Using festivals and seasons in language teaching

Using festivals and seasons in language teaching

How do we encourage our children to love languages?

How do we encourage our children to love languages?

Going on holiday with children?  Going to a country where English is not the first language? Here are some tips from us to help make the holiday a bit easier, and to encourage your children to learn to enjoy learning about the country and its language too!

·       Talk to your children about the language/s spoken at your destination. Help them to understand that not everybody speaks the same language.

·       Learn some key phrases together.  Words like “please” and “thank you” in the local language can bring a much better level of service, especially when uttered by the younger members of the party!

·       Find out about the local food specialities and talk about what you might like to try. Sounding excited about it will help to encourage your child to try new things.

·       If you have a real favourite food, see if you could take some with you.  A few familiar snacks can go a long way to soothing tired and frustrated children.  They can also be life-savers if the flight is delayed!

·       While on your holiday, try to point out words and phrases that you know.  Keeping an eye out for things such as “toilet”, “exit” or even “ice cream” can entertain the youngsters in a strange town and help them to see the point of learning a new language.

·       Why not encourage your child to use the language themselves?  The sense of pride when they successfully buy bread at the baker, ask for their own ice cream, or order the train tickets themselves (depending on age) is something that could stick with them for a long time.

·       Think about the worst case scenario – what if your child gets lost?  Consider giving them a contact card to keep in a pocket. It could include key information such as their name, the languages they speak, any medical conditions and your mobile number or accommodation details.  A bit of time taken to get this information in the destination language could save a lot of time and hassle if your little one gets lost.  You could do the same for adults too, just in case!

August

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Welcome to August!

While you are out and about on your holidays, don’t forget to keep up your language skills. Whether you choose to tune in to an internet radio station in your target language, or to check out the newspapers, make time for practice. ‘Little and often’ is the mantra to use.

This month we are going to give some ideas about making the most of the news websites. There are several websites offering podcasts in the language you want to learn (your target language) and these can be particularly useful – especially those which have the news read more slowly than usual.  “Deutsche Welle” offers very good news coverage for learners (http://www.dw.com/de/deutsch-lernen/nachrichten/s-8030).  For French try the imaginatively titled “News in slow French” (https://www.newsinslowfrench.com).  Those studying English may benefit from the choices of speed available at “Breaking News English” (http://www.breakingnewsenglish.com).  Why not download one every weekend and listen to it on your daily commute?

Another option would be to use one of the international new channels, such as www.euronews.com  A useful tip is to familiarise yourself with the news story first in your native language, by watching the clip several times, and then to change the language of the site to your target language and watch the same article again.  There may well be a few small differences in reporting style or focus, but the main facts of the story should stay the same!  Alternatively, you could watch the article several times in your target language, make notes and only THEN read the text of the article.

After we finish with our intensive students in mid-August, Language Learners will be taking a short summer break too. We are looking forward to seeing our regular clients in September and to meeting our new ones. In fact, September is looking busy already with very few of the popular late afternoon/early evening slots left. So, if you are hoping to learn a new language or brush up your existing skills, drop us a line!