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Modern Languages - Good food and water

What it's all about

Other than learning the words for a cafe conversation or how to order a meal in a different country, you might wonder what food and water have to do with learning a foreign language. But I've just returned from teaching English in Bali, where my students ranged from age 6 to 20, and it was clear that their simple daily diet of white rice - and often little else - affected their learning and energy levels, writes Tanya Moore.

Certain foods, such as rice, turn to sugar quickly and give that familiar sugar rush. But this is followed by an energy lull and it was frustrating to see their energy levels plummet.

Introducing fresh fruit and nuts to my students during lessons made an enormous difference to their energy and concentration. They were more focused and able to recall new words and phrases easily. Offering fruit to students in another language is also a way to immerse them in that language.

The brain accounts for just 2 per cent of our body weight, yet it uses 40 per cent of all nutrients consumed and 30 per cent of all the water the body takes in. Research shows that if the brain is dehydrated by just 5 per cent, the neurotransmitter activity reduces by 30 per cent.

So when you see a pupil fading or their concentration lapsing, the answer may be simple: offer them a snack or a glass of water.

What else?

Help pupils speak about nutrition in French with rhawkes' PowerPoint, bit.lyfrenchnutrition.

Practise grammar until it's fit for the dinner table with laurasemple's Millionaire game, bit.lytablegrammar.

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