Tag Archives: english

Your Child in English Class


Bilingual children are amazing and children are like sponges that can absorb another language easily.  By having a parent, that speaks another language other than Italian is a wonderful opportunity for your child.  However, what happens when they go to a public school and learn their home language with teachers that really do not have the qualifications of teaching another language?

Here is my story.  I have two children both speak, read, and understand really well, American English (yes it is different then British English).  During their years of Elementary, it was interesting to say the least to watch what would happen in their classes of English.  During this time, the Math teachers having to take over the task of teaching English replaced the English teachers.  From the start, my oldest was very strong in his English.  He got to the point where he was almost teaching the class. The teacher was always checking with him and relying on him for the words she was not sure she was pronouncing correctly or the right word in a sentence she was creating. She did not mind that he was using American words or that he spoke American. She also did not correct him when he would use the American spelling instead of the British spelling.   He did not mind this but other bilingual children might have a problem being singled out to help the teacher.

My second child, born here, did not have such the understanding teacher and at first had to learn English by a cd in class.  The teacher wanted the children to repeat the words exactly with the British accent (an Italian speaking British on the cd) that was being heard.  I have horror flash backs when I had to learn Spanish in High school that way.  It was horrible trying to follow the speaker on a cd and not being able to stop it or repeat it to follow. One day he came home in tears because the teacher said he was not pronouncing “blue jeans” correctly.  The “u” in British has a different accent then in American English.   Unfortunately, we had to tell him that he needs to try his best and to follow what the teacher is teaching.  In other words if she wants British he needs to do it in British.  That teacher left and another teacher came that taught more like my first child’s teacher.  She was more understanding to the American and British differences, yet both are English. Now in middle school and the teacher is teaching the British “u” again.  She is telling the children that the British “u” is pronounced like the Italian “a” and that the word “us” is pronounced like “ass”.  Now my child came home telling me that he needs to say “ass” for “us”.  Now I am envisioning my child in the US going around saying that and being laughed at.  I know that there is an accent on the “u” but I do not think it is the sound of “a” in Italian.

What stories do you have of your child learning English or even another home language in their classes at school?

Cara Domings a Private Music Instructor living in Florence

cara MatteoI got to meet Cara Domings, a 25 year old female American singer/songwriter and private music instructor, when she came to do a piano lesson for my son.   She studied under Dr. Faina Brayanskaya in Boston, who is a Russian pianist with a unique, holistic approach to teaching.  This approach involves working closely with the student’s personal musical goals and focuses on expressiveness, channeling inspiration, and most importantly, enjoying music. Cara balances her teaching with hands-on strategies (such as using vivid imagery and touch to learn and remember) and uses a mix of resources (instead of one series of books, for example). She likes to see exactly where each student is coming and works closely with them to gain positive trust as their mentor and to challenge them in healthy ways.

I have to say I love her approach and interaction with my son. My son loves music and has gone to a Music School but was getting bored with the putting a book in front and studying like in school.  He is very auditory with music and loves to play music more by ear. I liked the fact that Cara asked him questions to see if he was understanding and figure out what he already knows. She interacted with him in seeing what his capabilities and desires were. He wanted to continue playing after she left instead of the usual I did my chore attitude he would get with other instructors.

Cara teaches private music lessons in Florence to students of all ages and am currently accepting new students. She teaches guitar, piano, voice and songwriting, both in Italian or English.  She is very passionate and positive individual. She has been living in Italy for the last five years and is currently residing here to pursue her studies in Italian language and culture, which is her second passion. In addition, this year she wrote and released a single from Nashville, Tennessee, which you can hear by going to this link www.listentocara.com. Though the piece has a country feel, Cara plays and teaches all styles and genres of music.

To contact her for lessons:  email is caradomings@gmail.com and phone is 3317798505

School is starting: Tutors

LearningIt is school time again and sometimes a child needs some extra help.  So I am looking to make a list of available tutors again.  What I need from you is tutor recommendations.  If you are a tutor then message me as well.  Please state Name, phone number, the subjects you tutor, your pricing, the languages spoken, and the times available.   Please email infotiscali@firenzemoms4moms.net

Kids – National Wildlife Federation

Kids - National Wildlife Federation

National Wildlife Federation publishes magazines for children. Ranger Rick, Ranger Rick Jr, and Animal Baby Explorers.  These are the magazines I get my children and I have gotten them since they were babies.  It helps them practice their English and the subscription fee goes to the environment.  I love it and they do as well.  They can use your international credit card and ship overseas.

Lot of fun things on the computer as well. http://www.nwf.org/Home/Kids/Ranger-Rick.aspx

Kids - National Wildlife Federation

                       Kids – National Wildlife Federation.