I’ve recently undertaken the course “English in Early Childhood” provided by The British Council in collaboration with FutureLearn. If you’ve not heard of FutureLearn before, it’s a fantastic initiative that provides free courses carried out by world-leading institutions (in English). If you’d like to take a look, here’s the link to the main website: https://www.futurelearn.com/.
Having just finished the course, I can say it was thoroughly enjoyable and useful. My teaching career has been, so far, focused on teaching and Cambridge exam preparation to teenagers and adults. So, taking a deep-dive into learning during early years is proving an exciting change. I’m also fascinated with the learning process and how our brains work, so I was over the moon when the first week jumped straight into how babies’ brains learn new words. Of particular interest was this video by Dev XX during a TED Talk (as a side note for C1/C2 English learners, TED Talks are a fantastic way to get real English practice) sharing his research into how his child learnt his first words. Really amazing and highly recommendable.
Over the weeks, I came to learn and understand how children can have fun while learning English. and overall the importance of every single thing we say to them. Interaction, exposure and providing a safe environment were all things that were highlighted during this short course. What was fantastic was that the course not only provided the theory, but also practical advice on how to implement it in the classroom and in the parenting environment, too.
What most stood out for me was the importance of labelling actions and behaviour and not a child. It was a really interesting concept described by one of the experts on the course and showed me, at least, a new way to view behaviour. The theory being that behaviour can be changed, a child’s personality cannot; therefore, labelling the behaviour rather than the child signals to them that it is something they have the power to change. An interesting way to view in-class behaviour.
I’m a huge advocate of never stopping learning. So, feel free to join me on this course or to take a look at other FutureLearn courses.