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Each time a person in a language class responds to a question with "I'm sorry, I forgot," the person is implying that language learning consists mainly of memorizing. The long lists of vocabulary items learners try to commit to memory also imply that memorizing is the key mental activity required in language learning. Questions in textbooks and on tests that ask for facts also send the message that learning and memorizing are equivalent. In fact, though we need to memorize some things, much of all of learning, including language learning, requires thinking: processing sounds we hear and symbols we see. Processing requires us to analyze messages we see and hear and compare them with our previous knowledge. In the article, techniques will be introduced to show how activities in textbooks that require only memorization can be changed to require thinking as well. As you introduce some of the activities, it is hoped that learners will say, "Let me try—please wait a second" after you ask them a question rather than "I'm sorry, I forgot." The words "Let me try" suggest that learners are aware of the fact that language learning requires thinking. And the words "please wait a second" show that the learners know that since thinking requires use of previous knowledge, time is required.



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