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The Neuroscience of Language Learning


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“Language” and “learning” – two functions of the brain at the core of our profession. For centuries all we knew about how the brain does either was based on speculation. But not anymore. Now we can look inside a living brain and actually see how the brain operates. What we are finding can reshaping the way we think about language teaching: We know that the brain does sensory simulations to make meaning from language; we know that our brains, being prediction machines, have developed grammar as a tool to reduce cognitive load; we know that our brains are designed to work best when they work in concert with other brains; and we know that it is physiological impossible to learn something that has no emotional valence. Some of these discoveries are jaw-dropping, some just reinforce our intuitions, but all have the potential to make you a better teacher. Join us in our easy-to-understand course and find out if you are doing the right thing.

Dr. Curtis Kelly (EdD.) founder of the JALT Mind, Brain, and Education SIG, and producer of the MindBrainEd Think Tanks, has written over 30 books and given over 500 presentations. He was also a Teaching Fellow in Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa’s (Harvard) Neuroscience of Learning Course. His life mission is “to relieve the suffering of the classroom.”

Stephen M. Ryan is busy learning about his students so he can teach them better, at Sanyo Gakuen University. He has worked on the Mind, Brain, and Education Think Tank team for the last six years and is eager to make use of what he has learnt when working with his students; and to spread the word through his writing and presentations.

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