Expressões Idiomáticas com “Head”

img_0102-6Saber usar ou entender expressões idiomáticas em Inglês é importante e difícil.

Seguem algumas explicações e frases com exemplos interessantes.

The following idioms and expressions use the noun ‘head’. Each idiom or expression has a definition and two example sentences to help understanding of these common idiomatic expressions with ‘head’.

able to do something standing on one’s head -> do something very easily and without effort

He’s able to count backward standing on his head.
Don’t worry about that. I can do it standing on my head.

bang your head against a brick wall -> do something without any chance of it succeeding

I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall when it comes to finding a job.
Trying to convince Kevin is like banging your head against a brick wall.

beat something into someone’s head -> teach someone something by repeating it over and over again

Sometimes you just need to beat grammar into your head.
My father beat the importance of kindness into my head.

bite someone’s head off -> criticize someone strongly

Tim bit my head off last night at the party.
Don’t bit my head off just because I made a mistake.

bring something to a head -> cause a crisis to happen

We need to bring the situation to a head to get a resolution.
The immigration situation brought the political crisis to a head.

bury one’s head in the sand -> ignore something completely

You’re going to have to face the situation and not bury your head in the sand.
He chose to bury his head in the sand and not confront her.

can’t make heads or tails out of something -> not be able to understand something

I hate to admit that I can’t make heads or tails out of this math problem.
The politicians can’t make heads or tails out of the current employment crisis. 

drum something into someone’s head -> repeat over and over until someone learns something

I had to drum German grammar into my head for two years before I could speak the language.
I suggest you drum this into your head for the test next week.

fall head over heels in love -> fall deeply in love

She fell head over heals in love with Tom.
Have you ever fallen head over heels in love?

from head to toe -> dressed or covered in something completely

He’s dressed in blue from head to toe.
She’s wearing lace from head to toe. 

get a head start on something -> begin doing something early

Let’s get a head start on the report tomorrow.
She got a head start on her homework immediately after school.

get your head above water -> keep going in life despite many difficulties

If I can find a job I’ll be able to get my head above water.
Study these pages and you’ll get your head above water.

get someone or something out of one’s head -> remove someone or something from your thoughts (often used in the negative)

I’m really upset that I can’t get her out of my head.
She spent three years getting those experiences out of her head.

give someone a head’s start -> let someone else begin before you in  a competition of some kind

I’ll give you twenty minutes head’s start.
Can you give me a head’s start?

go over someone’s head -> not be able to understand something

I’m afraid the joke went over her head.
I’m afraid the situation goes over my head. 

go to someone’s head -> make someone feel better than others

His good grades went to his head.
Don’t let your success go to your head. Stay humble.

have a good head on your shoulders -> be intelligent

She’s got a good head on her shoulders.
You can trust him because he’s got a good head on his shoulders.

head someone or something off -> arrive before someone or something else

Let’s head them off at the pass.
We need to head the problem off.

hit the nail on the head -> be exactly right about something

I think you hit the nail on the head.
His answer hit the nail on the head.

in over one’s head -> do something that is too difficult for a person

I’m afraid Peter is in over his head with Mary.
Do you ever feel that your in over your head?

lose your head -> become nervous or angry

Don’t lose your head over the situation.
She lost her head when he told her he wanted a divorce.

Source: http://esl.about.com/od/idioms-intermediate/fl/Idioms-and-Expressions-with-Head.htm?utm_content=20160927&utm_medium=email&utm_source=exp_nl&utm_campaign=list_esl&utm_term=list_esl

Aprenda Inglês no 2o Semestre

Não desista de seu sonho de falar Inglês

PARA

  • Viajar sozinho ao exterior;
  • Conseguir um emprego melhor;
  • Navegar na Internet com facilidade;
  • Falar com fluência com estrangeiros;
  • Passar num exame de proficiência;
  • Possibilitar aos seus filhos um aprendizado bilíngue;
  • Enfim, curtir um novo aprendizado.

Ainda há tempo. Você merece!

Fale comigo e aprenda no seu ritmo, com uma profissional exclusiva para as suas necessidades.

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Terminology for Reading and Listening

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Reading for gist/Skimming

Reading quickly to get a general understanding of a written text, eg reading a description of a city to find out if it sounds like somewhere you’d like to visit.

Reading for specific information/Scanning

Searching for a particular piece of information in a written text, eg reading a description of a city only to find out which country it’s in.

Reading/listening for detail

Reading or listening more carefully so that you get a full understanding of the text, eg reading a description of a city to find out everything about it.

Listening for gist

Getting a general understanding of something you hear, eg listening to the weather forecast and deciding you might need to take an umbrella when you go out.

Listening for specific information

Listening for a particular piece of information, eg listening to the weather forecast to find out what the temperature will be tomorrow.

Inferring meaning

Making guesses about what is not stated explicitly in a text, eg listening or reading a conversation and deciding that the people are brother and sister without them saying so.

Coherence

Organising ideas in a logical way when speaking or writing so that the listener or reader can follow our ideas.

Cohesion

Joining sentences together using words like and, but and because so our language flows more easily.

Interactive strategies

Strategies we use when we are speaking, eg showing you are listening to other people by saying things like, mmmm or uh-uh or oh!

Turn taking

An interactive strategy which is about knowing when you can join in a conversation and signalling when you think someone else should speak.

Fluency

For speaking; this is speaking without a lot of hesitation and too many long pauses. For writing; this means you can write without stopping for a long time to think about what to write.

Benefícios de se estudar na 3a idade

  
Há muitos benefícios de estudar para os alunos idosos, como o aumento da auto-confiança, aumento das sensações de saúde e bem-estar, redução de sentimentos de isolamento e maior envolvimento na comunidade.

Muitos idosos desejam estudar uma língua estrangeira e agora há provas substanciais de que eles podem aprender um novo idioma de forma eficaz. Minha experiência é que os alunos seniores são excelentes alunos de idiomas para uma série de razões.

Experiência de vida

alunos idosos têm uma riqueza de experiência de vida e quando trazem isso para a sala de aula, enriquecem a experiência de aprendizagem de toda a classe. Professores comentam que os alunos mais velhos são excelentes na sala de aula, pois estão sempre dispostos a falar sobre suas experiências e dar as suas opiniões sobre uma vasta gama de tópicos.

Grande motivação

Alunos seniores normalmente não precisa de um certificado, diploma ou crédito universidade; sua motivação é intrínseca. Eles podem estudar por prazer intelectual, para socializar com seus pares ou porque é algo que sempre quiseram fazer. Na verdade, os alunos seniores são muitas vezes mais altamente motivados do que os estudantes mais jovens. O nível elevado de motivação é uma grande vantagem que foi identificada como um dos factores mais importantes na determinação de aprendizagem de línguas. A motivação dos alunos seniores é refletida pelo fato de que eles raramente perdem uma aula, participam de forma muito ativa na sala de aula e sempre fazem sua lição de casa.

Elemento social

Descobrimos que existe uma forte componente social em idosos que frequentam aulas de inglês. Eles costumam assistir às aulas para se misturar com os seus pares, formando amizades muito fortes e socializando depois da aula e até mesmo em seu tempo livre.

Atitude

Nossa experiência é que os alunos seniores têm uma atitude extremamente positiva em relação à aprendizagem de línguas e da vida em geral. Eles tratam ambos os seus professores e seus colegas com o maior respeito e cortesia. Professores costumam comentar sobre alunos seniores como gentis, atenciosos e trabalhadores e  que é um prazer. 

Portanto, a nossa experiência é que a experiência de vida, a motivação para aprender, e atitude positiva dos alunos seniores proporcionam -lhes muitas vantagens como estudantes de línguas. 

No entanto, existem fatores cognitivos, afetivos e fisiológicos que podem afetar a aprendizagem de línguas depois da 3a idade e a isso precisamos ficar atentos. 

 

Autor:

Kieran Donaghy

© BBC World Service, Bush House, Strand, Londres WC2B 4PH, UK

5 maneiras de identificar se uma escola é realmente bilíngue

  

Atualmente, na área da Educação, a expressão educação bilíngue está em alta e, infelizmente, muitas escolas utilizam o termo inadequadamente por desconhecimento ou tática de marketing, afinal, qual é o pai que não gostaria de ter um filho fluente em dois idiomas?

Entretanto, não basta uma escola intitular-se bilíngue para, de fato, ser. Como atualmente não existe uma legislação específica que determine se uma escola é bilíngue, é importante que pais estejam cientes sobre como identificar se a escola se enquadra na definição.

1- Não basta escolas aumentarem a carga horária.
O ensino bilíngue consiste no ensino EM um segundo idioma e não DE um idioma, em diferentes graus de imersão. Ou seja, não basta a escola ter aulas de inglês todos os dias da semana para considerar-se bilíngue.

2- Não há tradução em educação bilíngue.
Quem faz tradução são cursos de idioma ou aulas de idiomas dentro de uma escola tradicional. Se seu filho demonstrar sempre que aprendeu que apple é maçã, que car é carro e que tree é árvore, pode tratar-se de um sinal de alerta. Em uma aula bilíngue, mesmo que as crianças que estejam em processo inicial de aprendizado perguntem à professora ou professor “mas o que é apple?”, o professor nunca responderá “maçã”. Ele poderá mostrar uma maçã e dizer: “This is an apple!” ou então “Apple is a delicious red fruit every child loves!”

3- A formação dos professores é diferenciada.
Outros fatores que os pais devem analisar são o currículo e a experiência dos professores. Em qualquer profissão isso é importante, mas escolas bilíngues sérias, além de recrutarem profissionais capacitados e experientes, investem na carreira de seus funcionários, com cursos de especialização, palestras e participação em convenções para atualização e aprimoramento no nível do ensino.
Professores bilíngues geralmente têm vivência no exterior, podem ou não ser nativos, mas são profissionais atualizados, que possuem não somente fluência no idioma, mas amplo conhecimento nas características sócio-culturais do país origem do idioma, conforme já mencionei aqui.

4- Não somente aulas são em Inglês, mas o ambiente como um todo.
Os melhores resultados na educação bilíngue são vistos quando instituições transformam a escola em um ambiente bilíngue, ou seja, não importa qual o nível de imersão utilizado, perguntas e respostas entre alunos e professores são feitas em inglês.
Inclusive quando professores conversam com pais, geralmente eles perguntam se os pais falam inglês e, caso a resposta seja positiva, as conversas também são em inglês.

Apesar de não ser uma regra, quando a própria equipe conversa em inglês entre si – e não somente na frente dos alunos – o processo de aprendizado é melhorado e o nível da qualidade do inglês dos professores aumenta. A regra é simples: quanto maior a utilização do idioma, melhor será sua qualidade.

5- Escolas são transparentes e não escondem seus métodos.
Geralmente as escolas genuinamente bilíngues oferecem um tour aos pais para averiguarem os itens citados acima, desta forma, em uma visita pela instituição é possível ver como as crianças conversam entre si, como funcionários conversam entre si e se os professores utilizam um nível mínimo de imersão.
Caso esta iniciativa não parta da escola, cabe aos pais solicitarem esta visita de observação e também buscar referências externas, como avaliações na Internet, opiniões de outros pais que tenham alunos na escola e conversas com crianças que estudem há alguns anos na escola. Crianças com um ou dois anos de estudo em escola bilíngue, mesmo que tenham apenas três anos de idade, já despertam espanto em adultos pela fluência com que falam neste segundo idioma.
Afinal, nenhuma propaganda fala mais alto que uma criança bilíngue.

Texto adaptado da Autora: Letícia Pimentel

  

18 Behaviors of Emotionally Intelligent People

 Emotional intelligence is a huge driver of success. It is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.
1. You have a robust emotional vocabulary

All people experience emotions, but it is a select few who can accurately identify them as they occur. Our research shows that only 36 percent of people can do this, which is problematic because unlabeled emotions often go misunderstood, which leads to irrational choices and counterproductive actions.
2. You’re curious about people

It doesn’t matter if they’re introverted or extroverted, emotionally intelligent people are curious about everyone around them. This curiosity is the product of empathy, one of the most significant gateways to a high EQ. The more you care about other people and what they’re going through, the more curiosity you’re going to have about them.
3. You embrace change

Emotionally intelligent people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. They look for change that is lurking just around the corner, and they form a plan of action should these changes occur.
4. You know your strengths and weaknesses

Emotionally intelligent people don’t just understand emotions; they know what they’re good at and what they’re terrible at. They also know who pushes their buttons and the environments (both situations and people) that enable them to succeed. Having a high EQ means you know your strengths and how to lean into and use them to your full advantage while keeping your weaknesses from holding you back.
5. You’re a good judge of character

Much of emotional intelligence comes down to social awareness; the ability to read other people, know what they’re about, and understand what they’re going through. Over time, this skill makes you an exceptional judge of character. People are no mystery to you. You know what they’re all about and understand their motivations, even those that lie hidden beneath the surface.
6. You are difficult to offend

If you have a firm grasp of who you are, it’s difficult for someone to say or do something that gets your goat. Emotionally intelligent people are self-confident and open-minded, which creates a pretty thick skin. You may even poke fun at yourself or let other people make jokes about you because you are able to mentally draw the line between humor and degradation.
7. You know how to say no (to yourself and others)

Emotional intelligence means knowing how to exert self-control. You delay gratification and avoid impulsive action. Research conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Saying no is a major self-control challenge for many people, but “No” is a powerful word that you should unafraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.
8. You let go of mistakes

Emotionally intelligent people distance themselves from their mistakes, but do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success. It takes refined self-awareness to walk this tightrope between dwelling and remembering. Dwelling too long on your mistakes makes you anxious and gun shy, while forgetting about them completely makes you bound to repeat them. The key to balance lies in your ability to transform failures into nuggets of improvement. This creates the tendency to get right back up every time you fall down.
9. You give and expect nothing in return

When someone gives you something spontaneously, without expecting anything in return, this leaves a powerful impression. For example, you might have an interesting conversation with someone about a book, and when you see them again a month later, you show up with the book in hand. Emotionally intelligent people build strong relationships because they are constantly thinking about others.
10. You don’t hold grudges

The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Just thinking about the event sends your body into fight-or-flight mode, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. When the threat is imminent, this reaction is essential to your survival, but when the threat is ancient history, holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time. In fact, researchers at Emory University have shown that holding onto stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all costs. Letting go of a grudge not only makes you feel better now but can also improve your health.
11. You neutralize toxic people

Dealing with difficult people is frustrating and exhausting for most. But high-EQ individuals control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. They identify their own emotions and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They also consider the difficult person’s standpoint and are able to find solutions and common ground. Even when things completely derail, emotionally intelligent people are able to take the toxic person with a grain of salt to avoid letting him or her bring them down.
12. You don’t seek perfection

Emotionally intelligent people won’t set perfection as their target because they know that it doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure that makes you want to give up or reduce your effort. You end up spending time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and should have done differently instead of moving forward, excited about what you’ve achieved and what you will accomplish in the future.
13. You appreciate what you have

Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the right thing to do; it also improves your mood by reducing the stress hormone cortisol (in some cases by 23 percent). Research conducted at the University of California, Davis, found that people who work daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experience improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol play a major role in this.
14. You disconnect

Taking regular time off the grid is a sign of a high EQ because it helps you to keep your stress under control and to live in the moment. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even–gulp!–turning off your phone gives your body and mind a break. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels. Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email with the power to bring your thinking (read: stressing) back to work can drop onto your phone at any moment.
15. You limit your caffeine intake

Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, which is the primary source of a fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response to ensure survival. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyper-aroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. Caffeine’s long half-life ensures you stay this way as it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body. High-EQ individuals know that caffeine is trouble, and they don’t let it get the better of them.
16. You get enough sleep

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams) so that you wake up alert and clearheaded. High-EQ individuals know that their self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when they don’t get enough–or the right kind–of sleep. So, they make sleep a top priority.
17. You stop negative self-talk in its tracks

The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that–thoughts, not facts. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural tendency to perceive threats (inflating the frequency or severity of an event). Emotionally intelligent people separate their thoughts from the facts in order to escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive, new outlook.
18. You won’t let anyone limit your joy

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from the opinions of other people, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something they’ve done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or snide remarks take that away from them. While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within.

Time magazine – Feb. 16

Hamlet character and plot summary

Today there is another one of Shakespeare´s most famous play, Hamlet.

There have been more than fifty film versions of Hamlet since 1900. A few of the most famous are:

Hamlet (1948)
This version was directed by and starred the famous English actor, Sir Laurence Olivier and was the first British film to win an Oscar. Olivier adapted the play and reduced its length to about two hours.

Hamlet (1990)
Director Franco Zeffirelli made the decision to cast Mel Gibson, better known for his roles in action films like Mad Max and Lethal Weapon, as Hamlet. Again, the film adapted the play to make it an acceptable length for cinema.

Hamlet (1996)
Actor/director Kenneth Branagh assembled an all-star cast for thisunabridged version of the play. The film is often mentioned as one of the best Shakespeare film versions ever made.

As well as filmed versions of the play, there have been several films based on the story of Hamlet.

The Bad Sleep Well (Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru) (1960)
Famous Japanese director Akira Kurosawa directed this story of a young man joining a powerful company to try to expose the men responsible for the death of his father.

The Lion King (1994)
The king is murdered by his brother. The king’s ghost tells his son to challenge the wicked uncle. Does this sound familiar? Of course this Disney version does not have Hamlet’s tragic ending.

Watch the video

Here is a link to watch the video with subtitles about the story

https://view.vzaar.com/5655672/download

THE MAIN CHARACTERS

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Hamlet discovers that his father, the old King of Denmark, was murdered by his uncle, Claudius. Hamlet plans to kill Claudius in revenge, which he does at the end of the play. But Hamlet is wounded in the fight, and dies as well.

Claudius
Claudius murders his brother, the old king of Denmark, by putting poison in his ear. Claudius marries his dead brother’s wife, the queen. Claudius becomes king of Denmark himself. But Hamlet, Claudius’s nephew, finds out what he has done, and kills him.

Hamlet’s mother
Hamlet’s mother, the queen of Denmark, marries her brother-in-law, Claudius. She does not realise that Claudius murdered her husband. She dies by drinking poisoned wine.

Ophelia
Ophelia is Hamlet’s girlfriend. But Hamlet rejects her, and she kills herself.

Polonius
Polonius is King Claudius’s adviser, and is asked to spy on Hamlet. Hamlet kills him by accident.

Laertes
Laertes is Ophelia’s brother. He blames Hamlet for Ophelia’s suicide. At the end of the play, he fights and kills Hamlet. But he is wounded in the fight, and also dies.

© British Council

I hope you have enjoyed learning about it.

Thank you.

How to Write a Lesson Plan: 5 Secrets of Writing Great Lesson Plans

How To Proceed

  1. 1

    Warm up
    A warm up activity can be used in a number of ways. It can get your students thinking about material that will be used later on in the class, review material from a previous class, or simply get your students thinking in English, moving around, or awake. This activity should only take up a small portion of your lesson, perhaps five minutes.

  2. 2

    Introduction
    A good introduction will create a need for students to learn the material you are going to present and get them interested in the day’s topic. This is the part of the lesson where the teacher does the most talking so try to get students involved and use choral repetition to keep students talking about half the time. Depending on how complex the topic is or how much new vocabulary there is, the introduction could take some time but in most cases, about ten minutes should be sufficient.

  3. 3

    Practice
    The practice activity would normally be about ten minutes and have students working individually or in pairs. Practicing model dialogues, completing worksheets, and doing short activities would be appropriate. This may take about ten minutes including going over the answers or having some demonstrations.

  4. 4

    Production
    In the production activity students should have to produce material on their own. Rather than reading sentences, perhaps they have to answer questions or make their own sentences. Longer activities such as board games, which can be played in groups, or activities for the whole class, where students work in teams, would be best. The remaining class time can be devoted to this activity.

  5. 5

    Review
    It is a good idea to plan another five minute activity that can be done at the end of class as a review or used as the warm up in the following lesson. If the production activity does not take up the remaining portion of the class period, you have a backup plan.

Read the full article at http://busyteacher.org/3753-how-to-write-a-lesson-plan-5-secrets.html

What to consider when planning courses

This is part of a lesson from British Council which I am attending at the moment. A great course for ELT teachers.

It’s important for any to have an overview and scheme of work for the whole course. Otherwise, you’ll end up working from day to day, and it’ll be hard to see whether you’re covering everything that needs to be covered.

What do you need to consider when planning your course? First of all, there are lots of ‘external’ factors. You’ll definitely need to think about the syllabus and the end of course exam, if there is one. You may have a textbook which you have to use. Last but not least, there are the learners; you need to consider their needs, interests and motivations.

There will certainly need to be variety, both in terms of topic and in terms of language skills. For example, across the course is there enough listening, writing, vocabulary input overall? Are the lessons too heavily biased towards grammar? In short, you have to think carefully about these two questions:

  1. What will I teach?
  2. In what order will I teach these items?

You might then go on to include the resources and materials you will use, for example coursebook pages or additional materials.

Now we’d like to hear your ideas on course planning:

  • What do you need to consider when planning your courses?
  • How do you approach course planning?

Watch the full article at

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/english-language-teaching/1/steps/45544

Speaking English at home – Helping your child

Introduction

For the most part, it is parents who teach their young children to speak their home language. Throughout the first two years of life, it is often the mother’s voice and her special way of talking, called ‘parentese’, that teaches young children about language and how to talk.

Parents, even with a basic knowledge of English, can successfully support their young child learning English by re-using and adjusting many of these same parentese techniques.

Parents may worry about their accent in English. Young children have a remarkable ability to alter their accent to match the English of their surroundings. Young children need to feel ‘I can speak English’ and ‘I like English’ and their parents’ support can help them achieve this from their first lessons.

Read the notes below on speaking English at home. You can also download these notes as a booklet. Right-click on the link below to download the booklet to your computer. You may print this booklet.

Why parents’ help is best

  • Parents can focus on their child, spending some one-to-one time with them.
  • Parents can fit English sessions into any part of their day to suit their child and themselves.
  • Parents can regulate the length of an English session and select activities to fit their child’s needs, interests and ability to concentrate.
  • Parents know their child intimately and can intuitively judge the type of English talking suitable for their individual ways of picking up language.
  • Parents can best interpret their child’s moods and respond to them. Children have days when they eagerly absorb language and others when they find it difficult to concentrate.
  • Parents can introduce more fun, as they are working with an individual, not a class.
  • Parents can introduce English culture into family life, so broadening their child’s outlook and understanding of their own culture as well as things English.

What is parentese language?

‘Parentese’ is a form of talking that tunes into and adjusts to a young child’s language, providing dialogue with the child and shepherding them to their next level of competence. Women appear to be innate users of parentese; some men seem to find it more difficult unless they can centre their talk around specific objects – a picture book or a game. However, children – especially boys – need male role models as men use language differently. Men tend to take a more technical approach to using language and ‘chatter’ less.

Parents, using a softer, caring voice and simpler language, unconsciously shepherd their young child through an activity by:

  • a running commentary (talking aloud) on what is going on: ‘Let’s put it here.’ ‘There.’ ‘Look. I’ve put it on the table.’ ‘Which one do you like?’ [pause] ‘Oh, I like this one.’ ‘The red one’
  • repeating useful language more often than in adult talk: repetition introduced naturally helps the child to confirm what they are picking up – it is not boring for the child, even if it is for the parent
  • reflecting back what their child has said and enlarging it: Child: ‘Yellow’; Parent: ‘You like the yellow one.’ ‘Here it is.’ ‘Here’s the yellow one.’ ‘Let’s see. yellow, red and here’s the brown one.’ ‘I like the brown one, do you?’ [pause]
  • talking more slowly and stressing new words naturally without altering the melody of the language. ‘Which rhyme shall we say today?’ ‘ You choose.’ [pause for child to select]
  • using the same phrases each time to manage English sessions as well as activities and games. As children’s understanding increases, these basic phrases are enlarged: ‘Let’s play Simon says.’ ‘Stand there.’ ‘In front of me.’ ‘That’s right.’ ‘Are you ready?’
  • adding facial expression and gesture to aid understanding
  • using eye contact in one-to-one exchanges to reassure and also to encourage a hesitant child to speak
  • pausing for a longer time as children need to think about what they hear before they are ready to reply. When speaking is still limited, exaggerated pauses can add fun or hold interest in a game.

Some parents find it embarrassing to dramatise and use parentese. However, for the child, it makes picking up English easier as they are familiar with these natural ‘mini-lessons’ in their home language. Once young children begin to speak, parents innately feel less need to use parentese, except when introducing new language or activities.

Using English

By using simple English with plenty of repetition, parents help their child to begin thinking in English during activities where they feel secure and can predict what is going to happen, like games or ‘rhyme times’.

Young children want to be able to talk in English about:
• themselves and what they like: ‘I like; I don’t like… yuk’
• what they have done: ‘I went to; I saw…; I ate…’
• how they and others feel: ‘I am sad; she’s cross …’

Parents can help by sharing picture books or making their own books using drawings or photographs.

Young children learning their home language become skilled in transferring a little language to many situations: ‘All gone.’ If adults transfer English phrases in the same way, young children soon copy them.

When children need to practise school English, use phrases like ‘What’s your name?’ ‘How old are you?’ ‘What’s this?’ ‘That’s a pencil.’ Parents can turn this into a fun activity by using a toy that speaks only English, asking it the questions and pretending to make it answer.

As young children become more competent speakers, they may include a word in their home language within an English phrase ‘He’s eating a (…)’ because they do not yet know the English word. If the adult repeats the phrase back using only English, the child can pick up the English word. ‘He’s eating a plum.’ ‘A plum.’

When to translate

Young children’s ability to understand should not be underestimated; they understand much more than they can say in English. In their home language young children are used to understanding only some of the words they hear and filling in the rest from the speaker’s body language and clues around them to get meaning. Where parentese is used, they appear to transfer these skills to working out the meaning in English.

When both new concepts and new language are introduced at the same time, it may be necessary to give a quick translation once, using a whisper, followed directly by the English. If translation is given more than once and again in following sessions, a child may get used to waiting for the translation instead of using his or her own clues to understand the English.

English sessions

English sessions may last from just a few minutes up to about ten and can take place once or twice a day, depending on circumstances. The more frequently English is used, the quicker it is absorbed.

During English sessions parents need to focus on their child without any interruptions. Young children come to love English sessions, because for them English is a special time with their parent’s undivided attention.

Young children are logical thinkers: they need to have a reason for speaking English, since both they and their parents can speak the home language.

They may find it difficult to switch from their home language into English, so it is important to set the scene: ‘In three minutes we are going to have our English time.’ Setting the scene for English time might involve moving to a special place in the room: ‘Let’s sit on the sofa. Now, let’s talk in English.’ Warming up in English by counting or saying a familiar rhyme also helps to switch into English before introducing some new activity.

Children pick up language when the talk is based around an activity in which they are physically involved. If they have already been introduced to the activity in their home language and understood the content, they feel more secure and can concentrate on understanding and picking up the accompanying English.

Where sessions are in only English, activities need to be shorter since children’s attention span is generally not as long as in the home language. Listening only to English can be tiring.

Encouragement and praise

Young children look for their parents’ praise. They need to feel good, and know they are making progress in English. Continuous positive support, encouragement and praise from both mother and father, as well as the extended family, helps to build up self-confidence and motivate. In the early stages of learning, encouragement is especially important and praise for any small success motivates. ‘That’s good.’ ‘I like that.’ ‘Well done!’

Starting off in English is the time when young children need parents’ support the most. Once they are able to speak, recite rhymes and have memorised some stories, the support need no longer be so intensive. By this stage, English phrases, rhymes and stories are likely to have been playfully transferred into family life. In-family English can be bonding and is likely to stay. This can be the beginning of positive lifelong attitudes to English and other cultures. It is now generally accepted that lifelong attitudes are laid down in early childhood before the age of eight or nine.

http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/parents/articles/speaking-english-home