5 minutes — if it works well with your child, take as long as you want and repeat as often as you wish
Languages of the original source
English. But this activity can be used in any language.
Skype or a similar VoIP programme, which allows online conversation (with video).
Aim of the activity
The main aim of this activity is to get in contact with speakers of the family language and to practise its use with online communication tools. In some cases the parents or one parent is the only partner for everyday conversations. It is motivating and instructive for the child to have other people to talk to. Skype offers an excellent tool, for free, to get in touch with other native speakers out of the broader family. This activity particular appeals to parents and children with no speakers of the minority language nearby.
Tip | To find native speakers outside of the family can be more interesting. A safe
way to do this can be through epals.com. The parents register and then help the
children find native speakers of the language they want.
Preparation for the activity
All you need is a Skype connection and to make a “Skype appointment” with a date and time with speakers of the minority language (friends, family members – grownups and children). However, it is possible and adds fun to expand the conversation to include several common activities online. The activities may need some preparation.
Invite family or friends that speak the family language to a Skype breakfast e.g.
grandparents. The video function makes a common breakfast possible even though you and your child are far away from the grandparents. Lay the table and prepare for breakfast. Place the laptop on the breakfast table and connect with your Skype partner online and turn on audio and video. Now you are ready for a common breakfast – partly online. You can talk about how you slept, what you eat and drink, what you prefer to eat at breakfast, what you plan to do that day – subjects belonging to a very normal breakfast conversation. A small difficulty might be to include everyone present in the video on Skype, but the computer or camera can be moved to include everyone. Most importantly is that the child is able to see the Skype partners. All the conversation has to take place in the family language.
Significant benefit of the activity
The activity gives opportunities to practice the family language with people other
than the parents. The child establishes a closer contact with relatives and friends living far away. If joint activities are undertaken in addition to the Skype conversation, it will share some of the everyday life of the relation, and will create a closer connection with people, whom the child meets only infrequently offline.
Source of the activity
Multilingualliving.com. Technology to Help Children Learn a New Language: 10
Minutes at a Time, Tip #5: Have breakfast with grandparents via Facetime or Skype, HTTP://WWW.MULTILINGUALLIVING.COM/2012/04/23/TECHNOLOGY-CHILDREN-LEARNLANGUAGE-10-MINUTES-AT-TIME/
Tip | Find in the blog Multilingual living some more tips to support children learning another language via technology, 10 minutes at a time.
ePals.com, Global Classroom, http://www.epals.com