Peripheral Learning and Its Effectiveness in Intensive English Classes
Demirağ, Nizamettin Bleda
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The idea that being exposed to information contained in the learning environment over a period of time causes subconscious learning is called ‘peripheral learning’. This term was coined by Georgi Lozanov in the 1970’s, who viewed the learning environment as a crucial part of the learning process and emphasized the optimization of the environment for the learning process. Utilizing this phenomenon in the classroom could lead to effortless and automatic learning. The aim of this study was to explore the potential benefits of peripheral learning via the use of colorful, illustrative educational posters within the classroom and the cognitive and emotional effects of using such posters on university English preparation students in Turkey. One such classroom in a foreign languages department was decorated with 27 different posters containing grammatical and lexical items along with illustrative and written examples, which remained for a total of 12 weeks. Two midterm exams were conducted by the department during this period (the first after four weeks of exposure, the second after 12 weeks of exposure). The scores of the experimental group (24 students) were compared to those of a control group (21 students). It was found that the experimental group had somewhat significantly higher grammar and vocabulary scores in the first exam, and significantly higher grammar and vocabulary scores in the second exam. A comparison of each group’s progress between the first and second midterms also showed a significant difference in favor of the treatment group. Furthermore, interviews with the students exposed to the posters showed that students generally tended to have positive feelings towards them and tended to examine the posters often.