jueves, 30 de enero de 2014

NEW TERM SEPTEMBER 2013 TO NEW YEAR 2014 - 6 years to 6 1/2

RESUMEN: Aquí hago un resumen de los progresos de Marc desde el inicio del nuevo año escolar, septiembre 2013 hasta el año nuevo 2014.  Sigue mejorando sus expresiones en inglés, cada vez más sofisticadas. Ha llegado al nivel 8 de la serie Oxford Reading Tree. Hablo de nuevo sobre la importancia de la lectura y de escribir.
Entre otras cosas, hablo también de como organizar tus horarios para poder pasar suficiente tiempo con el niño.
Y, hablo de unas personas no nativas españolas que están criando sus niños en inglés.

I've noticed a couple of things. First, Marc is thinking in a more mature way, although he's still in the fantasy world of Father Christmas, etc.... He's also become more independent. All signs that he's growing up!
I'm not writing down everything he's saying theses days, mainly because he talks too much! His language development in all 3 languages is normal for a trilingual given the different levels of exposure. He's improving in Spanish through playing with other children. Neither Catalan or Spanish are of concern as he lives in Catalonia! In terms of English he still plays and even counts in English out loud at home with the occasional exclamation in Catalan or sometimes Spanish!
The errors in all 3 languages are 'normal' for trilinguals with direct translations being the most common.
 In English he uses phrasal verbs perfectly and has incorporated idioms and sayings into his speech: "Daddy, I beat you by the skin of my teeth." (por los pelos). As mentioned in previous blogs he picks up phrases from the televisión. From "Miranda" on the BBC he Heard the phrase to "Let the cat out of the bag" (descubrir el pastel), and tonight he spontaneously used it, although not exactly right. So, what I do now is explain new words or phrases as any teacher or some parents would. Also, notice in the video below the way he says the Word "Wall" which reminds him of the idiom, "and the writing's on the wall for Daddy" (señal de advertencia).

We still try and watch TV only in English when he's at home. He still likes Boomerang, so I'm suffering Scare School, The Pink Panther and Tom and Jerry (not much speaking though), and Scooby Doo. We've tried other channels but he knows what he wants for his age!

I've been working through the Oxford Reading Tree series, and this week he completed the last book of Level 7, and has moved onto Level 8. It's interesting to compare Stage 1+ with Stage 8. They still have large pictures but now have more text and a smaller Font ( see below).

The important thing is to be consistent and to have a goal. In the end he's been reading a book every 2 weeks. I also read books to him: e.g The Mister Men and Geronimo Stilton. In these cases I try and get him to read a word or two per page.
I've had a very heavy work schedule so finding time to be with him has been hard. However, I always try to build in time with him at least once a day for several hours or more. And much more at the weekends. If you can find things that you both like doing together then it's easy: e.g. a sport or hobby.
It can be an effort sometimes but the rewards for your child are enormous. What doesn't work though is the absent parent or the silent one. Since they need language contact you have to speak!

I have received emails from parents, some of whom are not native speakers asking for advice. Please send me an email if you need help! This month I met a mother (R.P) who is Spanish with a post Proficiency level of English who has successfully brought up her daughter (4) speaking English. And in fact we had the opportunity to meet and for the children to play together, which they did 100% in English. The girl speaks fluently and with a Spanish accent. This is natural and in fact the vast  majority of children with a native speaking parent also speak with the dominant language accent. So, don't be put off by imperfections. See it as learning a foreign language and not as trying to imitate a native speaker.   It's an amazing gift that you are giving the child. I would recommend that parents have at least a proficiency level of English and to keep improving their English as much as possible!
I've spoken about the cultural references of the heritage language: English in this case, and the links to the 'mother' country. This is obvioulsy not the case if you are Spanish. However, since language often has cultural references it can be  useful to teach children something about the country: e.g. The UK, Ireland, the USA, etc...
For example, in Autumn children have fights using chestnuts on strings, called "conkers", so Conker fights. This is one way of passing on the associated vocabulary and customs of a country. Here's a video showing Marc beating me! He's also wearing an English rugby top, further reinforcing the connection with the language country. Even if you're Spanish you could try this!

Marc has been accepted at this cousin's school in England again for 4 weeks from the end of June. Find out how they can learn more natural English abroad in my next post.


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