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.
Mindfulness for teachers: managing expectations over the holidays
Mindfulness and your routine
In the run-up to the holidays, it is common to feel like your routine has completely broken down, especially when you’re not giving classes or working at school. The holidays also often bring with them lots of people, family, and excitement. That sometimes means we also experience fluctuating emotions, stress and the feeling that everything should be perfect.
On top of this, shops and social media are filled with advertising – and there’s definitely more ‘stuff’ to buy. In addition, we can see messages telling us we need to feel ‘merry’ and ‘bright’ wherever we look. Even the popular greeting, ‘Merry Christmas’, can sometimes feel less of a greeting and more of an instruction.
Sometimes it feels like the people around us expect us to always feel happy and joyful over the holiday season. This is fine if we do feel merry, but we will always have ups and downs. If you don’t feel happy, for whatever reason, it can feel even harder than it might at times where there is less expectation all around us.
Overcoming the challenge
Finding a way to introduce mindfulness into the holiday season can be a wonderful way for us to understand our emotions at this time of year. It will help you think about your expectations and let you find a moment to pause to accept whatever the reality actually is.
Here are some quick and easy ways to find some ‘you’ time and keep checking in with how you’re feeling. These are also tips you can try with children in the classroom and for yourself at home to keep yourself on track.
3-minute body scan
Find a quiet moment. This may be in the few minutes after you wake up or go to bed, during break time, or even at the start of a lesson.
- Notice the contact of your feet with the floor. Notice the sounds around you in the room.
- Take three deep breaths and notice how they feel.
- Scan down the body in your mind from the top of your head all the way down to your toes. Observe what you notice about your body with an air of curiosity – look for any tension, discomfort or comfort. Also, notice if there are any expectations you have of that day or moment. See if you can simply notice them and set them aside. This curiosity helps us stay detached from what we notice so we can just observe.
- Take three more deep breaths, and carry on.
Writing something down can be a wonderfully mindful exercise. Have a stack of post-its or a little notebook on your desk or bedside table. You could encourage your students to do the same.
1. Pick a point in your day. It could be at the start of each day, the start of each lesson, or just before bed. Each day, at that time, take a moment to write down three:
- good things that have happened in your day
- things that felt challenging
- things you feel grateful and thankful for.
2. Review your notes every now and again during the holiday period. This will give you a sense of your shifts of mood and energy that might have occurred.
Noticing something you feel grateful for has been shown to physically improve your wellbeing and state of mind.
1-minute cupboard pause
When things feel over-stimulating, find a quiet space just for a minute. Even if it’s in a cupboard!
STOP: notice the contact of your feet with the floor.
BREATHE: take ten deep breaths, breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of six.
WATCH: watch each breath coming and going from the nose or chest or belly. Observe what your thoughts and feelings are doing. Allow them to sit without needing to respond.
Then head back into the area you were in.
I hope these tips help you to navigate the festive season without expectation and with curiosity for what each moment holds along the way.
Remember that the holiday days you celebrate are really just normal days. It’s simply that expectations have changed, and what’s more, everyone’s expectations will be different.
Simply taking time to notice this can make a massive difference to the pressure we put on ourselves. Releasing this pressure can even lead to more enjoyment overall – so why don’t you try it and see?
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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.