— [http://goo.gl/nFjKC1] English Homework in primary school in Norway_______________________(fifth grade).



:: RT: Doing English Homework ▶ http://goo.gl/nFjKC1 ◀ with a 5th Grader, primary school in Norway | #Education #Pedagogy #PrimarySchool #Norway


Every Monday I get ready to help out my fifth-grade girl to do her English homework that doesn't make sense. On Monday she —and any others from her class— should start learning vocabulary as part of the ESL classroom assignment. Their teacher gives them new unrelated words. She usually gets 6 isolated English words which she should memorize —at least 5 of those words— by Tuesday or Wednesday when they read a passage in their English textbook, and students should be familiar with vocabulary of a given passage. The assignment should consist of reading or listening to the passage in the textbook already on Monday at home: get an adult to read the story for you. I don't want to see my kid learn languages the old-fashioned way, putting her in danger of struggling in her English-language career as she gets older, instead of course-correcting early in her education when everything is still fresh. Learning isolated words doesn't make sense because it's not motivating, it takes some real effort and you don't know how to use that stuff in real life. It's not an effective method of retaining vocabulary and one gets frustrated.

The more unrelated the words, the more difficult it is to create mental associations we can "hold" new terms together with. So, I think of a way to put them together in sentences. We sit down together and work through the English homework. I think of a mini-story or an image containing these words illustrated with a videoclip. Moreover, if you train with putting together and playing with words you will get good, and you can start learning and associating new words more efficiently, in your L1 as well as in your target language. Now, this should not be the parents' job, but teachers should apply that methodolgy.

I was at a Halloween gathering last weekend and I heard a conversation between frustrated parents who had a really hard time helping their fifth-grade kids with their English homework. A mother had tried to get her daughter to spell the English words slowly both in English and explained the spelling in Norwegian, and then they went through the English words all over again but they didn't stick in her daughter's brain. The mother gave up.

And then some other parents shared their experience on how their kids just hit a wall when doing their English homework.

I've had a lot of those students in my classes over the years. The one thing they had in common was they all wanted to learn lots of vocabulary. They all wanted to know the “right” way to achieve more isolated lexis, when the truth is that you learn more effectively by placing the vocablary you want to learn in context as used in real life.

Yes, we should still teach/show them how to structure a sentence. Teachers have to start teaching languages differently, but sometimes they overestimate the kids because they are young.

It is fundamental to always learn vocabulary in context. When we were kids and learn our first language we were always learning the language/vocabulary in context. My kids have being learning Norwegian and Spanish since they were babies; they always learn these two languages in context. We talk to them naturally; we don't communicate with them with #hashtags. It doesn't neccesarily need to be a linguistic context. And a given word doesn't neccesarily needs to be surrounded by others words but it could be an isolated word in a given circumstance; that would help the kids to remember better the vocabulary. Words in context is absolutely king.

Halloween is over now, but imagine I wanted her to learn the words "every," "year," "to make," "to scream" isolated? Instead, I turned on the radio a few days before Halloween and she learned a sentence by hearing it over and over again: "Ev'ry Halloween we make you scream."

Still with me? I hope so.


Original Homework: Isolated New English words - Vocabulary

spare time - fritid

to take part - å delta

a competition - en konkurranse

cinema - kino

a diary - en dagbok

performance - forestilling

here's - her er


Modified Homework: English Vocabulary with Norwegian and Spanish translation

spare time (leisure hours) - fritid - tiempo libre

to take part in (join in) - å delta i - participar en, participar de [vi + prep] (algo)

a competition (rivalry)(contest) - en konkurranse - una competencia

(UK)cinema; (US) movies (place) (entertainment type) - kino

a diary ((personal journal) - en dagbok - un diario

performance (behavior/representation/acting) - forestilling - actuación / espectáculo

here's - her er - aquí está (están) / es (son)

Original Instruction: You must write down all of the words above and learn six of them. Good luck!

My comments: Yeah, right, good luck.


When working with drills, especially with longer sentences, it is useful to isolate parts of the utterance and then build it up. In a front chain this begins with the initial part of the utterance and adds more parts to reach the end. However, I prefer to use back chaining which uses the same technique, but starting from the end of the utterance and working backwards to incorporate the beginning. The use of back chaining in particular means that the learners focus more on the rhythm and intonation of the utterance. Learners have to concentrate more to fit the new words into the correct position. Remember to keep the intonation the same for each repetition. Use sweeping arm movement as well as your voice when working on rising and falling intonation. You could also use videoclips to illustrate your sentence.


Learning English - English in Use - English in Context:

1) What do you like to do in your spare time? —I practise the guitar in my spare time. (¿Qué te gusta hacer en tu tiempo libre? —Practico la guitarra en mi tiempo libre.)

2) She was angry and did not take part in the mango eating competition. (Estaba enojada y no participó de la competencia de comer mangos.)

3) Welcome to this amazing piano competition in The Netherlands. (Bienvenidos a esta increíble competición de piano en Holanda.)

4) I wanna go to the movies / the cinema in London. (Quiero ir al cine en Londres).

5) She keeps a diary on her snakes. (Ella escribe sobre sus serpientes en su diario)

6) The girls's performance this morning was excellent. (La actuación de la muchacha de esta mañana fue excelente.)

7) Here's to you! (interj / [informal] toast) ¡a tu salud! Por tu futuro éxito.


*Not teaching my kid this advanced term but liguists know that this is a phrasal verb, transitive, inseparable: Verb with adverb(s) or preposition(s), having special meaning, not divisible, while the assignment was to memorize this phrasal verb without the preposition.


Learning English deeply - English in Use - English in Context:


1) What do you like to do in your spare time? I practise the guitar in my spare time.

... time.

... spare time.

... in my spare time.

... guitar in my spare time.

... the guitar in my spare time.

... practise the guitar in my spare time.

... I practise the guitar in my spare time.

... spare time? I practise the guitar in my spare time.

... in your spare time? I practise the guitar in my spare time.

... to do in your spare time? I practise the guitar in my spare time.

... like to do in your spare time? I practise the guitar in my spare time.

... you like to do in your spare time? I practise the guitar in my spare time.

What do you like to do in your spare time? I practise the guitar in my spare time.

2) She was angry and did not take part in the mango art competition.

... competition.

... art competition.

... the mango art competition.

... in the mango art competition.

... take part in the mango art competition.

... did not take part in the mango art competition.

... and did not take part in the mango art competition.

... angry and did not take part in the mango art competition.

... was angry and did not take part in the mango art competition.

She was angry and did not take part in the mango art competition.


3) Welcome to this amazing piano competition in The Netherlands.

... The Netherlands.

... in The Netherlands.

... competition in The Netherlands.

... piano competition in The Netherlands.

... amazing piano competition in The Netherlands.

... this amazing piano competition in The Netherlands.

Welcome to this amazing piano competition in The Netherlands.


4) I wanna go to the movies / the cinema in London.

... London.

... in London.

... movies / the cinema in London.

... the movies / the cinema in London.

... to the movies / the cinema in London.

... go to the movies / the cinema in London.

... wanna go to the movies / the cinema in London.

I wanna go to the movies / the cinema in London.

5) She keeps a diary on her snakes.

... snakes.

... her snakes.

... on her snakes.

... diary on her snakes.

... a diary on her snakes.

... keeps a diary on her snakes.

She keeps a diary on her snakes.

6) The girls's performance this morning was excellent.

... excellent.

... was excellent.

... this morning was excellent.

... performance this morning was excellent.

... girls's performance this morning was excellent.

The girls's performance this morning was excellent.

7) Here's to you!.

... you!

... to you!

Here's to you!


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