeats its name several times. If parents decided in early childhood to accustom their children to accuracy, we will have to repeatedly remind them that things after a walk should be hung in the closet and toys should be put away immediately after the game. A student can achieve a great result only through repetition .
Therefore, when studying foreign languages to be guided by similar principles – the more often there is repetition of new material, the more likely it will be remembered and you will be able to use it in a conversation later.
What does spaced repetition mean while learning a language?
A technique called spaced repetition asks the learner to recall a certain word or phrase in a foreign language, with the time intervals becoming longer between repetitions.
What are spaced repetition steps
In simple words, the step-by-step instructions for using spaced repetition are as follows:
- Sign up for a flashcards app which uses the interval repetition system.
- Turn your vocabulary words into flashcards.
- Train yourself by learning flashcards in a game-like form.
- Do it every day or every 2 days.
Rest assured that by following these 4 simple steps, you will definitely get closer to possessing the needed vocabulary.
Peculiarities of voluntary memory in learning foreign languages
Voluntary memory is a volitional process, directed at remembering the necessary information. That is, the development of voluntary memory will be more active only when the person himself will be interested in remembering.
The best way to remember and retain material in memory is to analyze the text, to make sense of it. This is how information from short-term memory is transferred to long-term memory. These two types of memory differ from each other in the duration of retention of information.
In short-term memory material is retained as long as the person is consciously paying attention to it. For example, solving a problem, writing a dictation, writing down a phone number. After that the information disappears from memory after about 30 seconds.
In long-term memory, after meaningful processing, information can be stored for a lifetime.
Memory begins with memorization. Memorization is the process of ensuring that material is stored in memory and played back in the future. Memorization is divided into mechanical (repetition) and semantic (parsing, understanding, study). For example, the study of new foreign words, and subsequently the composition of the studied words with sentences and associative series, allows you to better remember new foreign words. Simple and repeated memorization of new words already shows mechanical learning.
The Leitner spaced repetition system
Sebastian Leitner, a German research scientist, developed the Leitner system in the 1970s, a widely used approach to the effective use of flashcards. It simply applies the idea of interval repetition, where the level of card knowledge is assessed at progressively longer intervals.
According to how well each flashcard in the Leitner Learning Box is known by the learner, groupings of flashcards are created using this manner. Students make an effort to remember the card’s written answer. If they are successful, they hand the card to the next group. If they are unsuccessful, they return it to the initial group. The time before the learner must consult the cards becomes longer with each succeeding group. The repetition schedule was decided by the size of the dividers in the study box in Leitner’s original approach, which was described in his book “How to Learn to Learn” (originally “So lernt man Lernen”). 1, 2, 5, 8, and 14 cm were involved. The learner may only examine part of the cards in the partition when it was completely filled, shifting them forward or backward based on whether he had learned them.
Carnegie’s rules of remembering
Dale Carnegie, the famous American scientist in the psychology, distinguishes 3 laws of remembering:
- Impression. To get a vivid impression of what you intend to remember, you must focus on the material you are studying at the moment. Anything going on around you at the moment should not be distracting.
- Repetition. Repetition of information at intervals of 15 minutes will yield better results than repeating the entire text until it is fixed in your memory without interruption. To finally master the text, read it again before speaking.
- Associations. It’s easy to remember a fact if you associate it with another fact you know. For example, an e-mail password coincides with some significant date.
When memorizing material, not only repetition is important, but comprehension as well. Memorization without comprehension will do little good. When learning a foreign language, try to have a meaningful approach to memorizing new words and rules.
By the way, we’ve already discussed in detail cramming upon learning a foreign language before. Don’t miss this article!
Why is it important to repeat what you’ve learned
One of the main tasks when learning a foreign language is to constantly expand your vocabulary and be able to apply it in practice. That is necessary not just blind memorization, but also an analysis of when you can use certain phrases and words.
Eight reasons for repetition:
- develops memory;
- concentrates attention on the studied object;
- knowledge is deepened;
- the acquired information can be systematized;
- the knowledge is checked;
- language skills are brought to automatism;
- the necessary information is firmly remembered;
- uncomprehending places are identified.
5 Tips: How to memorize foreign words better
In order to make the process of learning a foreign language easier, try to adhere to a certain periodicity and consistency. Some basic tips for learning a foreign language include:
- Study the language every day – it is better to give 15 minutes every day than 1 hour once a week.
- Learn new words thematically. You need to group new words and phrases by topics, so that their assimilation is easy.
- When learning new words, try to pick up synonyms and antonyms to form a series of related words.
- If some words are difficult for you to remember, make associations and associative sequences.
- Try to use the new studied words in small stories, in conversations.
The interval repetition method used by Langavia Personal Dictionary is simpler and considerably more user-friendly for students.It is highly challenging to follow precise rules of ‘classic’ spaced repetition system. To learn words, all you have to do is use Langavia app once a day for 15 to 30 minutes to go over all the words you’re learning through game-based practice.