Latest news and updates for our Kuala Lumpur Young Learner parents - July 2015

How to get course books

After the success of the Reading Challenge in the first half of the year, we are looking forward to providing more fun and exciting extra activities for children in our centres.

If your child has changed level or just started at the British Council, you now have the option of purchasing the course books at MPH Quill or online at MPHonline.com (Please remember to enter your British Council discount code to receive our exclusive price offer for British Council parents. If you are not sure of the discount code, please ask our CS staff for an MPH flyer.)

Kuala Lumpur City Road Race

The KL City Grand Prix will be taking place on Saturday the 8th and Sunday 9th August. The race will pass along Jalan Ampang directly in front of the British Council, which will make accessing the centre to attend class difficult for parents and children. Because of this, we have decided to have no classes on this weekend and replace the classes missed on these days on the 5th and 6th September. This will be the final class of term and while we will do all we can to keep teachers consistent, some classes will have a cover teacher. Students will receive reports written by their regular teacher as usual.

Parent workshops

Our parent workshops this term will focus on helping parents support their child to speak English more confidently and accurately.

The first workshop, during week 4 (11th and 12th July), will focus on how parents can support their child to speak English more confidently when English is not the main language used at home. This will provide advice for parents who are able to speak English themselves, but do not use it much in the home with their children, and parents who themselves are not confident with their English.

The second workshop, during week 9 (22nd and 23rd August), will focus on speaking English more accurately when English is spoken at home regularly. This will provide advice to parents who use English at home to help their children become more focused on the differences between local English and international English and to understand some of the issues that their children might encounter when switching between the two Englishes.

Wise Owl

At the start of this term, we have started an exciting new activity for our Primary learners. Wise Owl is our new school mascot and he loves writing letters! In the first class, many of our LP and UP students wrote a letter to Wise Owl and posted it in the post box near the library. Wise Owl will write letters back to them over the next few weeks, and the children can write a letter in reply to Wise Owl. The aim of this is to encourage students to keep up a conversation with Wise Owl by letter to encourage writing for enjoyment.

If your child would like to write a letter to Wise Owl, they can collect a template letter form from next to the Wise Owl post box near the library or from one of the Teaching Assistant floorwalkers on level 2, who can be identified by their blue British Council T-shirts.

Children learning grammar

Our second parent workshop last term was on children learning grammar. Grammar is how words fit together in a language. Children under 12 are very good at figuring out how grammar works, as this is how they learn their first language. This means teaching grammar to children is very different from the way we teach grammar to adults.

Most children are able to understand how the grammar of a language works by having parts of a language highlighted to them. This is very different from the grammar presentations most parents will be used to from school, and often involves helping children identify what looks right or wrong. Most importantly, when learning grammar, children need the opportunity to use and experiment with the grammar by using it to communicate in some way. Without this critical step of using the grammar to communicate, many children learn how to recognise grammar and complete grammar activities, but not how to speak or write in English.

Many parents are worried about using English with their children because they are afraid their children will learn ‘bad’ grammar. But talking English at home can also help children learn how to be confident in English. Many of the children who come to the British Council speak Malaysian English at home, so we try to focus on helping students understand the difference between Malaysian English and a more international English grammar. You can help them at home by pointing out the differences between the Malaysian grammar used with their friends and family and asking your child to identify how you would say it in ‘School’ English.

And finally, did you know that...

  • there was no word for the colour orange in English until about 450 years ago.
  • as a verb rather than a noun, owl means "to act wisely, despite knowing nothing."
  • 11% of the entire English language is just the letter E.