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.
Five ways to promote friendship in your English language classroom
There is a strong link between well-being and friendship, which is just as accurate for children as it is for adults. Studies have found that children with stable friendships are happier, more able to cope with stress, and have higher self-esteem. Moreover, school friendships impact academic achievement too, and children who experience friendship adjust more easily to school and perform better academically. School friendships are also a valuable way of learning social skills like sharing, resolving conflict, and engaging with peers positively.
Having friends is an important part of school life, and teachers can play a significant role in creating a positive classroom culture and helping children and young people to form friendships. How can you promote friendships between your students? Here are some ideas:
1. Make friendship a central theme in your classes
If there is an example of a good friendship in a book you are reading with students or in your lesson materials, draw your students’ attention to it. For instance, The Jungle Book is an excellent example of a story about friendship. Encourage your students to think critically about the friendships that they read about. You can ask questions like:
- What are some things a good friend does?
- What are the qualities of a good friend?
- What words do you associate with friendship?
By discussing friendship regularly in the classroom, your students will learn about the behavior and characteristics of being a good friend.
2. Create opportunities for interaction
You can create lots of opportunities for students to build friendships with one another during class time. Design activities that call for pair or group work, and include at least one or two in every lesson. Focusing on a common goal or problem is a great way to encourage your students to bond with one another. As a bonus, this collaborative way of working promotes important 21st century skills like communication and problem-solving.
Another way of promoting friendships between different groups of students is moving them around. Adjust your seating plan regularly to ensure that all your students interact with and work alongside different classmates, to promote positive, friendly classroom vibes.
3. Discuss and model good behavior
Friendship is a social skill that children need to learn – and you can help by teaching them. Be explicit about exactly what you expect from them. Saying, “Be kind” is an abstract, vague concept that children might struggle to put into practice. Instead, give them concrete examples of behavior, such as:
- take turns when playing
- speak respectfully
- share pens or other resources
When you see a student engaging in these behaviors, draw attention to them and praise them.
But to really convey the importance of school friendships and kind behavior, it’s not enough to tell them. As the teacher, you must model the behavior you’d like to see in your students. Be consistently positive and upbeat in your interactions with students, thank your learners when they offer help with something, and try to refrain from sounding impatient (even when you are!). All these steps will help to build a positive classroom culture where students feel secure, supported and happy.
4. Help to navigate difficult situations
Conflict is an inevitable part of school life, but you can help students to navigate arguments and other difficult situations in the classroom. If two students argue, you can help them to resolve it with the following steps:
- Separate the students to give them time to calm down.
- Have a conversation with them. Ask for their perspective on the conflict, and find out how their day has been in general. Sometimes, you can better understand a student’s reaction when you look at the bigger picture. Ask them how they feel, and how they could resolve the situation.
- Bring the students together again to discuss things and find a resolution together. Reconciliation is the goal.
Following these simple steps teaches children a framework for resolving conflict and gives them the tools to process strong emotions.
5. Do some friendship-focused activities
An excellent way to promote a positive classroom culture is to do friendship-focused activities with your students:
You could do a Venn diagram activity, where students work in pairs to discuss and write down things they have in common and areas of difference. It’s good to pair students who don’t spend much time together for this activity.
Another positive activity is a 'Honey Roast'. Give students enough squares of paper to have one for each of their classmates. Get them to write their classmates’ names on the paper, and then, on the other side, write down a compliment or something they like about that person, for example, “I like your handwriting”, or “You always use kind words”. Collect the pieces of paper and read out some nice examples to the class. Alternatively, give them directly to the students to read to themselves.
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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.