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 your learners for university study abroad
Whether your learners are going for a single semester, academic year or an entire university course, studying abroad is an excellent opportunity for them. They’ll have the chance to discover a new culture, develop new skills and make new friends.
University study in another country also poses several challenges. But as a teacher, you can equip them for this experience and prepare them for future academic success.
Why study abroad?
Most people think that studying at university is hard enough, without the added difficulty of doing it overseas. But that doesn’t stop hundreds of thousands of university students from leaving the support of family and friends and relocating to a foreign country.
People apply to study in another country for a range of reasons. A university program abroad might offer the student better tuition and a greater promise of future employment or simply represent better value for money. And in the case of very specialist university courses, studying abroad may be the only option.
Whatever the reason, the decision to study in a foreign country is likely to involve a high level of proficiency in another language – and more often than not, that language is English.
A move towards English language in higher education
There has been a significant shift in higher education in the last ten years, as many European institutions look to internationalize their programs. As a result, across Europe, we have seen a sharp growth in the number of university courses taught in English. English-taught bachelor’s programs offered by universities in the European Higher Education Area have multiplied dramatically over the last decade.
What challenges do learners face?
There are a whole range of academic skills that students are expected to know when they start university. From research and evaluation, to note-making and referencing, many learners will enter higher education lacking many of the essential skills they require.
Studying in a foreign language
Not only will they have to master new skills, but they may need to do them in a second language. What’s more, even everyday things that native speakers may take for granted, such as understanding lectures, reading academic papers, writing essays and even socializing with new friends, will take a lot more effort if English isn’t your first language.
There are many potential pitfalls for a student in a new academic setting. From the administrative process and campus regulations to the types of lessons and assessments, there may be a lot of differences to deal with. Even understanding the etiquette of addressing and interacting with professors can be daunting.
Another challenge is integrating into another culture. Even if the host country is culturally similar, adapting to new surroundings is not always straightforward. There can also be a certain amount of ghettoization, where international students might stick together and remain isolated from the local student population.
Feeling homesick can be difficult for international students to deal with. Depending on how far they travel to study, your learners may be unable to return home easily, visit their families and alleviate their homesickness.
Without a grant or a scholarship, studying abroad can be very expensive. If your learners currently live at home with their parents, the cost of accommodation may be formidable. The higher cost of living could mean they have to look for a part-time job to supplement their income. Understanding a country's taxes can also be confusing and hard to calculate into their budget.
What can you do to get your students ready?
All of the challenges mentioned above have one thing in common. If a student cannot communicate effectively, these situations can be exacerbated. Language is key, whether it’s accessing support, communicating with professors or getting to grips with a new culture.
Here are some things you can do to help your learners prepare for university life:
1) Put them in touch with past students
It’s important that your learners have a clear idea of what university study abroad entails. Creating a chance for them to speak to other students who have already gone through that experience can be extremely valuable.
Students who have returned from studying abroad can help with your learners' doubts and put their minds at rest. They might be able to provide essential advice about a specific country or university or simply tell their story. Either way, it’s a great way to reassure and encourage your learners.
2) Use appropriate authentic content
In preparation for your learner’s time abroad, the language course that you teach should align with their future linguistic needs. One of the main aims should be to develop the language skills required to perform successfully and confidently in their new context.
3) Teach them academic study skills
Think back to when you were at university and what you struggled with. Group work, presentations, critical thinking and exam skills are all things which your learners will need to be proficient in, so the more you practice them in class the better.
4) Promote autonomous learning
Success at university is deeply rooted in a student’s ability to work independently and develop practical self-study skills. Giving your learners more choice in the language learning process is one way to encourage autonomy.
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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.