The Science Behind EuroTalk Ltd
How you learn
To understand how EuroTalk products work, you first have to understand why some ways of learning are better than others.
Many people believe that learning should involve serious concentration and frequent repetition and follow the “no pain, no gain” school of thought. And, yes, this method does work up to a point.
But advances in scientific knowledge about how the brain works, show it’s not the best way. Neuroscience researchers have known for some time that this style of learning causes unnecessary tension and tends to involve only one half of the brain.
The best way of learning is to be relaxed yet alert to new ideas and for any new information to be presented so that it engages both the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
The left brain (which controls the right side of our bodies) is mainly logical. The right hemisphere (which controls the left side of our bodies) is more creative.
Engaging your whole brain
A picture really is worth a thousand words - your visual memory (right brain) is in fact far more accurate than your verbal memory (left brain). So when you are learning a new language, your learning can be made much more effective if you combine visual and verbal information. This technique, called ‘dual coding’, dramatically improves your information retention and rate of recall.
It’s also the reason why spoken directions always work better if you have a map in front of you as well! And it’s why EuroTalk discs use visual images alongside new words and phrases.
Why being “involved” with what you’re learning is key
Have you ever despaired of learning by repeating apparently meaningless phrases parrot-fashion? So have we!
In order to transfer the information you’re taking in from your short term to your long term memory, the content has to mean something to you. Repetition alone is rarely enough.
It’s like going to a new place for the first time when someone else is driving. You’re far less likely to remember the route if you aren’t behind the wheel because you’re not “involved” in the same way. But, if you’re the driver – and particularly if you’re asked to take the same journey again shortly after the first trip – your memory will be greatly improved.
This is because new experiences, which form part of our short term memory, are transferred to our long term memory by the acts of involvement and repetition.
This is why EuroTalk discs test you on what you’ve learned with quizzes. These help you understand the context and practical meaning of your new language and, by repeatedly asking you to recall what you’ve learnt, strengthen your long term memory. As a result, new information is stored for longer and will be easier to recall.
What makes the best environment for learning?
As well as being relaxed, alert and involved with new information, there is another factor which makes for an ideal learning environment: enjoyment.
When we’re enjoying ourselves the neurotransmitter chemical dopamine is released by our brains. Dopamine enhances concentration and learning ability and it produces a ‘feel-good’ sensation, which keeps us motivated.
By stimulating our brains through interaction and enjoyment, we also boost our powers of memory. Our brains develop new synapses (the connections between our brain nerve cells) that in turn allow for an enhanced flow of information. It’s a virtuous circle of learning!
Optimising our learning through play is also something we do instinctively as children but, as adults, can sometimes forget. EuroTalk discs use the principle of learning through play to help us maximize our language learning potential. The discs use games, a scoring system and bronze, silver and gold awards to encourage and reward correct answers. And, because they’re entertaining, dopamine is released in the brain which encourages synapse development and so makes learning more effective.
So, our top tips for learning ANYTHING are:
- Engage your whole brain when you’re learning using pictures, sounds and other non-verbal prompts.
- Don’t just repeat what you’re learning – think about it too and get “involved”.
- Above all, relax and have fun! Play is addictive, and it helps you to learn.
How EuroTalk has helped Autistic people
We recently received a touching story from Italy:
“Your Italian ‘Vocabulary Builder’ has been very helpful for my son, Pietro, who is autistic. He is one year late with respect to his school fellows and the first time he has said “Mamma” and “Papà” he was 7.
Generally speaking, learning aids for physically/mentally disabled children are hard to find and I looked for similar learning instruments in Italy without success. The Vocabulary Builder was an outstanding tool in improving Pietro’s speaking skills. Thank you very much for contributing to his growth!” Marcello Coggiatti
We were also thrilled to receive the email below from a mum in the USA:
“At the age of five, my son, who is autistic, had an inexhaustible passion for foreign languages.
Your products were perfectly geared toward his particular learning style: visual images in conjunction with audio and the written word. He immediately absorbs everything he reads, and is able to crack reading codes without any formal reading instruction.
I particularly appreciated that the words in your products are written in the native language rather than a phonetic translation. They helped him to speak, understand and read in numerous languages. We heard so much more of his beautiful voice. He went from speaking very little to talking all day, in numerous foreign languages.”
For more information about learning foreign languages and autism, Vivienne Wire runs a really useful site: Autism and foreign language learning.
Do you have a child with autism who enjoys languages? Perhaps we can help. The little boy in our story above really enjoyed using Vocabulary Builder to develop his own interest in various languages. Kids love the friendly tiger and colourful pictures, and the games help to really keep them engaged.
How EuroTalk has helped people who need speech therapy
Joan Green is a speech therapist based in Maryland, USA, and the founder of Innovative Speech Therapy. Joan makes use of computer software and technology in her work with clients who struggle with communication due to a stroke, head injury or developmental disability, and has endorsed EuroTalk’s software in her book, Technology for Communication and Cognitive Treatment: The Clinician’s Guide.
How EuroTalk has helped adopted children
Are you adopting a child from overseas? Chances are that they will speak little or no English - which can often lead to misconceptions about their intelligence, as in the case of this little girl who was adopted from the Ukraine:
“When we first adopted our daughter we had her assessed and were told that she had developmental delay. This turned out to be totally untrue and her problems were all language-based rather than developmental. Having already had a traumatic start to life, she had no interest really in learning English and we really struggled to learn Ukrainian. The beauty of the Vocabulary Builder is that it was so much fun for her, more like a game than a lesson and more than that- an activity we could do together to help us bond. Gradually she began to start speaking English and now that we have had her assessed again- it turns out that there are no special needs there at all.
I was dubious about whether it would work but I cannot stress enough the impact this has had on us and our daughter’s development. She has gone from a very frustrated little girl who was unable to communicate or express her needs into a bubbly, chatty little thing who is so different from the child we took home a year ago. She absolutely loves the Vocabulary Builder and she has come on in leaps and bounds.”
With just the click of a button, you can change the help language of any EuroTalk product so that your child can learn English from their own native tongue. And if you want to learn some of their language, why not try Vocabulary Builder or Talk Now! - it’ll teach you the basics and you can have fun together as a family while you learn each other’s languages!
EuroTalk’s non-profit work in Uganda and Malawi
What are the problems?
- Rapid population growth, environmental destruction
- Poor nutrition, health and education standards
- Rural schools with few resources and no electricity
- Solid basic education is the key
What are we doing to help?
- In Malawi, we donated equipment to 50 schools
- Each has a computer and 10 handheld devices
- Both play interactive video lessons in the local language
- Topics include numeracy, literacy, health and many others
- Everything is powered by a solar power system
To find out more, see our OneBillion site, which features details of the project.
EuroTalk Press Releases
- New free language learning app launched in 25 languages
- EuroTalk release Learn Quechua CD ROMs
- 25 Languages available on uTalk
- Junior Language Challenge 2009 Announced
- Will the 2012 London Olympics Help Languages?
- 10 New languages added to uTalk Range
- Junior Language Challenge 2008 Announced
- Talk More Beginner+ Range Announced