Being Memorable

Happy New Year, everyone, and — seriously — long time no post. I just got back from a holiday in Seattle for Christmas and the New Year and I’m excited to be back in Japan to start a new year of blogging at ALT-JTE Connect. Let’s make it memorable with a post about being remarkable and bad textbooks.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen textbooks present vocabulary like this, with Japanese translations right next to the English words:

Yeah, they really need to see the kanji for "ear" in order to understand what that word means

Two things:

1) They don’t need translations because the lines point to a picture — and the picture says it all.

2) This isn’t memorable. This is boring and an overload of information.

Visually stunning pictures not only demonstrate meaning but they are impossible to forget. What if your textbook or next flash card used an image like this instead:

Oh the things I could do if I had a pair of these in class. Photo credit: via tumblr.

Two things:

1) You don’t need some crummy translation to catch the meaning of “hand” here.

2) Your students will never forget this word if it was associated with this picture.

And that is what memorable, outrageous photos can do for you. They can demonstrate meaning with stunning visual displays that speak for themselves. Where are all the remarkable pictures then??

So the next time you go to make flash cards, don’t just draw a picture of a dog on one side and write “DOG” on the other. Draw a picture of a dog biting some guy’s butt and then you’ve done something remarkable for your students. You’ve made the word memorable.

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