Across cultures and generations, popular educational series for kids ranging from classics like Sesame Street to more recent series like Paw Patrol, share certain commonalities as to what makes them successful. For kids to enjoy watching them while learning letters, words, problem-solving skills, and other moral lessons (think Aesop’s Fables) kids’ attention is captivated by certain elements – and learning Greek is no exception!
The not-so-secret formula includes likable/relatable (and antagonizing) characters and meaningful stories – but there’s also another essential component we shouldn’t overlook – joy & laughter! That’s because “funny” works! Observe parents teaching their toddler anything – like how to use a fork - and often, the toddler is laughing – why? Because parents instinctively know that teaching something in a funny, playful mode works better.
This comes as no surprise, studies* show that positive emotions like laughter can increase levels of the chemical dopamine in our brain, leading to enhanced learning. What is surprising is that adults sometimes forget that kids are not miniature versions of university students! Kids are…kids! Humor, joy, and laughter are not just a welcome extra – they’re necessary for kids learning Greek (or any other skill). You might have heard that kids lose interest in their Greek classes sooner or later; that’s because anything taught to kids must be joyous and meaningful – including Greek classes.
Laughing also reduces stress, including the stress of making a mistake in front of others – that’s why our Live Online Classes teachers make sure every class is carried out in a fun and welcoming way for all kids to feel comfortable practicing their Greek vocabulary in front of their classmates. We do however also have - SpeakUp - a speech recognition function for kids to practice their pronunciation at home and gain more confidence between classes.
Making Greek an exciting, meaningful, and joyous experience is core to Ellinopoula – we see how it boosts kids’ progress in learning Greek and how it further fuels their hunger for learning more about their Hellenic heritage. Starting from simple activities, like the Bubbles Game, an entertaining way for kids to learn the Greek alphabet, kids understand that it’s ok – in fact, it’s funny – to make a mistake. So, it’s a win-win situation – kids playing the Bubbles Game either get it right or have a laugh with the error. Similarly, older children learning Greek with Feed my Dragon – a favorite with many kids – either get the food item right and the dragon is fed, or they have a laugh as the dragon swipes the wrong item away.
Kids are eager to learn - whether it’s the piano, math, or learning the Greek language - it’s up to us to ensure it’s a meaningful and joyous experience!
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*Science Daily Using humor to help toddlers learn Date: September 7, 2015