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Why is the VIVALING pedagogy the best for your child?

You may already know all our coaches are VILLA certified. But have you ever wondered what the VILLA pedagogy is and why it is so important that your kids’ coaches are VILLA certified?

villa-scheme vivaling pedagogy

What is the VILLA?

The ViLLA stands for the VivaLing Language Learning Approach. It is a comprehensive framework outlining the foundations for language learning (the drivers), and our corresponding pedagogy, tools, and coach competencies.The framework was developed around the latest research in technology, linguistics, education, and cognitive science.

Every VivaLing session is based on VivaLing’s own learning approach, which is VILLA.

How it works?

The first layer of VILLA is the foundation which is built on the Key language learning drivers as unveiled by cognitive science. The five drivers needed to be activated to maximize our language learning outcome are;  Language Quantity, Motivation, Attention, Social Interaction, Consolidation.  

  • Language Quantity deals with the input, output and feedback between Coach and child. It is important to have the right balance for the best language proficiency.
  • The motivation driver is constantly activated by our Coaches by making the sessions personalised to your child.
  • Motivated, attentive  learners learn better than those who are not, so the activities are designed to keep your child interested and engaged in the session.
  • Social interaction between learners and the target language speaker is also crucial for meaningful and real communication. It enhances the learned language and puts the language in use.
  • Consolidation deals with calculated review. Children learn fast but forget easily, so our Coaches review regularly and at spaced intervals to make sure the learned knowledge transmits to the  long term memory

VivaLing - learn language with fun

 

The second layer of VILLA is the pedagogy and content used by VivaLing coaches, guided by the Principled Communicative Approach. VivaLing believes the key factor of a language for kids should  be communication. Kids can learn more effectively throughout communication.

The third layer is online delivery, Strategies and tools for effective teaching in an online environment. Even seasoned teachers soon find out that what has worked for years in a physical classroom just does not work the same way online. VIvaLing coaches not only have experience in the physical classroom but are also equipped with all the tools and strategies possible to deliver the best quality sessions in an online environment.

The top layer also known the roof of the VILLA is VivaLing team, Key players involved in the teaching and learning process. At VivaLing, we not only have excellent coaches to deliver the best sessions for your kids but also a strong team to support all the aspect in the process of your kids learning. We also involve parents as much as possible. Parents receive a report after every session, and an entire recording of the session to check progress and for the kids to review.

Register your children now and join us for an amazing learning experience!

www.vivaling.com

 

 

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Food in Spain: Tengo hambre!

Tapas, paella, sangría, jamón,… A lot of people around the world know and have even tried these typical dishes at least once in their lifetime. However, there are plenty of different local Spanish dishes which are more typical in Spain and even tastier than these world-known ones. I chose 5 dishes (although there are many more) from all around the “Península Ibérica”.

Pulpo a la gallega (originally called “polbo á feira)

Pulpo a la gallega

This delicious dish from Galicia (northwest Spain), can be challenging for those who don’t like or have never tried seafood before. “Pulpo” means octopus, and when it is fresh and cooked well… it melts in your mouth! It is usually served on a bed of boiled and cut potatoes, and has a drizzle of olive oil and a touch of paprika on top.

Pan con tomate (originally called: “pa amb tomàquet”)

pan-con-tomate-

Originally from Catalonia (northeast Spain), although you can find similar versions of it in other Mediterranean countries. It is made with just 4 ingredients: toasted bread, garlic, olive oil and salt. You can eat it by itself or with cheese, jamón, prouscitto… almost anything!

Bocadillo de calamares

BOCADILLODECALAMARES

If you ever go to Madrid (the capital of Spain) you should try this typical sandwich of fried squid rings. So simple but surprisingly good!

Paella Valenciana

Paella-9

Everybody knows paella, but not a lot of foreigners know that paella is originally from Valencia and is not supposed to have seafood in it (in other areas of Spain they created their own “seafood” version). The original paella valenciana typically uses rice, “judía ferradura” -a type of green beans-, “garrofón” -a special type of big white beans-, chicken, rabbit, tomato, water, salt, olive oil and saffron. If you are ever in Spain, you will need to know that Thursday is Paella day in every Spanish food restaurant!

Gazpacho

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From the south of Spain, this typical dish is made for hot weather. A cold soup, easy to make at home. The main ingredients are: tomato, cucumber, green peppers, olive oil, bread, vinegar and garlic. Quite light and refreshing!

Author: Nuria, Spanish Master coach at VivaLing

Summer Reading List for Young Language Learners

TOP 9 English Books for Young Language Learners

It’s holiday time! Wondering what you can do to spend quality time with your little ones? Our answer is, reading!

Research has shown that shared reading experiences are highly beneficial for children. These benefits include:

  • Facilitating enriched language exposure
  • Fostering the development of listening skills, spelling, reading comprehension and vocabulary
  • Establishing essential foundational literacy skills
  • Providing a shared social opportunity between parents and children to foster positive attitudes toward reading

Picking up the right books for different ages is equally important. Here are some recommendations from VivaLing English Coach Tom:

Young Learners

Dr Seuss Reading recommendation by VivaLing

Dr. Seuss books

An all time favorite cherished by young and old alike. Ideal for reading aloud or reading alone, they will send the reader on a once in a lifetime adventure!

Scholastic books Reading recommendation by VivaLing

Scholastic books

Scholastic has been delivering literacy resources and children’s books to schools, teachers, and families for more than 90 years. Explore it and discover the joy and power of good books! Don’t forget to check out their Books & Reading website for some really nice articles to ensure successful reading.

Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park Reading recommendation by VivaLing

Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park

Barbara Park is best-known as the creator and author of the New York Times bestselling Junie B. Jones series. The stories of an outrageously funny kindergartener has kept kids and parents laughing—and reading—for over two decades.

Pre-teens

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney Reading recommendation by VivaLing

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Befitting a teen’s diary, the books are filled with handwritten notes and simple drawings of Greg’s daily adventures.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling Reading recommendation by VivaLing

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Who hasn’t heard about Harry Potter and his magical school Hogwarts? The books have won multiple awards, and sold more than 400 million copies. It’s time to enter a world full of wild imagination!

Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne Reading recommendation by VivaLing

Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne

Jack and Annie embark on numerous adventures for Merlin and Morgan le Fay throughout the series. On their missions, they also receive the help of young magicians Kathleen and Teddy.

Teens

 

Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan Reading recommendation by VivaLing

Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

The fast-paced Percy Jackson series follows the adventures of young demigod (half mortal, half Greek god) Percy and his friends Annabeth and Grover. It’s all about courage, discovery and friendship!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner Reading recommendation by VivaLing

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Even if you have watched the movies, you won’t want to miss the book series for more twists! You’ll be on the edge of your seat when you read about how Thomas fights against WICKED for freedom.

Twilight trilogy by Stephanie Meyer Reading recommendation by VivaLing

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

This romantic book is the first in the ‘Twilight’ series and will have your teen glued to the page. They will be emerged into a world of fantasy as they find Bella falling in love with an eternally young and beautiful vampire called Edward. Is there anyway their love can conquer all that stands between them?

Enjoy reading!

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The Legend of Chinese New Year

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An ancient Chinese legend about the origin of chuxi tells us that there was a monster called Xi. Xi would emerge from the sea on the 30th day of the 12th lunar month to dine on the locals. No one would dare sleep that night until, at last, they learned that the monster could be driven away by putting up red paper and setting off firecrackers. Since chu means “to get rid of”, the Spring Festival Eve was known as chuxi, meaning “to get rid of something”.

Have a look at a great video about this legend

The custom of pasting Spring Festival couplets, setting off firecrackers and staying up late at night is thus observed till the present day

The history of the character “福”

The character “福” is often seen pasted upside down during the Spring Festival. Do you know why?

Here goes the legend:

After the emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang, ascended to the throne, he secretly told all the people who had helped him to paste the character “福”, which means good fortune, on their doors. He would then kill those who hadn‘t put the character up by the second day. Afler discovering the plan, the kind-hearted Empress Ma asked every family in the city to paste the  character before dawn hence eliminating the disaster. Thankfully the people listened to her.

On the second day, when the emperor ordered his soldiers to kill all those who hadn’t pasted the character “福”, he was told every family had pasted the character. This made him very angry. Then the emperor heard about a family had pasted the character upside down because they were illiterate. He became so furious that he immediately ordered the whole family to be executed.

Empress Ma then hurriedly explained to the emperor, “The family must have learned Your Majesty will come today, so they put the character “福” upside down”. The clever Empress Ma knew that when spoke in Chinese, “upside down”, has the same meaning as “good fortune has arrived”.

The emperor fell for her explanation and didn’t kill the family. A disaster was avoided. From then on, people have put the character “福” upside down, meaning “good fortune has arrived”.

Chinese New year

What’s on the menu for Chinese New Year?

Chinese New year

 

Chinese people attach much importance to family reunion. No matter how far the family members live from each other, they will normally go back home to eat a family reunion dinner on the Spring Festival Eve. The dinner, usually a big feast, includes dumplings and all kinds of other food.

In northern China, each dish has a special meaning. The steaming hotpot signifies prosperity. Since fish has the same pronunciation as “surplus” in Chinese, it means “surplus year after year”. Chicken has the same pronunciation of luck, which predicts auspiciousness while carrot heads, also known as caitou, express the wish to have a good luck. Deep-fried food, such as that of lobsters and whole fish, signifies the auspiciousness of a family.  Dumplings, originated from the word “intersection”, which means the moment between the old year and the new year. Since a dumpling also resembles a shoe-shaped gold or silver ingot in ancient China, placing plates of dumplings on the table signifies “the New Year will come with wealth”.

Families usually sit around the table on the Spring Festival Eve, eating the reunion dinner while watching the Spring Festival Galat and awaiting the ringing of the New Year bell. The sound of firecrackers will be heard and spectacular firework displays seen.

On the morning of the first day of the first lunar month, people put on their finest clothes and exchange New Year greetings. Elder members of a family give “lucky money” to the children and adults exchange greetings, wishing each other good fortune and a Happy New Year. With the development of communication tools, people send loving text messages to each other. All around there is a bustling and joyous atmosphere. No matter where you are, you’ll surely receive good wishes.

This is the Spring Festival of China. It is lively, jubilant and joyous,

Would you like to come to China now and experience it?

 

Chinese New year song

Chinese New Year, it’s time to sing!

Chinese New year song

There is an amusing song that Old Beijingers sing about the time before the Spring Festival Eve. It vividly depicts how people busily and happily embrace the New Year:

“Little kids, little kids, don’t be greedy.

After laba, it’s New Year’s time

Drink the  porridge for several days, then on the 23rd day,

On the 23rd, eat glutinous sugar candy.

On the 24th, clean your house;

On the 25th, fry tofu;

On the 26th, stew meat;

On the 27th, kill chicken;

On the 28th, leaven dough

On the 29th, make steamed bread

on the Spring Festival Eve, stay up and play whole night.”

 

小孩小孩你别馋,过了腊八就是年。

腊八粥,喝几天,哩哩啦啦二十三。

二十三,糖瓜儿粘;

二十四,扫房日;

二十五,炸豆腐;

二十六,炖炖肉;

二十七,宰年鸡;

二十八,把面发;

二十九,蒸馒头;

三十儿晚上玩一宿;

https://quizlet.com/_4e2r5g quizlet link for this song with pinyin, characters and translation – 

Click here to listen to  the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0guqygv-CEI  

The day before the Spring Festival is known as the Spring Festival Eve, which usually falls on the 30th (although it can sometimes be the 29th) of the 12th lunar month. To usher in the New Year, fun activities such as hanging lanterns, setting off firecrackers and putting up Spring Festival couplets are held. People oflen stay up until midnight on the Spring Festival Eve, otherwise known as Shousui.

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Chinese New Year 2018….Ready, Steady, Go!

Chinese-Year-PROMO1389731149

 

What is Spring Festival? Is it the equivalent to Chinese New Year? When is Chinese New Year? Does it occur at the same time of year? How long does Chinese New Year last?  How do people celebrate it?

If you don’t have the answers to all these questions, then read this article to uncover the truth about the most important and popular event in China.

This year, Chinese New Year falls on February 16th, the year of dog. Chinese New Year is also referred to as Spring Festival, due to the prominent arrival of Spring after the New Year.

When is the Chinese New Year? Does Chinese New Year fall on the same day every year?

Chinese New Year, is the most important traditional festival in China. In terms of grandness and importance, it is the equivalent to how Christmas is celebrated in the West.  It falls on the 8th of December in Lunar calendar ( 16 February this year) and lasts for two weeks.The festival comes to a climax on the last day of December in Lunar calendar (commonly known as the Spring Festival Eve or chuxi in Chinese) and on the 1st of January in Lunar month.

How do people celebrate Chinese New year?

The Chinese Spring Festival is more than 3000 years old. Preparations begin from the 8th of December Lunar calendar. The week commencing on the 23rd day of Iayue ( lunar calendar) is the busiest time for the Chinese. Activities include sweeping and cleaning houses and making special purchases for the festival, such as food, Spring Festival couplets, the characters of “福” and clothes from department stores and supermarkets. People living away from their hometowns begin to prepare for their journeys home. As a result, train stations, airports and long-distance bus stations are crowded with people eager to reunite with their families

For Chinese people, no matter where you are, no matter how difficult it is… it is a time to go home.

 

UWCSEA Singapore Community Fair

VivaLing at UWCSEA Community Fair 2018 – what a great time we had!

UWCSEA Singapore Community Fair

 

The Singapore VivaLing team joined the UWCSEA Community Market on Saturday 03 February 2018!!

This market was an engaging eco-marketplace that seeked to go beyond the buying-selling point of healthy, eco-friendly, compassionate and/or ethically-sourced products or services by including an immersive element to it.

We had such a great moment exchanging on language learning strategies and playing the “lucky wheel” game with families and kids. While having fun with word puzzles and “Truth or Dare” games, kids have also received attractive awards such as “Inside-Out” DVDs and free lessons with VivaLing.

We were so happy to see the excitement on their faces and hope to have many other opportunities to meet more international parents and kids in Singapore in the comings weeks and months!
Check out many more exciting moments at the UWCSEA Community Fair from: https://www.facebook.com/VivaLing/

Started in 1971, UWCSEA is an international IB school in Singapore, recognized for academic excellence, service and outdoor education for students ages 4 to 18. Over 75 nationalities enrich the daily life on the Dover Campus, as does the boarding community and the scholarship students selected through the UWC national committee structure on the basis of their potential to have a positive impact. UWCSEA is a truly international school.

the VivaLing team at UWCSEA Community Fair

 

interest vivaling

5 scientific ways to help your child learn better

interest vivaling

We empirically know that kids learn differently from adults. They see the world afresh, experience sights and sounds with unabashed simplicity, approach the unknown with candor. Sadly, adults have lost some of that along the way.

But why is that? Science attributes much of a child’s unique worldview to a partially developed prefrontal cortex. Where a fully formed one renders adults with functional fixedness, kids still possess a flexibility and freedom of the senses. We see sticks for sticks, they see ray guns; we look for the sun, they see a glowing ball of fire. They have not lost the sense of wonder and imagination and beauty that characterizes childlikeness.

But the difference goes deeper than that. Where adults are built to perform, kids’ brains are still designed to learn. They absorb what they see and experience at this age faster than any other. So how can we help them absorb the right values and skills? Here are 5 scientifically backed tips that could help.

 

 1-Read with them, not to them

Tell stories, but don’t just stop there. Get them to read too. Call attention to specific words, character moments, motivations. By engaging them with the actual reading of the texts, it stimulates early literacy for your child on a subconscious level.

Then go further. Get them to share how they feel about the story, what they liked about it, what they felt uncomfortable with. Engage. Give them the platform to express themselves and think on their own. Rather than mere listening, such a discursive approach brings in rich contexts and language to allow your child to learn healthy communication skills early. Even at that young age.

motivation languages vivaling

 2- Encourage grit, not IQ

Research has shown that self-discipline predicts success in life better than any string of raw intelligence. That is not surprising. Grit refuses to call it quits after getting beat down. Defeated. Dusted. It looks to what might be and crawls back up. In children, this begins with baby steps. They need to see learning as a journey; the attempt more important than outcome; the lessons more valuable than the end.

Thankfully, studies are beginning to uncover how grit can be taught. And a lot of it has got to with a growth mindset – success is a result of hard work and perseverance. As a family, anchor discussions on effort rather than grades. Praise them for trying, not achieving. Laugh at failing. Emphasize its normality. Over time, they will see what they want to achieve as a function of grit and effort. The first step has been taken.

gamification vivaling

 3- Introduce active thinking, not passive receiving

Learning stems from doing, not hearing. We were wired to pick things up by practicing and questioning and thinking. Start by using simple everyday things to engage your kids. Go for walks, bake together, visit the groceries store. Ask your child about the food prices, the amount of sugar added, why the birds chirp in the day. Such questions take ordinary situations and turn them into hotbeds for engaging your children about what she knows, and what else she has yet to find out. It causes them to consider how concepts and processes link together and encourage them to reflect on the how and why more actively.

Four smiling young boys and girls forming a circle against sky

 4- Peer influence matters

This is undeniable. A child’s social setting has a huge bearing on her behavior and learning attitudes. Studies have shown that constant exposure to rowdy, unstable environments affect children negatively, with harmful longitudinal effects extending further out in life. Likewise, an exposure to healthy neighborhoods, solid schools, and good friends correlates to better grades and stronger social skills.

Why is that? People are strongly influenced by others and their immediate social environment. Expose your kids to good settings early, and they will pick up good habits that will set them for years ahead.

 5- Believe in them

Treat a man as you expect him to be, and he would be that man. This applies to our children too. When we harp on their mistakes, they internalize it and start believing they are prone to making mistakes. When we tell them they are good at something, they absorb that and aim to actualize that in reality. This phenomenon, known as the Pygmalion Effect, paints a simple bottom line for parents. If we want our kids to be good at something, we have to start believing in them and let them know we do. That simple act affects their mindsets, molds their behaviors, and changes their habits. Before you know it, you will see its effect play out in your little ones.

Children learn differently from adults. But if we recognize their uniqueness and are careful with our behavior around them, those little moments we invest in will well up into the bright inquisitive person they’ll one day be.

By Geraldine Lee for VivaLing

Geraldine is an education technology writer, currently serving on the content team at Yodaa (link to: https://www.yodaa.co/), an ed-tech startup based in Singapore. In her free time, she researches on parenting issues, education tips, and technological trends.”

ma

To Read Chinese One Must Start Early

In any written language, words are subject to a triple association: sound, spelling and of course meaning. For example, the English word horse refers to the working and racing animal, is pronounced /hɔː(ɹ)s/ and spelled h-o-r-s-e. Anyone knowing how to read will be able to pronounce the word relatively correctly even if they have never seen it in writing before, as English is written in the Latin alphabetical script.

As explained by S. Dehaene, the reading process takes place here through the so-called phonological route: graphemes are mechanically converted into phonemes without resorting to deeper semantic representations.

cheval

The situation is quite different when it comes to Chinese. All Chinese languages are written in the unified system of Chinese characters. These Chinese characters are pronounced differently in each of the languages of the Chinese linguistic branch, for instance in Mandarin, the most widespread. Non-Chinese speakers often claim that the mapping of a Chinese character and its pronunciation is completely arbitrary; therefore it is said to be impossible to pronounce a character, even when knowing its meaning, unless its pronunciation has been learnt by rote beforehand.

The reality is slightly more subtle. Indeed, it is often necessary to learn simultaneously a word’s character and its pronunciation. But it must be stressed that 80% to 90% of Chinese characters are actually compound characters. They often consist of at least two subcomponents: a phonetic root (there are about 200 of them) and a semantic root (there are about 1000 of them). The phonetic root, often on the right side of the compound character, may give clues as to the pronunciation of the character. The semantic root, often on the left, tells about the word’s meaning, or at least the lexical category it belongs to. For instance, the Chinese character for a horse is马in simplified Chinese, and is pronounced  (third tone) in Mandarin.

The word for mother is pronounced mā ma (ma is doubled, the first one is pronounced with the first tone); the compound character for each ma has the semantic root of woman on its left and the phonetic root of horse on its right.

ma ma English

In a paper dated 2007, Bao Guo Chen and colleagues proved that the more arbitrary the mapping between meaning and sound or spelling, the higher the effects of the Age of Acquisition (AoA) on Chinese reading (for native speakers). Characters acquired early would be read with ease; characters acquired at a later stage would be more difficult to read if the correspondence between writing and sound or spelling was difficult to predict.

In other words, the more difficult it is to deduct meaning and spelling by reading a character, the more detrimental late acquisition is to quality and speed of reading.

Thus, within Chinese language and for native speakers, the impact of the Age of Acquisition increases with the arbitrariness of the mapping between meaning, pronunciation and spelling. What is the situation for alphabetical languages? By definition, reading an alphabetical language gives a very valuable clue as to what the pronunciation is going to be*.

Taken as a whole, the Chinese language is significantly more arbitrary than alphabetical languages in terms of mapping from character to sound and meaning. One can therefore assume that for Chinese even more so than for other languages, there is benefit in learning the language early so as not to be negatively impacted by the enhanced effects of the Age of Acquisition on reading.

 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about Chinese learning :
Chen, B. G., Zhou, H. X., Dunlap, S. and Perfetti, C. A. (2007).Age of acquisition effects in reading Chinese: Evidence in favour of the arbitrary mapping hypothesis. British Journal of Psychology, 98: 499–516. doi: 10.1348/000712606X165484

Stanislas Dehaene (2007). Les neurones de la lectureEditions Odile Jacob

 

Note : * The situation varies quite significantly from language to language. Italian or Turkish, for instance, are very easy to pronounce when reading a text, while a given spelling in English can be read in multiple ways (refer for instance to  toughthroughthorough, etc…)