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.
From learners to explorers: How to develop an explorer mindset in language students
What do you think of when you hear the term ‘explorer mindset’?
Many people think that it’s about encouraging children to be interested in learning. To support them when they want to discover new thoughts and skills – and to find things out for themselves.
But we can expand on those thoughts.
Explorers who set off on expeditions have specific goals. They have to prepare physically, mentally and practically. They know where they want to go, even if they don’t know what they will find there. In the process, they stumble and fall and get back up again. And when they finally reach the place they were headed for, they see more opportunities and realize they would like to go even further.
Young people who develop this mindset will always want to learn, discover and keep searching for bigger and better things.
1. Prepare them for the journey
Before setting off on any journey, it’s crucial to have access to the right tools. In our schools, we (usually) have all the books, technology and stationery we need. At home, on the other hand, students might only have the basics. Books and craft supplies might also be seen as messy and something to be tidied away.
Therefore, in our classrooms, we should show our students that materials are always readily accessible. Learners should understand that while everything has its place, we still like to read, write, and make things.
How to encourage reading, writing and creativity:
- Show students what you are reading; the books you have in your bag or tablet.
- Show them your notebooks and other written work.
- Allow time for craft work in the middle of the lesson and leave time to clear up at the end.
- Allocate a ‘messy space’ in the classroom where craft material can be used anytime. We often do this with kindergarten classes; consider continuing it for older students.
2. Focus on the language learning destination
Most of our students will be excited about starting their journey through the English language. Some will be naturally motivated or innately inclined to become fluent speakers, and others will need your encouragement.
As a teacher, you are the primary role model for your students. Your most powerful tool is showing your own enthusiasm for learning through English. Show the children that you want to improve your own English.
Thanks to the power of technology, children have become excellent explorers.
We can now be genuinely surprised about the things they discover on YouTube, Twitch or TikTok – the phrases, ideas or even ‘life hacks’ they share with us in class. We can learn from them too. Real admiration is always more motivating than praise.
How to encourage show and tell in the classroom:
- Allow five minutes for the children to show or tell you new things they have discovered online or elsewhere. Make it a routine with a time limit.
- Help the children find out about the skills their role models have by searching the internet or reading magazines. Seeing what others can do from small beginnings can inspire students to create their own goals.
3. Acknowledge obstacles
We tend to think of obstacles as something we have to conquer and get over. But we can’t always do that. Sometimes we have to stop, retrace our steps, rest, redefine our goals and start again.
As teachers, we know that not achieving what we have set out to do can make us feel incompetent. The same goes for our students. If they can’t do their homework, they may not feel good about themselves and start to invent excuses. We need to set them small, manageable daily goals so that the students can find satisfaction in focused work with a finite outcome.
If they do not achieve those goals, we can reset them in a different way – for example, a writing task could become a speaking task or vice versa. Seeing that we can approach a piece of work from different angles is a life skill for our children. We don’t have to give up; we have to do it differently.
How to help individuals reach their full potential
Give them a homework menu with different tasks done in different ways. This allows them to work to the best of their specific abilities.
Describe your bedroom. You can…
- write about it
- talk about it
- draw and label it
- take a photo and label it
4. Continue to explore
It sometimes seems that the more we learn, the less we know. As we achieve certain goals, we realize that there are other goals beyond them. Viewed from afar, they might seem, like mountain ranges, impossible to reach. And it’s true. We can’t possibly learn everything. Just as we can accept obstacles as a natural part of life, we can accept limitations.
Instead of feeling inadequate, we can focus on what we have learnt and gradually extend our knowledge and skills. This can be done at any level, and it is rewarding to look back and see how far we have come as explorers of the English language.
Tips for extending students’ knowledge and skills
- Create regular opportunities for the children to demonstrate new knowledge or skills. A bulletin board is a simple way of doing this; children could add a note or a drawing to a topic-based board and read it aloud or briefly explain why they think it is interesting.
- Start or end a school term with simple revision activities and quizzes to help the students feel good about what they already know, however basic.
- Point out the students' less obvious soft skills, such as punctuality, listening to others, or being organized. Reading and writing often dominate school lessons. This helps children realize that other aspects of their skill sets and behavior are recognized and valued.
Encouraging children to develop an explorer mindset helps them feel a sense of satisfaction, that they are responsible for their own education. They are, and will continue to be, the leaders of their own learning expeditions.
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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.