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.
Preparing for the PEIC YL oral test
Younger learners may find speaking in English comes easily to them, more so than reading and writing. However, they need to be well-prepared and familiar with what they have to do in order to be successful in an exam. Let’s look at a few ways we can prepare our students for the International Certificate Young Learners (PEIC YL) oral test and have fun along the way!
The PEIC YL oral test includes two speaking tasks that have an emphasis on real-life communication. Throughout the four levels, the format of the speaking tasks remains the same, with questions and topics suitable for each level and age group.
Learners take the oral test in groups of five, with one examiner, who gives instructions and assesses the learners.
- The first speaking task consists of a question and answer activity played as a board game. In their group of five, students take turns to throw a dice and move around the board/cards. When they land on a square, they read out a question which they should direct at another student, who then responds. Each question has a corresponding picture, which helps scaffold the task and give clues to what the question means.
- In the second task, each student gives a short talk about a topic. Students take turns to pick a topic card and then talk about the topic for one minute. The other students in the group then ask questions related to the topic.
For both parts of the test students are assessed on their vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.
There are lots of ways in which you can prepare your learners for the test in class. The game-like format of the speaking test makes practicing the tasks an ideal end-of-lesson activity. Here are a few ideas:
Play board games
Playing board games will allow learners to get used to the functional language they will need to play games, e.g. "It’s your turn" / "Where’s the dice?".
It will also give them plenty of practice in counting the squares in English, which they are expected to do in the test. You can use traditional board games designed for English language learners or make your own.
Include questions on familiar topics such as family, clothes, or vacations.
Make collaborative board games
Young learners love to make things so why not have them make their own board games and cards? Put students in groups to make a board game for the other groups to play. You can provide a board template, have them write questions, and draw pictures in the squares.
Make sure you have students write a rough draft of their questions first so that you can check for any errors. It can be helpful to write example questions and prompts on the board as a guide, e.g. 'What (sports) do you play at school?' 'How often do you …?'. Depending on the level, students will need to include questions in a variety of present/past/future tenses.
Use student pictures
To prepare for the short talk, give students plenty of practice at speaking for one minute. One way of making this more engaging is by having the students choose their own topics by talking about pictures they have drawn or taken.
If students have mobile phones, you can ask them to choose a photo from the gallery and discuss it with a partner. If mobile phones are not an option, have them bring in some photos from home. These could be pictures taken on vacation, birthday parties, or at other celebrations.
You could also write a list of topics on the board, have each student choose one, and draw a picture to illustrate it.
- Make sure students are used to playing board games and know rules and functional language.
- Practice turn taking and asking/answering questions regularly.
- Encourage students to listen carefully to questions and to read them thoroughly, paying attention to the verb forms used. They should aim to use the same verb form in their answer.
- Give learners practice speaking in one-minute turns.
- Use your course book unit topic to include similar speaking tasks in lessons.
- Make a set of laminated picture cards for students to practice both parts of the test.
- Write questions and topics on popsicle sticks or cards for fast finishers.
The key to good test preparation is to make it a part of your regular lessons, rather than something you do in just the weeks before the test. The more familiar your students are with the tasks, the more relaxed they will be on the day of the test.
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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.