NLP in Second Language Learning

NLP in Second Language Learning

In the many practical applications of NLP outside psychotherapy and self improvement, education and business are at the top. NLP tactics are used to positively convince, guide, and inspire as oppose to pressure or coerce. In the classroom, NLP serves to create a positive association with the act of learning itself. But this very act of learning is also a process that roots itself in neurological programming. So why not apply the principles of NLP to facilitate the acquisition of, amongst other subjects, second languages.


First Things First: The Basics of Second Language Acquisition

Concomitant with the use of a first language (L1), the second language (L2) eventually creates its own neurology. Before this happens, however (and this covers the bulk of the learning process), we pass through the phases of active translation, passive translation, and the intermediary language phase (L1.5) (Cook, 2001). With sufficient practice, the translation phases are easily overcome as the linguistic notions eventually create their own pathways parallel to those of L1. The challenge in all this surfaces in the L1.5 phase because the learner tends to question his abilities a lot less than in earlier stages of learning; thus making him/her sometimes overconfident in hi/her own proficiency, and less suspicious of possible problem areas.


How NLP Explains This?

The basic concept is simple. Just as the “sit” command will eventually get your dog to consistently sit upon hearing it, utterances in any language will eventually create their own neurological memory; programming if you may. Complications arise only (and widely) from the fact that language is only a concept. Meanings already vary (as slightly as they may) from one individual or region to another within the same language, as to make consistently pure linguistic association difficult to define from the start.

One of the biggest obstacles learners of second languages face is what I call “dictionary syndrome”. And this is particularly present at the adult stage; students who religiously carry electronic dictionaries around and consistently interrupt their own conversations to consult their circuit chip guru. More agile learners of languages realize that bilingual dictionary entries are only meant to be reference points, and that often enough, there cannot be any kind of direct translation from one language to the next. For the average student, however, this results in an L1.5 faultier than it ought to be.

The solution to “dictionary syndrome”, fortunately, is simple: more exposure to the stimuli with which we want to invest the words. If improper use of language comes from incorrect neurological programming, then the educator can use powerful neuro-linguistic programming techniques like anchoring and remodelling to guide less resourceful students in adopting learning habits that are likely to stimulate more accurate associations.


NLP in the Classroom

Applying NLP techniques of language learning to oneself is only a matter of self discipline. That’s why it is, to an extent, the role of the educator to guide learners of second languages to initiate the process of “self-learning” using NLP. Activities with word puzzles that contain a chosen set of unknown words, for example, can gradually build a solid association between word and neurology if they are used repetitively and accompanied with appropriate closing explanations each time.

In the case of school age learners, as the problem is often lack of motivation and the preferred recourse is to the phrase “I don’t know”, stimulation of the five senses in respect to the words that link to them becomes instrumental. This is nothing new; and in fact it is already widely used in the Total Physical Response (TPR) approach, which is probably the most direct form of linking neurology to language through muscle memory.

For students with the ability to think more abstractly (usually above 12 years old), more indirect methods using fictional scenarios, visualization techniques, and kinesthetic schemes can be used. Note that imagination will be used at all ages, especially through stories with younger learners.



NLP is a science that dissects the methods used by so many professionals in a number of given fields to achieve such stellar effectiveness in their areas of expertise. Most successful educators already use techniques at least bordering on NLP without necessarily knowing that they are. But awareness is the first step to jumping the learning curb in getting amazing results from students and clients alike, and pursuing a life as meaningful to others as it is to you.


Landon Bright’s Mind Training With NLP offers solid advice on nlp and hypnosis certification training, neuro linguistic programming techniques, nlp in business, and more!

Landon Bright is a curriculum designer who has been working with educationally challenged children and adults in developing countries for over eight years, through the course of which he has used and tested NLP approaches to education in a number of different languages. Landon is also an expert of Asian religions, and is the author of the upcoming book on daoism Lady Li’s Apocalypse: The Mysticism of Dreams.

Mind Training With NLP is Landon’s first website, and aims primarily at guiding would-be NLP practitioners to the best choice in online certification training.

18. June 2011 by Admin
Categories: NLP | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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