Learning New Vocabulary of a Second Language

2020 study of children (aged around 8 years) in Germany learning new vocabulary (nouns) in English.

Gesture and picture enrichment strategies were tested systematically using large sample sizes of children in an applied, naturalistic school environment. 

Gesture enrichment improved children’s ability to translate new vocabulary, compared with non-enriched learning. These benefits were present immediately following the training and persisted up to 2 to 6 months after training had ended. 

Gesture enrichment was, however, not more beneficial than picture enrichment in terms of language retention. 

The study concludes that self-performed gestures and pictorial forms of enrichment may serve as equally beneficial strategies for the learning of foreign language vocabulary in primary school contexts. 

Conventional primary school teaching strategies such as listening to verbal material may therefore be improved by implementing pictures or gestures into vocabulary learning.

See full study here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10648-020-09527-z

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