How Gestures and Mime Can Help You Learn English

Just as repetition helps the brain remember body movements, so too can a gesture, facial expression, or certain posture help the brain remember and use the correct word at the right time. Read on for how gestures and mime can help learn English faster and easier.

The Influence of Gestures and Mime

A mime on a stage in New York, NY

A sense of enthusiasm and excitement can make any learning experience more rewarding for both teacher and students. In this atmosphere, the use of gestures encourages greater participation and understanding. As you’re learning new vocabulary words, you can associate certain gestures with the words to help remember the words and engage all parts of your brain in the learning process.

Using Gestures to Indicate Directions

Over time, a repeated visual cue or gesture automatically creates a reflexive reaction in the brain. A classic example is the calming, palms-down movement of both hands to quiet a class or encourage an audience to be seated. For new students learning English, directive gestures like this can help fill in missing words and ease the communication process while you’re learning.

Teaching and Learning Vocabulary

Too frequently retreating to the safety of your native language can delay the learning process. In these instances, a key gesture or two may nudge the brain into producing the correct word or phrases without the need for translation. Try to speak with your hands first to see if this will help you remember the right words to match with your movements.

Gestures and Emotion

Some body language is unique to the United States, and gestures can help convey certain emotions or ideas better when you’re learning English. For example, when you’re practicing dialogue with a friend, you can try to use your body to mirror the emotion you want to convey with your words. If you are pretending to be excited about something, you may throw your hands up when you talk, while a sad conversation might cause you to slump down. This exercise will help your conversational English feel more natural when talking to native speakers because they can relate to your body movements.

To learn English and put it to work for you requires more than just using the right words. It’s also about how you move your body and use certain gestures when you speak. Learn more about the Conversation Program at ALCC American Language and register for classes online to help improve your English comprehension.

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