Why It's Not Good to Learn a Language by Translating


Today's post deals with a subject that is a quite a controversial subject of discussion among students and their teachers. Generally, students would prefer for teachers to post their Spanish (or any other target language) vocabulary words and then to write the English translations beside them. Unfortunately, according to long-established research by Harvard professor, David Marzano, NLR or non-linguistic representation, in which teachers use pictures, drawings and symbols, as well as gestures and actions, is far more effective.

For example, what do you think of when you see the yellow "golden arches?" I can tell you that, when I traveled throughout Europe or Latin America, I never had to see the McDonald's sign to know that I was nearing a place in which I could buy hamburgers. NLR is the same thing, basically! As teachers show photos or act out words with gestures, students learn to associate the Spanish word with a mental picture or a certain gesture or movement. By using this high-impact teaching strategy, English-speaking natives learn the Spanish language as any baby--anywhere in the world--learns his or her first language.

If you doubt that this method is effective, I ask you to consider whether or not your parents taught you to speak by writing things down for you! I am sure that at the age of one, you learned to speak by repeating while someone pointed things out to you. So, you see, NLR works!

Learn a new word today,

Patricia G.

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