Thursday, November 4, 2010

Vocabulary - How do you talk to your kids?

While reading some blogs it dawned on me how much we are used to water down our language just for the sake of adapting our vocabulary to our students. And this is so sad! Why treating kids as if they were idiots? (sorry for the word). I vividly remember my mom telling me off because whenever we met a baby I was all about "Gucci, gucci, baby - ne ne ne" and she used to say: "The baby is not an idiot. Talk to him normally" I never quite understood why. (!)

Look around and you'll see how poor kids language inventory is. How many "but" and "ands" and "whiches" and "sos" do you have to face in a daily-basis.

Maybe we are the ones to be blamed. Either for not giving proper instruction or for not talking them into using more sophisticated words and estructures. Students nowadays may have their language repertoire

Children learn the best from what they see and hear from their parents, teachers and important adults around them. Modeling behavior and using appropriate vocabulary will help children learn and grow. This is true for children at all ages. Working in early education, I feel it's important to speak to even young children with respect for their intelligence. Children love to play with words, and they usually remember more than we do.

For this, I would like to share with you some food for thought extracted from a video (embedded below) by Stephen Fry

"For me, it is a cause of some upset that more Anglophones do not enjoy language. Music is enjoyable it seems, so are dance and other, athletic form of movemement. People seem to be able to find sensual and sensuous pleasure in almost anything but WORDS"

This reminds me of Cecilia Coelho when invited to write a guest post on Ken Wilson's Blog she got us thinking about the difference between "Listen" and "Hear".

"Hearing is about perceiving the sound whilst listening is about paying attention to what you hear, decoding it. (...) When it comes to your students' efforts in using English to express themselves - be it orally or in writing - do you listen or just hear them?"
Great, isn't it?

Finally, I would like to share a great tool I've found to teach vocabulary in a very dynamic and fun way: It aims to develop 3 types of resources:
Pictorial Vocabulary Resources - which contains image based pages as well as complementary pages with adjectives, verbs, and expressions. Where you can place the cursor and listen to the words.
Interactive Readings - which help develop comprehension skills and build vocabulary.
Grammar Guides - which are experimental introductory grammar guides for French, Spanish and English


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