One of my awesome colleagues, our learning specialist, attended a conference on learning and the brain in San Francisco. She presented in our meeting, and recently we discovered an article that posted the same study. To summarize, it states that distractions and distractors from learning and memory are not bad. Instead, we want to recall this information more often to deepen our pathways in the brain. While it is easier to recall the information right away if you study for an hour, you actually retain the information more in the long run if you study for 30 minutes then do something else and study for an additional 30 minutes. Many times, studying for an extended period of time also increases stress. If one forgets information and has to work to recall it, the brain actually strengthens the memory later. Also when studying, varying the location or background music can also help students recall information. (I swore by this when everyone thought you could not study with music!)
I really like brain studies and find them fascinating! For foreign language, it is important that we frequently recycle much of the information and words that we teach students. I have also started incorporating vocab bursts throughout the year- we spend 30 seconds to a minute recalling words from different categories. I also have found that students are having trouble remembering words and concepts after break. Now, I know that it is a good thing! How do you review concepts frequently? Check out the article! Much of the information is good to share with students when they are studying.