On the level: parents can help

For parents in Catalonia, their children's level of English is a concern. For those that can afford them, private language schools, extra-curricular English classes or private teachers are ways to help their kids' level of English. Yet, all parents could help their children improve their English more than they imagine.

“But my pronunciation is terrible!” said a Catalan friend with an intermediate level of English when I suggested he help his eight year-old son with his English. I tried to tell my friend not to worry about pronunciation and that the important thing was to have fun with English at home. I said that if he and his son enjoyed themselves playing in English for 15 minutes a day, I was sure it would have a very positive effect on his boy's English. A parent being enthusiastic and positive about a language usually rubs off on the kids! I suggested a routine, starting “English Time” at the same time each day. I also proposed keeping things short: 15 minutes each day is ideal. I suggested reading a story, watching a cartoon or playing online games as worthwhile activities to share in English.

My friend looked sceptical and I think he was still doubtful as to how much he could help his son with English. I told him I had first-hand experience of parents with only an intermediate level of English but who had given their kids' English learning a great boost by having a bit of fun at home with English and encouraging an interest in the language. I'm not sure he thought I was being on the level with him.

You can find activities to do with your children at: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/

Kevin Thomson

English teacher

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