Humans are sensory beings. Sensory stimuli could make an indelible impression on us when perceived through our five senses. Unfortunately, when it comes to language learning, what we learn is composed of words, symbols which (to most people) do not smell or look in any way special. Nor does it make as many beautiful and soul-touching sounds as music. Thankfully, there are things that we can do to engage our senses better even when learning English.
How to engage our sense of sight:
For one thing, We can definitely take advantage of our sense of sight to help us acquire new vocabulary. For words that you don’t know yet: Find by google-searching images of words that you do not know yet. Guess the meaning of the word after the search. After that confirm your guess by checking a dictionary. For words that you know already: Create a picture quiz for yourself. Time yourself while finishing it to consolidate your knowledge of English words you have newly acquired.
How to engage our sense of touch:
Children learn about everything that comes their way by having a touch of it. Adults can often forget that they can do so as well. Only that when they have to do this in the reverse way when learning a language. Whatever you have touched in a day, ask yourself whether you know how to say them in English. If you know how to say them, recalling would be good practice for consolidation. If you don’t, look them up using Google’s image search!
How to engage our sense of hearing:
For many English learners, the only time when they listen to English is when they have English lessons. Some parents go a great distance to make sure that only native English speakers teach their kids so that they listen to nothing but English during class. But the thing is, English lessons take up a pathetically small portion of most learners’ schedule. Only listening to English during English lessons is hardly giving our brains and ears enough exposure to English for us to learn a second language well. As a remedy, be proactive and make it a practice to listen to English like it was music whenever you’re on the commute or working on tasks that require little attention and can make room for multi-tasking. Your brains do not only learn when it is consciously doing so. It’s still observing, analysing and storing away data while you’re not conscious of these processes.
How to engage our sense of smell:
This one is straightforward. Apart from walking into a perfume shop and looking at their list of ingredients, take the time to figure out how to describe smells. Find out the words that English speakers use to describe smells. Ask yourself, what does basil smell like? And what does parsley smell like? Have difficulties figuring these out? Read cookery books and watch cookery shows such as that featuring master chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, and Gordon Ramsey. Relate smells to smells; smells to words. What smells like rotten eggs? What smells pungent? What smells like the soap you use? What smells like lavender? The knowledge you have newly acquired can always be consolidated by frequently reinforcing the associations you have made between smells.
And I hope you understand, after reading the humble advice we have on offer here, that just staring at a textbook won’t help you learn a language. Living a life and keeping asking yourself questions and noticing new things to learn every day, however, will do it.