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.
How to motivate your students through assessment
Motivating students can be difficult, especially where exams are concerned. The prospect of preparing learners for them seems like a mammoth task. But assessment can also be a way of encouraging motivation. The clue is in the word ‘test’. Whether externally or internally driven, students wish to test their knowledge and their learning; they want to see how they are developing and progressing.
In this article, David Booth explores what makes students want to push themselves and how you can encourage them with assessment.
What motivates students?
Students are incentivized in different ways, through internal (intrinsic) and external (extrinsic) motivation. Internal motivation is when someone takes an exam for their own satisfaction or interest; without immediate external reward. External motivation is driven by other factors such as the need to graduate or get to a particular level for career advancement. External motivation may also come from others, such as parents and teachers, encouraging students to attain a particular level in a subject or a qualification.
The important thing to recognize is that students should identify their intention for learning English. This will then enable them to determine short- and long-term goals that will drive both internal and external motivation. For example, a student might say; ‘I like learning English because I love reading books about Harry Potter and also English will be useful in my future life so I can meet and learn from people from different countries’. Recognizing and acknowledging reasons for learning with help reinforce the motivations for learning.
How can we promote an environment that is engaging and motivating?
Students’ self-belief is important but teachers also have a significant role to play. Teachers can help give students the confidence to build on their own skills. One way to do this is by promoting a growth mindset. This is the theory that ability and performance can be developed through fostering a positive environment, and is the opposite of a fixed mindset which is the idea that a person’s talents are already fixed from birth.
Developing a growth mindset is important because it encourages us to see new challenges as a positive thing. It involves praising effort rather than just focusing on outcomes.
With all the above in mind, here are five things teachers can do in class to help keep up student motivation levels:
5 ways you can motivate your students
- One of the best things that teachers and educators can do to support their students is to help them identify their motivation. Ask them why they are learning English. Is it for themselves? Their parents? Or a job opportunity? This will help teachers and learners decide on the best course of action for learning and also help students find satisfaction within the task, whether in an exam or taking a conversation class.
- It’s important to teach courses that are focused on developing communicative ability and knowledge, not just passing a test. As education evolves, assessment must too, so it’s crucial to foster the practical linguistic skills of your students, not just aim for a good final grade.
- Teachers can help students develop their dominant learning styles. Do they learn by writing new words or reading things aloud? In doing so, you and your students can tailor their exam preparation towards how they work best and ensure they feel motivated to learn by themselves.
- You can give students the best understanding about the type of tasks they will face. Looking at past papers or using a wealth of exam resources will give them confidence and familiarity when facing any final assessment.
- Teachers must talk the talk! We must say the right things to keep our students motivated. This involves talking about what they have done in a positive way. Praising students just for their intelligence is not productive, because that refers to a quality rather than their behavior. Instead, we want to encourage student development through hard work and application.
Here are some growth mindset statements to inspire your students:
- You worked really hard on that.
- I’m so proud of your progress.
- You kept going even when it was hard.
- You have a tenacious attitude; I’m so proud that you never quit.
- You really did … well because …
Motivating students with the Pearson English International Certificate (PEIC)
PEIC is designed to help motivate students, offering them the opportunity to identify their strengths, and track improvement and success over time. It is widely used by learners who are looking for a general English test that allows them to build a portfolio of their communicative language ability for travel, to improve their employment prospects or for further education. It’s also valid for life.
PEIC offers a pathway for graded progression from level to level and explicit opportunities to evaluate and accredit learning outcomes at each of the CEFR levels. There are six proficiency levels, from very low (A1) to very high (C2). There are no hidden surprises, false starts, or sudden jumps in difficulty from one test to the other.
This makes it easy for teachers and students to track progress. Showing students they have progressed in their studies is very motivating and encourages further study.
Assessment of communicative ability
The exams assess learners’ ability to communicate and use English effectively rather than their test-taking skills. The emphasis is on communicative skills; the level of ability that the student has in using the language for practical purposes. This is very motivating both in the short and long term.
A positive testing experience for the student
PEIC delivers a relaxed and enjoyable testing experience that is a natural continuation of what happens in the classroom. It’s perfect for those educators who are interested in using assessment as a way of building students’ confidence and motivation, as well as raising school standards.
Easily integrated into a general English curriculum
Fitting PEIC around a general English program could not be easier. This is because the types of tasks that students will find in the tests are similar to those found in most modern communicative course books. Therefore, there is no need to do a specific PEIC course before taking the test.
A wealth of learning resources
There are lots of resources out there offering something for everyone, including test guides for each level, test tutorials, practice tests, test tips and many more, so students will feel supported throughout the preparation process.
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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.