Improve Your English Skills During Xmas
With one week to go before the winter recess, the mood at Yew Chung International School of Beijing is one of joy, leading up to Christmas. Whilst everyone is eager for the upcoming holiday, we are also of the belief that learning does not have to come to an end with school breaks, but the holiday can be an opportunity to catch and keep up with what we have learned, especially when it cames to languages. This is why we have enlisted the expertise of EAL Teacher and Head of English, Rebecca Flavin, to share fun ways students can continue to improve their English language skills during the holidays.
How can parents make English learning fun during the holidays?
Games, movies and music help to make English more fun. Parents can play board games with their children such as Boggle, Guess Who, Connect 4, Scrabble, Pictionary and many more. This can be a shared learning and bonding experience for both parent and child. It also helps the child to form positive memories of learning English.
There is a misapprehension that watching movies, animations or tv shows is a waste of time, but in moderation, are invaluable resources for learning English, especially colloquial English. I’ve met countless people throughout my career who have told me they learned their English through movies. Use home language subtitles but keep the original voiced version rather than dubbed.
Music is also a fun way to learn English. Choose some well-known English-language Christmas songs over the holidays and learn them as a family. Some of my favourites include Last Christmas by Wham, Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Jackson 5 and Christmas in Killarney by Bing Crosby. Learning through media such as movies, music and tv shows also help us learn about culture, and the more we understand about the culture, the more we understand the language.
How much time on average should students spend on learning during holidays?
Frequency is the key to acquiring a language. So, my advice is always to do a little everyday rather than a lot once a week. Reading a chapter of a book before going to bed, learning five new words at breakfast, or listening to English language music after dinner are all time efficient activities but help to gradually build skills over time.
What are the top 5 Christmas movies for students to watch and keep abreast with their English skills during the winter break?
1. Elf – The story of a man who was brought up as an elf and later discovers that he is human.
2. Home Alone – A movie about an 8 year old boy who is tasked with protecting his home from burglars, after he is accidentally left alone as his entire family went on Christmas holiday.
3. The Grinch - A grumpy Grinch schemes to ruin Christmas for the village of Whoville.
4. Arthur Christmas - Santa's clumsy son Arthur has misplaced a young girl’s prsentt, and he sets out on a mission with St. Nick's father to give it out in less than 2 hours.
5. It’s a Wonderful Life – On Christmas, an angel is sent from Heaven to help a frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.
All these movies are fun and family friendly. I mostly prefer comedies especially during holiday time. They're also all quite sweet which adds to the festive season. They send a message of the importance of family and friends.
What’s your favourite Christmas movie?
Elf, hands down. And the YCIS Beijing’s Christmas Musical, Elf Jr, only compounded my love for it.
These learning tips are also in a larger effort to expose students to cultures of the world- a significant step in enhancing their views as global citizens.