Mnemonics are an effective strategy for students with problems retaining information.

We have a teacher-created visual mnemonic device to help students remember when to use the subjunctive in Spanish, a common challenge for the level III learner. This mnemonic incorporates the subjunctive verbs ("weirdo" verbs) and trigger phrases: Captain Weirdo.doc (created by student teacher Jennifer Kenison, College of William and Mary's School of Education, 2001).

This blog entry presents a way to remember how to use the Spanish verbs ser and estar, another common challenge for the beginning learner.


Also, students with listening challenges can be helped by the teacher's use of visuals so that students are receiving the content input both a visual format and an auditory format at the same time. One basic instructional idea is to use picture cards as you are speaking, giving students a visual reference for the word that they are hearing. This helps create a link between the visual and auditory input, and also makes the presentation more engaging for students.

This article, "Vocabulary-Learning Strategies of Foreign-Language Students," by Michael J. Lawson and Donald Hogben, published in the March 1996 edition of Language Learning, presents research on the use of context to help students retain new vocabulary.


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