If you want your child to learn another language, you need to provide a fun and happy environment to make the learning a good experience.
Young children learn in an integrated way and not in neat, tidy compartments. A child making shapes out of plasticine is learning maths (shape) and art (texture, shape, design, colour), building fine motor skills (physical development), and hearing or using language to describe shapes, colour, texture, materials and techniques (English). The activity drives the need to communicate.
Young children will learn a language better when they see a genuine need for communication, which is often the language they are hearing or using while they are doing an activity that they enjoy.
While adults can plan a range a activities to enhance the learning experience, not all of them will be motivating for every child. Children more likely to be motivated if the activity or experience is meaningful to them. Taking time to get to know the children and finding out what they are interested in is essential if you want to motivate them and help them learn.
The interactions you have with a child while they are engaged in an activity help develop language and communication in context, making the language learning more memorable and authentic.
Rhymes, songs and chants help children memorise words and sentence structure, and they also help with pronunciation, expression and the rhythm of sentences. Children learn their home language by playing with language in this way, and it’s a fun way for them to learn another language too!
A good story takes children to an imaginary world filled with characters and events that will make them want to find out what happens in the end, and that they will want to hear again, join in retelling, and even retell in their own words. Illustrations and actions help children understand descriptions of characters and events, because they can connect what they are seeing and doing with the language in the story.
Giving clear, simple instructions in English with accompanying actions, gestures or demonstrations is more likely to result in children understanding. Children love copying – the teacher, their parents, older siblings or friends – and will often join in after observing how something is done. Including routines is also a useful way of helping young children understand what is expected of them (e.g. every time we sit on the mat we will hear a story or sing a song). Children may not understand straight away, but giving instructions in English is an excellent way of reinforcing key language, so in the long run it’s worth the effort.
Play is fun, all children love playing, and children learn so much through play without even realising it. So we need to give children time to play, not just ten minutes when they finish their ‘work’.
When children play, they are experimenting with ideas, testing hypotheses, mastering skills, using their imaginations and representing their world. If you cut out play when teaching English you are removing a vital step in childhood development.
Here are a few examples of the different types of things children are learning and developing as they play.
- When playing with plasticine children develop their fine motor skills. Children are working on hand-eye coordination and building up the muscles in their hands and fingers when modelling plasticine. These are valuable pre-writing skills, as good muscle strength and hand-eye coordination will help children hold and use writing tools properly later on. By playing with plasticine, children are also experimenting with things like colour, shape and texture.
- When playing with dolls and a tub of waterthey are learning about the concepts of wet and dry, floating and sinking, clean and dirty. They are also engaging in sensory play, and experimenting with the way water feels.
- When playing with musical instrumentschildren are developing sound recognition (the sounds that different instruments make and an understanding of how sounds can change (e.g. high, low, soft, loud, fast slow) and an appreciation of music. These valuable listening skills are transferable to the area of language and communication.
- When playing with transport toys, children are experimenting with friction and motion, up and down, forwards and backwards, fast and slow.
- When children are playing with blocks, they are learning about colour, shape and patterns, as well as the concepts of weight, size, height, length, vertical and horizontal.
- In dramatic play and small world play(acting out scenes from real life, stories and/or imagination created with small figures and objects) children are representing ideas that help them make sense of the world around them. They can also experiment with playing different roles and inventing different scenarios, taking them beyond the real world and developing their imagination.
What do you think?
- How important do you think it is to give children time to play?
- How do you think play can help a child’s language development?
© British Council
Aprender em um segundo idioma pode ser desafiador, mas como o professor pode fazer uma grande diferença. Veja um resumo das principais ideias.
1- A linguagem é mais do que vocabulário, gramática e ortografia. É moldado por discursos, convenções de gênero e contexto.
2- Os estudantes precisam controlar tanto o registro interpessoal cotidiano quanto o registro acadêmico mais formal para obter sucesso na escola.
3- Os alunos de idiomas virão de várias circunstâncias com uma variedade de recursos, por isso, não faça suposições sobre suas necessidades.
4- Não o deixe em osmose – planeje o aprendizado de idiomas, bem como o aprendizado do currículo.
5- Mantenha o foco em fazer sentido, não em correção.
Incentivar a repetição, reciclagem e redundância.
Use recursos visuais e gestos para apoiar os alunos de idiomas.
6- Em seus recursos de conversação e sala de aula, busque “mais compreensibilidatde”.
7- Receba as primeiras línguas dos seus alunos na sala de aula.
8- Planeje diferentes espaços e atividades para diferentes tipos de conversa.
9- Dê aos alunos de idiomas um pouco mais de tempo de espera.
10- Entenda as demandas específicas de idioma da sua área de currículo.
11- Construa o ciclo de gênero em seu planejamento de aula.
12- Deixe os alunos entrarem no mundo das convenções de gênero.
13- Use o feedback sobre o trabalho dos alunos como uma oportunidade para o aprendizado de idiomas.
15- Observe como os alunos de sua língua estão progredindo e planeje o próximo estágio.
© Universidade de Glasgow
Learning in a second language can be challenging, but a language-aware teacher can make a big difference. Here’s a summary of the main ideas.
- Language is more than vocabulary, grammar and spelling. It is shaped by discourses, genre conventions and context.
- Students need control of both the everyday interpersonal register and the more formal academic register to succeed in school.
- Language learners will come from a variety of circumstances with a variety of resources, so don’t make assumptions about their needs.
- Don’t leave it to osmosis – plan for language learning as well as curriculum learning.
- Keep the focus on making meaning, not on correctness.
- Encourage repetition, recycling and redundancy.
- Use visuals and gestures to support language learners.
- In your talk and classroom resources, aim for ‘comprehensibility plus’.
- Welcome your students’ first languages into the classroom.
- Plan different spaces and activities for different types of talk.
- Give language learners a bit more wait time.
- Understand the particular language demands of your curriculum area.
- Build the genre cycle into your lesson planning.
- Let students into the secrets of genre conventions.
- Use feedback on students’ work as an opportunity for language learning.
- Observe how your language learners are progressing, and plan for the next stage.
© University of Glasgow
- Children can really learn a language if they are playing.
- Never force a child to speak, they will when they are ready.
- Children learn best when they are interested in something.
- Children pick up languages best if there is a context and reason to use it.
Young children learn through their senses with a trial and error approach. While gradually learning boundaries and expectations is important, it is totally normal for very young children not to behave in the way that an adult expects. By observing children and really tuning into their interests, we can plan activities and experiences that are age-appropriate and engaging. When children are engaged in motivating and meaningful activities, their ‘behaviour’ is less of an issue.
When we assess a young child, we are asking ourselves “What do my observations tell me about this child?”Assessment is about analysing our observations and understanding the potential of each child.
When a child learns something new or develops a new skill, we often call this a ‘magic’ or a ‘wow’ moment. Observation and really knowing the child are key to recognising these developmental milestones. We can plan the next steps for a child’s learning after we have observed a developmental milestone.
All young children are learning something, and assessment in early childhood means analysing what a child can do. Comparing a child to his or her classmates is not useful, as it doesn’t tell us anything about what individual progress a child has made (what they knew or could do before, what they know and can do now). Assessment in early childhood is about helping children move forward in their learning and development, and labelling a child ‘intelligent’ doesn’t help them make progress in any way. To give a child confidence, it is more useful to comment on a specific thing they have done well, rather than give them a generic label.
Children should be assessed in a genuine situation rather than through a contrived, adult-led test. Asking a child to count is not a reliable way of gathering information, as the child may become anxious when asked to ‘perform’, may not understand why they are being asked to count, or may not feel confident enough to share what they can do, even though they actually do know how to count. By observing the children while they are playing, the teacher sees that, as well as being able to count to five, the child also knows the colours blue and pink. Had the focus of the assessment just been on counting, the teacher might have missed this.
Spending time with children, and observing what they know and can do, will help you provide the right amount of challenge and support. For a child who is learning English, this could be knowing their favourite story or song and encouraging them to join in with key refrains, observing that they understand the words for different toys in English and encouraging them to say some of these words, or modelling key language associated with a particular activity.
© British Council
Existem várias formas de ajudar a uma criança no seu desenvolvimento de vocabulário em inglês. Abaixo seguem algumas dessas ideias
You will notice quite a rich and varied vocabulary. We wouldn’t be expecting a child to produce this kind of language, especially if English is an additional language, but the adult can expose the child to this language, inputting key words and expressions associated with different activities in a fun and natural way. Remember that children like playing with words, even if they don’t know what the word means, and this is a valuable opportunity to work on pronunciation.
Children will reap the future benefits of this language rich environment, so closely connected to the activities that they love doing.
Playing with blocks
- use language for counting and sorting: How many are there? Shall we put the blue ones here?
- use positional language: in, on, under, below, behind, next to
- explore language related to size: big, small, long, short
- describe what a child is doing while playing: finding, stacking, pulling, pushing, building, pressing, dragging
- describe shapes and objects the children are making: square, rectangle, tower, house, castle, garden
Dress-ups (and drama)
- describe the costumes (fairy, princess, pirate, king, clown) and actions for getting dressed: put on, pull up/down, zip up, do the buttons up, unbutton, unzip
- highlight the relevant parts of the body: put your arms through here, tie this around your waist/wrist, put these on your feet – first your left foot, then your right foot, put this over your head
- use nursery rhymes and stories to model language for imaginary play
- develop listening comprehension by encouraging the children act out the rhyme or story in their costumes
- extend vocabulary associated with role-play: hospital, airport, artist’s studio, garden centre, vet, doctor, routines (breakfast/lunch/dinner/bed time)
Making and decorating (art and craft)
- name the materials: paint, paintbrush, crayon, felt-tip, marker, card, paper, crepe paper, shiny paper, tissue paper, newspaper, glue, scissors, cotton wool, fabric, sequins, feathers
- describe properties and textures of materials: runny, thick, smooth, hard, long, short, spiky, rough, shiny
- experiment with and describe colour
- use instructions: paint, draw, colour, smudge, blur, blow, copy, pour, make, cut, stick, decorate, hang (it) up
- art appreciation and describing what the children have made, painted or drawn.
Malleable materials (dough, plasticine, clay)
- use language of manipulation: push, pull, drop, squeeze, press, bend, twist, roll, stretch, squash, squish, pinch, flatten, poke, scrape, break apart
- describe length/thickness: longer than, shorter than, the same length as
- use language related to colour and smells
- describe texture: soft, hard, squishy, lumpy, grainy, shiny
- talk about materials that can be added to dough: feathers, sticks, twigs, shells
- explore language related to shapes
Music and movement activities
- use language related to actions, position and parts of the body: put your hands up in the air, draw circles in the air, touch your nose, wriggle your fingers, jump, hop, lie face down on the floor, lie on your back, move over there, come closer, curl up into a ball, stretch your arms out as wide as you can, take a nap
- name musical instruments: shaker, drum, recorder, xylophone, block, triangle, bell, tambourine
- use language to describe sounds: loud, quiet, soft, high, low, long, short, fast, slow, tap, shake, scrape, knock, tick, hum, howl
- familiarise children with a range of sounds through onomatopoeia
- use songs and rhymes to work on pronunciation, rhythm, stress and intonation
Toys and small world play
- extend vocabulary related to a particular topic: park, zoo, farm, hospital, transport
- comment on the objects, toys or figurines the children are playing with
- comment on the settings, scenes, themes or storylines children are developing as they play
- describe the position of the things the children are playing with: behind, next to, in, on, under
- describe the pictures and colours on the puzzles
- comment on the shape of the puzzle pieces: rectangle, square, triangle, circle
- comment on the position of the puzzle pieces: up/down, here/there
- encourage the social aspects of using puzzles: take turns, it’s your turn next, share
Sand play and water play
- use language related to equipment and resources: brush, spade, scoop, spoon, cup, jug, bucket, sieve, cutters, rake, comb, funnel, sponge, soap, bubbles, straw, ladle, tea pot, watering can
- extend vocabulary related to imaginary play: boats, diggers, bulldozers, tractors, treasure, dinosaurs, pirates, gardens, tea party, firefighter, plumber, dolls
- use descriptive language: wet, dry, damp, gritty, hard, lumpy, flat, smooth, wavy, sticky, cold, frozen, clean, dirty
- use language related to size, shape and position
- describe capacity and quantity: enough, more, less, too much/little, overflowing, how much/many? a pile/cup of…
- describe actions or what is happening: it’s fallen down, it’s gone, flatten, pour, tip, fill, scoop, cover, stir, splash, leak, drip, float, sink, trickle, spray, wash, dry.
© British Council
Young children are natural language acquirers; they are self-motivated to pick up language without conscious learning, unlike adolescents and adults. They have the ability to imitate pronunciation and work out the rules for themselves. Any idea that learning to talk in English is difficult does not occur to them unless it’s suggested by adults, who themselves probably learned English academically at a later age through grammar-based text books.
Read the notes below about young children learning English as another language. 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.
The advantages of beginning early
- Young children are still using their individual, innate language-learning strategies to acquire their home language and soon find they can also use these strategies to pick up English.
- Young children have time to learn through play-like activities. They pick up language by taking part in an activity shared with an adult. They firstly make sense of the activity and then get meaning from the adult’s shared language.
- Young children have more time to fit English into the daily programme. School programmes tend to be informal and children’s minds are not yet cluttered with facts to be stored and tested. They may have little or no homework and are less stressed by having to achieve set standards.
- Children who have the opportunity to pick up a second language while they are still young appear to use the same innate language-learning strategies throughout life when learning other languages. Picking up third, fourth, or even more languages is easier than picking up a second.
- Young children who acquire language rather than consciously learn it, as older children and adults have to, are more likely to have better pronunciation and feel for the language and culture. When monolingual children reach puberty and become more self-conscious, their ability to pick up language diminishes and they feel they have to consciously study English through grammar-based programmes. The age at which this change occurs depends greatly on the individual child’s developmental levels as well as the expectations of their society.
Stages in picking up English
Spoken language comes naturally before reading and writing.
When babies learn their home language, there is a ‘silent period’, when they look and listen and communicate through facial expression or gestures before they begin to speak. When young children learn English, there may be a similar ‘silent period’ when communication and understanding may take place before they actually speak any English words.
During this time parents should not force children to take part in spoken dialogue by making them repeat words. Spoken dialogues should be one-sided, the adult’s talk providing useful opportunities for the child to pick up language. Where the adult uses parentese (an adjusted form of speech) to facilitate learning, the child may use many of the same strategies they used in learning their home language.
Beginning to talk
After some time, depending on the frequency of English sessions, each child (girls often more quickly than boys) begins to say single words (‘cat’, ‘house’) or ready-made short phrases (‘What’s that?’, ‘It’s my book’, ‘I can’t’, ‘That’s a car’, ‘Time to go home’) in dialogues or as unexpected statements. The child has memorised them, imitating the pronunciation exactly without realising that some may consist of more than one word. This stage continues for some time as they child picks up more language using it as a short cut to dialogue before they are ready to create their own phrases.
Building up English language
Gradually children build up phrases consisting of a single memorised word to which they add words from their vocabulary (‘a dog’, ‘a brown dog’, ‘a brown and black dog’) or a single memorised language to which they add their own input (‘That’s my chair’, ‘Time to play’). Depending on the frequency of exposure to English and the quality of experience, children gradually begin to create whole sentences.
Understanding is always greater than speaking and young children’s ability to comprehend should not be underestimated, as they are used to understanding their home language from a variety of context clues. Though they may not understand everything they hear in their home language, children grasp the gist – that is they understand a few important words and decipher the rest using different clues to interpret the meaning. With encouragement they soon transfer their ‘gist’ understanding skills to interpret meaning in English.
After the initial novelty of English sessions, some young children become frustrated by their inability to express their thoughts in English. Others want to speak quickly in English as they can in their home language. Frustration can often be overcome by providing children with ‘performance’ pieces like ‘I can count to 12 in English’ or very simple rhymes, which consist of ready-made phrases.
Children should not be told they have made a mistake because any correction immediately demotivates. Mistakes may be part of the process of working out grammar rules of English or they may be a fault in pronunciation. ‘I goed’ soon becomes ‘went’ if the child hears the adult repeat back ‘yes, you went’; or if the adult hears ‘zee bus’ and repeats ‘the bus’. As in learning their home language, if children have an opportunity to hear the adult repeat the same piece of language correctly, they will self-correct in their own time.
Boys’ brains develop differently from girls’ and this affects how boys pick up language and use it. Sometimes mixed classes make little provision for boys, who may be overshadowed by girls’ natural ability to use language. If young boys are to reach their potential, they need some different language experiences with girls and their achievements should not be compared with those of girls.
Young children find it more difficult to pick up English if they are not provided with the right type of experiences, accompanied by adult support using ‘parentese’ techniques.
- Young children need to feel secure and know that there is some obvious reason for using English.
- Activities need to be linked to some interesting everyday activities about which they already know, eg sharing an English picture book, saying a rhyme in English, having an ‘English’ snack.
- Activities are accompanied by adult language giving a running commentary about what is going on and dialogues using adjusted parentese language.
- English sessions are fun and interesting, concentrating on concepts children have already understood in their home language. In this way children are not learning two things, a new concept as well as new language, but merely learning the English to talk about something they already know.
- Activities are backed up by specific objects, where possible, as this helps understanding and increases general interest.
Children who can already read in their home language generally want to find out how to read in English. They already know how to decode words in their home language to get meaning from text and, if not helped to decode in English, may transfer their home language-decoding techniques and end up reading English with the home language accent.
Before they can decode English, young children need to know the 26 alphabet letter names and sounds. As English has 26 letters but on average 44 sounds (in standard English), introducing the remaining sounds is better left until children have more experience in using language and reading,
Beginning reading in English goes easily if young children already know the language they are trying to read. Many children work out by themselves how to read in English if they have shared picture books with adults or learned rhymes, as they are likely to have memorised the language. Reading what they know by heart is an important step in learning to read as it gives children opportunities to work out how to decode simple words by themselves. Once children have built up a bank of words they can read, they feel confident and are then ready for a more structured approach.
Então porque não aproveitar o período para estudar Inglês!
Fale comigo, pois tenho aulas individuais e customizadas para atender à sua necessidade específica. Atividades dinâmicas com vídeo, áudio e jogos que ajudam a memorização e aprendizado da língua.
It was a very good activity!
The kids had a lot of fun painting and decorating the letters of their names.
We all enjoyed the great time, sang songs, played games, and read the new and exciting books from Scholastic Book Club.
Happy Children’s Day to you all!!
Foi uma atividade muito boa!
As crianças se divertiram muito pintando e decorando as letras de seus nomes.
Todos nós curtimos esse momento agradável, cantamos músicas, jogamos diferentes jogos e lemos os novos e emocionantes livros da Scholastic Book Club.
Feliz Dia das Crianças a todos !!