Cómo hacer que tu propósito de aprender un idioma sea un éxito

PostZigguratAcaba de empezar el año y puede que ya hayas dejado por escrito tus propósitos para 2018. Si es así, ¡enhorabuena!, este es el primer paso para cumplir con tu objetivo.

Ahora lo más difícil está por llegar. Somos muchos los que empezamos el año motivados, pero también somos muchos los que, a medida que pasan los meses, dejamos de lado nuestros propósitos y nos sentimos frustrados por no haberlos alcanzado cuando llega diciembre.

¿Cuántas veces has dicho voy a hacer ejercicio? ¿Alguna vez te has propuesto aprender inglés?

Si no quieres volver a fallar, sigue estas recomendaciones para conseguir tu propósito del año:

ESTE AÑO APRENDO INGLÉS
(o el idioma que tú quieras)

  1. MÁRCATE UN OBJETIVO CLARO Y REALISTA
    En vez de decir ‘este año aprendo inglés’, prueba con ‘este año quiero viajar al extranjero y ser capaz de defenderme’, ‘quiero participar en una reunión de trabajo y poder defender mis ideas’, ‘quiero ampliar mi vocabulario’, etc.

    Con un objetivo claro y específico será más fácil cumplirlo. Y, por supuesto, debe ser realista. No pretendas hablar con un nivel nativo en un año si partes completamente de cero 😉

  2. ESCRIBE QUÉ ACCIONES VAS A HACER PARA CUMPLIRLO
    Este paso es muy importante. Será tu hoja de ruta. ¿Qué acciones vas a emprender para conseguir tu objetivo? Las opciones son múltiples, aquí tienes algunas ideas:

Recuerda: es mejor dedicar 5 minutos al día que esperar a tener 1 o 2 horas un día a la semana.

  1. BÚSCATE UN COMPAÑERO
    Tienes dos opciones: (1) buscarte un compañero de viaje que también tenga tu mismo objetivo y con el cual os motivéis el uno al otro o (2) compartir tu objetivo y tener una persona al lado que te anime a seguir adelante.
  2. SÉ FLEXIBLE
    No te frustres si hay una semana que te desvías del plan porque estás enferm@ o has tenido más carga de trabajo. No te preocupes, seguro que a la semana siguiente puedes remontar. Además, una vez trazado el plan es posible que descubras que es demasiado ambicioso. ¡Siempre estás a tiempo de redirigirlo!
  3. ¡EMPIEZA YA!
    No lo dejes más. ¡Cuánto antes empieces, antes podrás crear tu rutina de contacto diario con el idioma! Son 21 días. Por ejemplo, si te animas a leer la Daily Vitamin cada día durante 3 semanas, a la 4ª lo harás de forma automática y sin esfuerzo.

 ¿Te animas? Déjanos tus comentarios abajo y dinos cuáles son tus prioridades con los idiomas para este año. Te aportaremos sugerencias para mejorar.

ACTIVITY PACK. Wearing nothing new

¿Has preparado ya tus propósitos para 2018? ¿Este año quieres aprender inglés? Recuerda: es mejor hacer un poco cada día que esperar a tener 1 o 2 horas a la semana para ponerte a estudiar.

¿Qué puedes hacer hoy? Te proponemos que veas el siguiente vídeo de 6 minutos de Jessi Arrington, quien explica que es posible vestir con estilo por menos de 20 dólares, comprando en mercados de segunda mano. Después de visionar el vídeo descarga este ACTIVITY PACK y contesta las preguntas.


Designer Jessi Arrington packed nothing for TEDActive but 7 pairs of undies, buying the rest of her clothes in thrift stores around LA. It’s a meditation on conscious consumption — wrapped in a rainbow of color and creativity.

English Daily Vitamin (December 2017)

daily_vitamin_2016

Happy new year to everyone!

Last month (December 2017) we looked at 2 different themes: Business idioms and Christmas Vocabulary. At the beginning of the month, we also had a couple of ‘Spot the error’ Daily Vitamins.

If you missed a lesson, click on the relevant link below:

SPOT THE ERROR
Here are your sentences. Do you know what’s wrong with them?

BUSINESS IDIOMS

 CHRISTMAS VOCABULARY

 DOWNLOAD ACTIVITY PACK

 

Top 9 board games to play with your kids in English

Christmas is around the corner! Are you still finishing your Christmas shopping? Do you need some cool ideas to finish your list?

Board Games are a ‘must’ in everyone’s homes. They are really fun and can be played by all members of the family (sometimes you will need to adapt them depending on the age of the little ones). A lot of board games are not only entertaining but also educational.

Just last week we started a debate about whether only talking in English to your kids is positive. If you want to play with them in English (even though you don’t speak to them in that language), check out these 9 board games to give to your kids for Christmas and take advantage of the opportunity to learn and practice English with them:

  1. BrainBox is a fast-paced game of concentration featuring a wide array of fun facts about different topics (depending on the theme you choose). You have 10 seconds to study a card before being asked a question from the back, chosen by the roll of the die.Brainbox
  2. Storycubes is a pocket-sized creative story generator, providing hours of imaginative play that reinforces artistic expression. It’s a not a competitive game, you simply have to throw the dice and make up a story starting with ‘Once upon a time…’Storycubs
  3. Ikonikus is a card game to learn about emotions. Each card represents an emotion and empathy is the key to success as you need to guess how each player feels.ikonikus
  4. Scrabble is a classic. Put letters together, build words, add up your points and play to win! You can add some extra rules e.g. being able to use a dictionary so you can increase your vocabulary bank.scrabble.jpg
  5. Scattergories is another typical board game you can play in English. Roll the letter die, flip the sand timer, and race against the clock to come up with answers to each category on the category list. You score points for writing down answers that no one else got. The more creative the answers, the more points you score!scatergories
  6. Pictionary is another classic. It’s a great game for kids and adults. You can only draw but the other players will have to look for the appropriate word (in English) to guess the right answer.pictionary
  7. Taboo. Surely you know it. In the Taboo game, you need to get your team to guess the secret word, but the obvious words you would use as clues are strictly off-limits. Even if you don’t have an excellent command of the language, you could still guess and win!taboo
  8. Word A round (in Spanish Palabrea) builds vocabulary and improves concentration. This card game is also perfect for travelling! You have to guess the word in the circle and have more cards than the other players.Word a round
  9. Guess who? (¿Quién es quién?) is the classic mystery face game that’s been around since the 1980s! There’s a mystery person on your opponent’s card. Can you find the matching face in the crowd and put into practice your ability to ask questions and use descriptive vocabulary?guess who

What about you? Do you have any other ideas? Please leave a comment or share your list with us!

¿Sirve para algo hablar en inglés con mi hijo si no soy nativo?

Hace unos días leíamos en EL PAIS online un artículo titulado ¿Sirve para algo hablar en inglés con mi hijo si no soy nativo? y explicaba que «cada vez más padres se plantean comunicarse en un segundo idioma con sus niños desde que nacen».

En línea con este artículo, hoy os planteamos dos puntos de vista distintos:

El primero es de Jenny Smedley, nuestra actual Project Coordinator. Jenny es inglesa y está casada con un italiano, es madre de dos niñas (de 1 y 3 años) nacidas en Catalunya quienes tendrán contacto con el español y al catalán diariamente en el colegio y en la calle.

El segundo punto de vista es de Matthew Ray, Director de Ziggurat. Matthew es americano y habla catalán y español a la perfección. Matthew nos aporta su visión desde un punto de vista más académico y expone qué beneficios aporta hablar inglés a los hijos y qué preocupaciones te puedes plantear.

«My first question would be WHY? What is your motivation for using English with your child? If it is primarily because you are worried that your child will not be able to reach a decent level of English without your extra input, I would tell you not to worry. Nowadays, we all have far greater access to resources in English for children. There are so many other things you can do with your child to help them [….]»
Leer la opinión de Jenny completa

«I encourage all parents to raise their children bilingual, or even trilingual, if they have the opportunity and the resources. Research has shown that multilingualism has positive cognitive, educational, professional and social benefits for children and adults […]»
Leer la opinión de Matthew completa

Así pues, Jenny apela a la identidad y a la conexión emocional que sólo se consigue con tu lengua materna. Matthew defiende los beneficios de hablar inglés a tus hijos aunque no seas nativo. No obstante, es una decisión muy personal que tu mism@ deberás hacer.

Y tú, ¿hablas inglés con tus hijos? Déjanos tu experiencia o inquietudes abajo en los comentarios. Thanks!

La opinión de Matthew Ray ¿Sirve para algo hablar en inglés con mi hijo si no soy nativo?

The benefits of speaking with your children
I would encourage all parents to raise their children bilingual, or even trilingual, if they have the opportunity and the resources. Research has shown that multilingualism has positive cognitive, educational, professional and social benefits for children and adults. (See the following article below for more information.)

10 Amazing benefits of being bilingual

If done properly, speaking with your children in English can accomplish three very important objectives.

  1. It makes speaking English “normal”: Children often have trouble seeing the value of learning English. If their parents don’t speak or study English, then they question whether it really is important to learn it. However, when their parents speak with them in English, the importance is confirmed, and children will see speaking English as something “normal;” it creates a coherency that will help children to be more enthusiastic about English.
  2. It makes children less likely to reject English: children are less likely to reject English or view it as “work” or “study” if their parents speak it with them daily; English becomes part of the day-to-day routine, instead of something that is being forced on them.
  3. It accelerates learning by increasing input: non-native English input from parents can expose children to A LOT of English in a “natural” way very early on, which gives children an advantage when they start studying English formally in school and/or academies.

Finally, learning English “naturally” in this way can be fun for the whole family, and can also help the parents to improve their English. 😉

Concerns
Some parents might be concerned that their English is not perfect (with respect to accent and grammatical accuracy); but grammatical errors are normal, even when children are exposed to “perfect” native English. I have barely uttered a grammatically-incorrect sentence to my son in the 18 years that I have been speaking English to him, but he still makes grammatical mistakes when writing and speaking; this will be corrected and improved over time.

Remember, also, that there are more non-native English speakers in the world than there are native speakers, so most of the world is speaking “non-native” English anyway; your children don’t have to be perfect, they just need to gain fluency, confidence and a desire to speak English. Once your child is in a native environment, he or she will be able to continue to improve the “imperfections” in their English.

Conclusions and a caveat
The benefits that children gain by receiving English input from their non-native parents far outweigh any possible drawbacks (such as developing a “non-native accent” or imperfect grammar); so, I highly recommend it. However, there is one very important caveat. If your children don’t feel comfortable speaking English with you, or just don’t enjoy it, please do not insist; it could backfire if you do. There is time to learn English later; but if you create a negative experience with English for your children when they are young, it could keep them from enthusiastically embracing English later in life. Have fun and don’t force it!

Matthew Ray

La opinión de Jenny Smedley ¿Sirve para algo hablar en inglés con mi hijo si no soy nativo?

My first question would be WHY? What is your motivation for using English with your child? If it is primarily because you are worried that your child will not be able to reach a decent level of English without your extra input, I would tell you not to worry.

Nowadays, we all have far greater access to resources in English for children. There are so many other things you can do with your child to help them. Why don’t you watch one of their favourite cartoons in English with them, sing together, read together, take them on holiday somewhere English speaking, sign them up to activities in English with children their own age…. Why would you want to sacrifice the chance of communicating to your child in your own beautiful and rich language?

As a mother of two young children, I wouldn’t dream of speaking to my girls in any language other than my native language. We call it mother tongue for a reason. In my opinion, language is much more than a simple means of communication. It is a part of our identity and it allows us to form emotional connections. A fetus in the womb hears their mother speaking when they are just 15 weeks old and one of the first things we do with our babies is to sing lullabies. How natural would it feel singing lullabies in English or mimicking animal noises that are very different to your own language. Woof or guau? No matter how good you may be at English, conversing with a toddler may seem easy but how would you feel about potentially dealing with a teenager’s deeper and more difficult issues in a language that is not your own?

You may think that because I am English, it is easy for me to say all this but I really don’t think that is the case. My husband is Italian and before having our first child, he had pretty much decided that he would speak to our daughter in Spanish as it would be more “useful” for her than Italian as we live here in Spain. In the end, I managed to convince him to speak to her in Italian and to this day he doesn’t regret my doing so. She is half-Italian and the language is part of her identity, her emotional connection with her babbo and how she connects with her grandparents and family in Italy. It is so much more than language.

Summing up, I would tell you not to miss out on speaking to your child in your native language, whatever that might be, and by allowing your child to do fun things in English as they grow up, rest assured they will grow up with a love for English too!

Jenny Smedley