Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

Surprising Study — NOT: People Learn A Second Language Better By Physically Simulating Words


'Mirror view' photo (c) 2008, Sudarshan V - license:

A new study concludes that:

“If language comprehension is a simulation process that uses neural systems of action, then perhaps we can better teach kids how to understand what they read by getting them to literally simulate the actions,” he explained.

Researchers attributed this conclusion to what are called “mirror neurons.” Kevin Washburn has a useful and short piece on them if you want to learn more.

Of course, these findings are nothing new to teachers of English Language Learners who have used Total Physical Response and other similar techniques for years.

You can read more about those instructional strategies at The Best Resources On Students Using Gestures & Physical Movement To Help With Learning.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Accurate headline — NOT. This is not a conclusion of the study. It is merely a speculative comment. People have enough problems interpreting the results of studies. Please do not further confuse the issue by highlighting “could benefit from further investigation” statements as being conclusions based on evidence in the study.

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