The English language is a fascinating mix of regional dialects and unique slang, shaped by centuries of history and cultural influences. Throughout its long history, the UK has had many invasions and visitors. From the Romans in ancient Londinium to the rolling hills of the Saxon heartland, and from the Viking raiders of the north to the Norman conquerors of the south, each wave of historical influence has shaped the dialects of the UK. Each region of the United Kingdom has its own distinct flavor of language and accent. Today, we embark on a slang tour to explore some of the expressions from different regions.
The importance of teaching values to young learners
Values in education
The long years children spend at school are not only about acquiring key knowledge and skills. At school, children also learn to work together, share, exchange opinions, disagree, choose fairly, and so on. We could call these abilities social skills as they help children live and flourish in a wider community than their family circle.
Social skills are not necessarily the same as social values. Children acquire social skills from all kinds of settings. The tools they use to resolve problems will often come from examples. In the playground, children observe each other and notice behavior. They realize what is acceptable to the other children and which strategies are successful. Some of the things they observe will not reflect healthy social values.
Part of a school’s mission is to help children learn social skills firmly based on a shared set of values. Many schools recognize this and have a program for education in values.
What values are we talking about?
Labeling is always tricky when dealing with an abstract concept such as social values. General ideas include:
- living in a community, collaborating together
- respecting others in all of human diversity
- caring for the environment and the surroundings
- having a sense of self-worth.
At the root of these values are ethical considerations. While it may seem that primary education is too early for ethics, children from a very young age do have a sense of fairness and a sense of honesty. This doesn’t mean that children never lie or behave unfairly. Of course they do! But from about three years old, children know that this behavior is not correct, and they complain when they come across it in others.
In the school context, social values are too often reduced to a set of school rules and regulations. Typical examples are:
- 'Don't be late!'
- 'Wait your turn!'
- 'Pick up your rubbish!'
- 'Don't invent unkind nicknames'.
While all these statements reflect important social values, if we don’t discuss them with the children, the reasoning behind each statement gets lost. They become boring school rules. And we all know that it can be fun to break school rules if you can get away with it. These regulations are not enough to represent an education in values.
At a school level, successful programs often focus on a specific area of a values syllabus. These programs involve all members of a school community: students, teachers, parents, and administrative staff.
Here are some examples of school programs:
Caring for the environment
Interest in ecology and climate change has led many schools to implement programs focused on respect for the environment and other ecological issues. Suitable activities could include:
- a system of recycling
- a vegetable garden
- initiatives for transforming to renewable energy
- a second-hand bookstore.
As bullying can have such serious consequences, many schools have anti-bullying policies to deal with bullying incidents. However, the most effective programs also have training sessions for teachers and a continuous program for the children to help them identify bullying behavior. Activities include:
- empathy activities to understand different points of view
- activities to develop peer responsibility about bullying
- activities aimed at increasing children’s sense of self-worth.
Combating negative racial stereotypes has, until recently, relied mainly on individual teacher initiatives. However, as racial stereotypes are constructed in society, it would be useful to have a school-wide program. This could include:
- materials focusing on the achievements of ethnic minorities
- school talks from members of ethnic minority communities
- empathy activities to understand the difficulties of marginalized groups.
- study of the culture and history of ethnic minorities.
As children learn from observed behavior, it’s important that everyone in the school community acts consistently with the values in the program.
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Language is not only a tool for communication but also a means to explore and comprehend diverse cultures, traditions, and perspectives. Europe, with its vast array of languages, is a prime example of this linguistic diversity. Each year on September 26th, Europe observes the European Day of Languages, which is a day solely dedicated to celebrating and embracing this linguistic richness.
Europe is a magnificent tapestry of languages, with over 200 spoken throughout the continent. This diversity is a symbol of the rich cultural heritage of each nation and reminds us of the intricate historical, social, and linguistic elements that mold our identities. The European Day of Languages inspires people to cherish and honor this linguistic heritage.
Why September 26th?
September 26th marks an important date for celebrating linguistic diversity and promoting multilingualism. This day commemorates the adoption of the "European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages" by the Council of Europe in 1992, a crucial document that recognizes and safeguards the linguistic rights of minority languages spoken within European countries. By celebrating the European Day of Languages on this date, it renews our commitment to supporting the rich diversity of languages and cultures that make our world a more vibrant and fascinating place.
What type of events happen?
The European Day of Languages offers language learners a chance to participate in language exchanges, which is an exciting opportunity. During such exchanges, learners from diverse backgrounds partner up and teach each other their native languages. This not only helps improve language skills but also promotes intercultural understanding.
Various European cities offer language workshops led by enthusiasts and experts, providing an introduction to different languages.
Storytelling is an incredibly effective tool for learning languages. Libraries, schools, and cultural centers hold multilingual storytelling sessions, where stories from different cultures are shared in their original languages. This helps both children and adults to better understand and appreciate the beauty of linguistic diversity.
Cinema provides a wonderful opportunity to explore different languages and cultures. Throughout Europe, foreign films are often shown with subtitles, enabling viewers to fully immerse themselves in new linguistic worlds.
Museums often showcase exhibitions highlighting the linguistic and cultural heritage of various regions, providing insight into the history and traditions of different languages.
Cafés and restaurants might offer special menus featuring diverse cuisines and multilingual staff – a delightfully tasty way to explore languages and cultures.
Games and Competitions
Language-based games and competitions, such as crossword puzzles and spelling bees, are organized in schools and communities to provide a fun and educational way to celebrate language.
If you are a teacher hoping to celebrate this occasion make sure to check here for ideas on what to do.
Check out what events are happening near you here.
Just like the European day of Languages, we at Pearson Languages are fully committed to empowering and celebrating language learners and educators alike. That's why we are now supporting French, Italian, and Spanish language learning with the Global Scale of Languages (GSL). With these new language learning frameworks at your fingertips, you can confidently design curriculums and personalize learning pathways to help fast-track your learners’ progress and help your learners be themselves in French, Italian and Spanish.
Whether you're a teacher, a language learner, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of languages, the European Day of Languages and the GSL provide exciting opportunities to explore, learn, and enjoy the rich tapestry of Europe's linguistic heritage.
Can we play a game? How many times have you been asked this in class? And how often do you say Yes? Young learners love to play games, and if you choose the right ones, they can have a hugely beneficial impact on their learning.
As well as being fun, games can provide learners with necessary language practice, as well as lowering the affective filter (i.e. anxiety, fear, boredom and other negative emotions that can all impact learning). Games also foster a positive, relaxed environment.
So are you ready to play? Here are a few tried and tested games that work especially well in the primary classroom. Each game is designed to consolidate and review the language students have been learning, and take from 5 to 15 minutes. The games are flexible enough for you to adapt them to different levels, age groups and skills.