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.
Which exam is right for my students?
A guide to the Pearson assessment suite
Are you stuck on which English exam or test to offer your students? You’re not alone – there are lots of different assessments to choose from and it’s often hard to see how they are different and why you should select one over another.
We’re bringing it all together in this handy guide to help you decide which English language assessment is right for your students.
Exams for young learners
Language exams can be quite daunting for your younger students, especially if they’re taking them for the first time. That’s why we think it’s important to ensure what they have to do is interesting, fun, and motivating.
English Benchmark and Pearson English International Certificate Young Learners exams are designed with this in mind, so let’s take a closer look at them both.
Who it's for: This assessment is aimed at young learners aged between 6 and 13, and who have Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) levels between pre-A1 and B1. English Benchmark is a great tool for teachers who want a simple way to assess the English abilities of their classes at any stage of the year.
With individual reports produced quickly after completion, parents and teachers can quickly see where their children are on the Global Scale of English (GSE) or CEFR. This can help assess their readiness for the next step, such as the Pearson English International Certificate Young Learners exam.
What it tests: English Benchmark aims to assess a student’s competence in the four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing (with the exception of Level 1, which does not test writing). It covers five different ability levels, with three tests per level.
Pearson English International Certificate Young Learners
Who it's for: This test is for young learners who are again aged between 6 and 13, and whose CEFR levels range from pre-A1 to A2. It is available in over 40 territories worldwide, and at different times of the year.
Upon completion, the learners will be able to take pride in receiving an official certificate from EdExcel, the UK’s largest governing body for academic qualifications.
What it tests: International Certificate Young Learners focuses again on integrating all four of the main skills and these are divided over four ability levels – Firstwords (Level 1), Springboard (Level 2), Quickmarch (Level 3), Breakthrough (Level 4). It focuses on completing realistic communicative tasks throughout, giving them a great first experience of official assessment.
Spread out over two separate written and speaking parts; the learners are encouraged to talk effectively about their own lives, rather than simply reciting grammatical or vocabulary structures. This includes activities such as board games and picture matching.
Exams for adults
There are many reasons why your students may need to take a language exam. Some adults need proof of their level for work or university, companies may wish to analyze the abilities of their staff, or individuals may be keen on pursuing a personal goal.
Whatever the motivation, choosing the correct assessment is crucial. By checking out the summaries below of all our assessment options for adults, you’ll be sure you’ve picked the best one.
Pearson English International Certificate
Who it's for: Pearson English International Certificate (PEIC) is designed for adults of any level who use English in a variety of daily activities, such as with work, at university or socially. As a result, we’ve ensured that the content of PEIC is suitable for learners in any part of the world, age-appropriate, and available at various times of the year.
With its widely recognized Ofqual accreditation, PEIC is excellent for those needing a general English certificate for their work or higher-educational institutions.
What it tests: Throughout the six-level options, ranging from A1 (beginner) to Level 5 C2 (proficiency), authentic materials regarding specific themes are frequently used to assess all four key skills.
Learners will complete tasks related to note completion, letter or email writing, and speaking role plays, along with defending a point of view at higher levels. This reinforces the PEIC as an exam which best suits those who complete everyday tasks in English.
Who it's for: If your learners are looking for reliable, unbiased proof of their English level for immigration or studying abroad, then the Pearson Test of English Academic is perfect for them. Widely recognized by governments for their visa application processes, and multiple leading universities such as Harvard University in the USA, PTE Academic can be found in over 50 locations globally.
In addition, the exam is 100% computer-based, can be accessed over 360 days of the year, and can be booked only 24 hours in advance. This suits students and professionals who require more flexibility and benefit from the results being available after only 5 business days.
What it tests: PTE Academic uses the latest Artificial Intelligence software. This means students can be confident that they’re given an unbiased grade for the four main skills they are tested on. The initial speaking and writing sections assess your learner’s abilities to produce responses to questions and scenarios using academic English.
This theme continues through the subsequent listening and reading sections, where candidates complete various tasks such as interpreting information, reordering paragraphs, and summarizing a spoken text.
Who it's for: Pearson’s Versant tests are designed for businesses that require a simple, quick and reliable way to assess the English competence of their current or prospective staff. Furthermore, they suit educational institutes that require an efficient way to evaluate the English capabilities of their students before, during, or after their courses.
What it tests: The suite of four different English exams is tailored to suit different requirements, depending on the client's needs. Ranging from 17 to 50 minutes in length, the skills tested will vary from a specific written (Versant Writing Test) or spoken focus (Versant English Test), to the Versant English Placement Test and Versant 4 Skills Essential which integrate all four skills.
Speaking tests are also available in additional languages including Arabic, Dutch, French, and Spanish for dual language programs.
All Versant tests are fully automated, and available online or offline throughout the year. This means that you’ll be able to access the results immediately afterwards.
Who it's for: If you work for an educational institute and need a way to efficiently deliver, mark and administer a placement test for new students, then Placement is perfect for you. Our adaptive software means this single test will generate questions depending on your student’s previous responses, and therefore is suitable for beginner to advanced level learners.
This results in a single, fair and unique testing procedure, along with reliable GSE and CEFR grades upon completion.
What it tests: Placement is a 50-minute, computer-based assessment that tests the students on a wide range of topics, including the four skills, plus vocabulary and grammatical knowledge. Using real-life English content reflecting life in the classroom, students complete tasks such as choosing the correct word or phrase, error correction, dictation completion and describing visuals.
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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.