What are Brain Breaks? How do they Help You Learn a New Language?

Some days I would love to take a break… sit on the couch, get my feet up, and drink a cup of coffee without getting cold.  A brain break is a little different though and although a brain break can be used at any time, we are finding the use of it in the classroom very beneficial.

So what is a brain break anyways?  Essentially it is a short break in instruction to allow learners to get up, move around so all of the blood and oxygen in the body can move around.  This break not only relaxes a learner but re-energizes them so they can stay focused and attentive.  Using brain breaks can create transitional opportunities that will keep your learners engaged for a class session.

The Science of Brain Breaks

This is the real science Edutopia shares, “For new information to become a memory, it must pass through an emotional filter called the amygdala and then reach the prefrontal cortex. When students’ brains become anxious, highly confused, or overwhelmed, the activation of the amygdala surges until this filter becomes a stop sign. New learning no longer passes through to reach the prefrontal cortex and sustain memory. Even if students are not stressed by the pace or content of new learning, a point arises when the amygdala exceeds its capacity for efficient conduction of information through its networks into memory.”

Other than the science mentioned above, brain breaks are a fun opportunity to integrate the new language into the classroom.  It can be used to review simple content through games and movement activities.  It can be a dance video for learners to follow that incorporates the new language.  In a virtual learning environment, brain breaks are an opportunity to “let loose” and get to know learners and their fun personalities.  This creates an optimal learning environment for language acquisition with engagement and relationship building.

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