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.

¿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

Black Friday 2017

BlackFriday2017

¿Buscas una solución online eficaz para aprender inglés?

El curso online de Net Languages, tutorizado por profesionales de Ziggurat, es la opción que estás buscando. Disfrutarás de múltiples ventajas:

1. Variedad: tienes distintas opciones de estudio (General English, Presentations, Dealing with the Public, Appliying for a job…)

2. Flexibilidad: puedes acceder al curso cuando quieras y desde cualquier lugar y dispositivo (PC, MAC, iPad, tablet Android, smartphone…)

3. Excelencia: contenidos pedagógicos de calidad con tutores con una larga experiencia docente

¿Quieres saber más?
Escríbenos a través de info@ziggurat.es o llámanos al 93 363 54 78

The Alphabet Game

Estrenamos Alphabet Game para 2017. Los que seguís la Daily Vitamin desde hace años seguramente ya habréis vivido más de un Alphabet Game de los que hacemos en verano.

game

Mañana empieza una nueva edición. Del 25 de mayo al 30 de junio jugaremos a este concurso con el objetivo de aprender nuevo vocabulario y repasar las Daily Vitamins de este año académico. Y, por supuesto, también os vamos a dar la oportunidad de ganar un premio:

PREMIOS

  • 1r premio: Kindle Fire Tablet
  • 2º premio: cheque regalo de Amazon valorado en 25€
  • 3r premio: 2 entradas de cine para ver la película que tu quieras

Cada día daremos una definición o pista para una palabra o expresión que empieza con una letra específica del abecedario. Empezaremos con la letra A, luego la B, la C… hasta que completemos las 26 letras del alfabeto inglés.

Enviaremos la pista en la Daily Vitamin y la compartiremos en Facebook y Twitter.

IMPORTANTE: para participar (y ganar uno de los premios) deberéis:

  1. Ser seguidor de alguna de las siguientes redes sociales (Facebook o Twitter)
  2. Compartir el post inicial (del 24 de mayo) en una de las redes sociales
  3. Postear la respuesta correcta en una de nuestras redes sociales cada día. Al final de las 26 lecciones, la persona con más puntos ganará.

CÓMO CONSEGUIR PUNTOS Y GANAR

Por publicar una respuesta correcta en nuestras redes sociales, cada participante del Alphabet Game recibe automáticamente un punto. Entre los participantes que posteen respuestas correctas cada día, el primer participante recibe 10 puntos adicionales, el segundo participante recibe 9 puntos adicionales, el tercero recibe 8 puntos adicionales, etc. Por lo tanto, las primeras 10 personas que publiquen obtienen 1 punto más los puntos adicionales según su posición (de la 1ª a la 10ª).

Si tienes alguna pregunta, contacta con nosotros (didactic@ziggurat.es).

¡Esperamos vuestra participación!

TEACHER INTERVIEW. Let’s meet Steve Roberts

We have a lot of musicians and artists on the team! Today, we’re interviewing Steve Roberts, who’s not only a singer and musician but also one of our most experienced English teachers.

Steve was born in Northampton (England). He’s been working as an English teacher for 23 years and working for Ziggurat since 2006. Apart from teaching, Steve has also written books and articles about teaching and training methodology and he’s trained as a coach. He also plays music and loves walking in the mountains or on the beach. Now let’s meet him!

Steve2.png

Photo: Àlex Fernandez

Hi Steve! Glad to interview you. First of all, let’s talk a little bit about you.

Q: You’ve been living in Barcelona for a while. When did you decide to move here and why?
A; Well, it’s a long story, but it was in 1994, and basically because I loved the city and had the feeling that I could make a life here.

Q: What is your favourite thing about Barcelona?
A: Now it’s become really cosmopolitan, so there are a lot of fantastic places to eat, for example Indian food, Japanese, etc. But there are lots of other things…

Q: Tell us something about your background…
A: I studied English literature at University College London and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, then spent ten years trying to make a living as a writer. Because this is virtually impossible if you don’t already have a job as a journalist or academic, in the end I decided to teach English, which is when I moved to Barcelona.

Q: You’ve been working for Ziggurat for more than 10 years and you teach a lot of English telephone classes. Let’s focus on these.
A: Why would you recommend this type of classes? They’re basically one-to-one classes, so you get personalised attention from your teacher throughout the class. Also, because of the format, you have to concentrate very hard on listening, so it develops your comprehension quickly in this essential skill. Finally, it’s very flexible, and can easily be adapted to your work schedule.

Q: What type of learning activities do you most like to emphasise in your classes?
A: A bit of everything is necessary, but I specially emphasise speaking, since that’s most people’s main priority, and it’s the most powerful way to learn new language in general.

Q: What aspect of the Ziggurat classes or methodology would you like to highlight?
A: I don’t know, there are a lot of positive things… Perhaps the way that we do our best to adapt the classes to the specific needs of the students. And the communicative focus, so that we’re teaching people to communicate effectively from day one.

Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Again, there are a lot of things, but I particularly like the social side of meeting a wide range of people from many walks of life and helping them to communicate in English.

Steve

Photo: Àlex Fernandez

Apart from teaching, you’re also a singer. You have recently launched a new CD, ‘The Loss and the Gain’

Q: What music do you play and sing?
A: It ranges from folk to acoustic pop and rock.

Q: Do you write the lyrics? If so, what inspires you to write?
A: Yes, I write both the lyrics and the music. I never know what’s inspiring me until I get an idea!

Q: When is your next gig?
A: At the moment I don’t have any lined up because I’m recording a couple of new albums. But I expect I’ll play one again soon. If you know of any good places to play, tell me!

Q: Where can we see you?
A: I play a lot in venues in Sant Boi, where I live. Apart from that I’ve also played often in La Contra, an art space in Poble Sec. That’s the type of venue I like. But when I have a gig lined up I’ll let you know!

Q: And finally, how does your musician side influence you as an English teacher?
A: I use music in my classes, but most teachers do! Also I try to help my students as much as possible with their pronunciation, and having a musician’s ear really helps in this respect.

It was great to know more about you! Thank you very much for the interview, Steve! 🙂

You’re very welcome! All the best!

You can follow Steve on his Facebook page, the page of his band Grog. And you can also listen to him on this Bandcamp links: Steve Roberts and Grog.

Steve was also interviewed by Olga Merino (El Periódico) on April the 3rd. Check it out! STEVE BRUCE ROBERTS_elPeriodico_3apr17