Reinforcing Receptive Language Processing in the Classroom

Instructor: Lauren Posey

Lauren has taught intermediate reading in an English Language Institute, and she has her Master's degree in Linguistics.

In this lesson you will learn about receptive language processing, including what it is and what methods you can use to reinforce it in a classroom setting.

Language Processing

As a teacher, you know that talk, and students' reception of talk, is a vital part of any classroom. When students listen and absorb information through talk, this is called receptive language processing (RLP). This processing functions at different levels for every student and it is easier for some students to absorb information simply by listening to it than for others. This is particularly true in special needs classrooms, but applies to any classroom type.

Since teachers instruct all day long, RLP is highly prevalent in classrooms. As teachers, you are experienced with this skill. However, students have had far less practice with verbal instruction, and it's important to remember that even though it seems easy to you, it might be very difficult for them. This is useful to keep in mind when students are misbehaving. They might be acting out of frustration because they can't understand what's going on, rather than simply being 'bad' students.

In order to make sure all your students are learning from each lesson, and minimize frustration, you need to reinforce their receptive language processing by using a variety of activities in the classroom. Of course the activities you choose will vary somewhat, but the general methods can be applied regardless of classroom type or level. Before you can properly choose activities though, you should identify what types of learners you have in your classroom.

Learning Styles

Think of yourself as a student. Do you prefer listening to directions? Or would you rather read them off the board? When designing activities, one thing to keep in mind is that each student has a different learning style, and different activities that will work best for them. There are seven major learning styles:

-Visual/spatial: Students prefer pictures and images

-Aural: Students prefer sound and music

-Verbal/linguistic: Students prefer working with words, both speech and writing

-Physical/kinesthetic: Students prefer activities involving movement and touch

-Logical: Students prefer using logic, reasoning, and systems

-Social: Students prefer working in groups

-Solitary: Students prefer working alone

Aural and verbal students tend to have the highest level of RLP. However, by varying activities or activity structure, you can make sure every student has the chance to learn in the way best for them.

Activities that Promote RLP

When making your lesson plans, there are a few types of activities you can add in that help promote and reinforce receptive language processing.

Graphic Organizers

One activity that can appeal to all learning styles is the use of graphic organizers. Graphic organizers are ways of visually representing connections and relationships, such as in a flow chart or a venn diagram. They help organize information in your lesson a little differently, appealing to a wider subset of students than a lecture alone.

Venn Diagram

If you were doing a lesson on comparing and contrasting, a venn diagram is an excellent way to organize the information. On its own, it appeals to visual and logical learners. By having each student fill it out their own, you appeal to solitary students, and physical learners. Following that, large and small group discussions appeal in turn to social, verbal and aural learners. Having students write answers on the board can appeal further to physical learners.

Venn diagrams are excellent for comparing and contrasting
Venn Diagram

Ways to Look at Information

Different learning styles means students view information in different ways. One method for making sure each student is learning to the best of their ability is to present the lesson in multiple ways. Graphic organizers paired with a discussion would be one example, and if the lesson centered around a reading activity, that would give the students three different ways to look at the information. By using multiple types of activities, you automatically present the information in multiple ways.

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