Who here has felt guilty about screen time over the last week or so? I’m not beating myself up about it, trying to hold down the day job and home educate two kids is hard! But this post has me feeling a little better. With Netflix (other streaming services are available) providing soundtracks in numerous languages for many of their shows, we have a great opportunity to provide some L1 input. Joanna Borysiak, one of our most recent additions to the NALDIC exec lays it out in todays home learning activity post.
27th March is celebrated as the International Day of Multilingualism and joining in the fun on Twitter reminded me how different our paths to being multilingual are and that there are as many variations of linguistic realities at our homes as there are households. So today I’d like to share with you two little tricks I use to encourage both of our home languages: Polish and English.
My kids are a perfect example of the uselessness of the EAL label without any form of continuous assessment. Standing at 4 and 15, the older arrived in the UK just shy of two years old, the other one was born in England, and believe me when I tell you that I don’t have to worry about their English. And yet, because they are exposed to another language at home (and in these times “exposure” sounds rather ominous), the label stays, and helps to bolster the statistics showing that EAL children do better in exams. I say they should have a different label for them: MULTILINGUALS.
Now, back to the ideas! For me, the biggest challenge is to make sure the kids listen to as much Polish as possible. We do work on encouraging speaking, too, but as we all know that children have perfected the art of preserving energy and getting to what they need using the most efficient and easiest (for them) means.
Bedtime stories: 2+1
I spent some time hunting for translations of my daughter’s favourite picture books. The illustrations are the same, the story is familiar, and it’s fun comparing the names of animals and listening to the rhyme in both languages.
Every night we have a little bargaining ritual going on.
‘How many stories?’, she asks.
‘Dwie.’, I say. ‘Five?’, she responds. And we settle on three. The condition is, however, that two of the stories must be po polsku.
All hail Netflix and its language options
I don’t know about you, but now that we need to occupy children all of the time, screen time restrictions in our house – however well-intentioned, have gone out the window and smashed on the pavement.
And here Netflix seems to have a valuable redeeming feature – it provides audio for some of the programmes in many languages, including Polish! Yippie! It no longer is a waste of time, it is now an educational activity!
Here’s a list of the programmes that we have discovered to have Polish audio as an option:
· Paw Patrol
· Boss Baby Back in Business
· Peppa Pig
· PJ Masks
· Skylanders Academy
Happy watching! And hang in there!
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EALJournal.org is a publication of NALDIC, the subject association for EAL. Visit www.naldic.org.uk to become a member.