Published: 03rd July 2020
This UK-based English language expert can jazz up your kids' English with a ten-day online course. Sign up NOW!
Help your children improve their grammar, public speaking skills, accent, pronunciation and writing via the Jazz Up Your English online workshop full of stories that are more than just that
When you have a command over English, you don't just have a command over its multiple aspects like speaking, writing and listening — you also have a command over first impressions, conveying thoughts, writing essays, penning a poem for your crush and so much more; especially in today's times where one is required to be a citizen of the world. The sooner our kids understand this and get on the bandwagon the better for them because the wide currency that English enjoys today is going to only go up tomorrow.
To help matters, English language expert and Founder of UK-based Performance Arts Language firm Jazzitup Kids, Lale Nicoletti is going to conduct a ten-day workshop of personalised online sessions in India for the first time. Through the workshop, Lale, who has a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification, has curated for children between 7 and 10 years a course that will help your kids jazz up every facet of their English.
Lale, who founded Jazzitup Kids in London, can help your kids nail those essays they have been struggling with, speak confidently with guests and even write a lyric or two. This she does with interesting and engaging stories that capture the child's imagination and teach them a lot, at the same time. To understand what exactly she will help Indian kids with, meet Jazzy the Juggler, the protagonist who fell from the sky and now will help you through every story and more, we got in touch with she who has conquered the English language. Excerpts from an interesting conversation:
Lale Nicoletti | (Pic: Jazzitup Kids)
Take us back to how you started Jazzitup and how you came to be associated with Chickenshed.
The things I excelled at when I was in school were language, drama, arts and communication. My academics took a different route and I went to a hotel management school where I learnt a huge array of skills to set up and run a business, including event management. I arrived in Italy as a very young mother and started a playgroup in Rome for young kids, none of whom spoke English. And that was my first understanding for the need to teach language creatively. So I found a bookshop in the centre of Rome and ran Creative English courses for children, expat and local parents and decided that doing this encompassed all the things that I loved and found interesting. So, I used my business background to set up Jazzitup Kids and got myself a TEFL certification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language). I even approached renowned and award-winning theatre company in London, Chickenshed and together, we devised and wrote the core of what became Jazzitup Kids' programme and that is literally teaching English creatively through performing arts and essentially, stories, scripts and characters.
I invented the character of Jazzy the Juggler — the little blue guy who is the protagonist in every story. Kids of all ages adore him and he has been a huge hit. And then we just started rolling it out. The first place we offered the curriculum was to a renowned theatre company in Central Rome called the English Theatre of Rome. We started offering the programme as an extra language support curriculum to support the English curriculum that they were doing in school. We put on regular shows for parents and ran it until we moved back to London. And I've been running a large scale international holiday camp in London since I moved back around 12 years ago.
Register now: allevents.in/online/
What sets you apart as far as you're concerned?
What Jazzitup Kids does is offers English language creatively. It is intended to reach out to children, primarily children from 5 to 12, which is the optimum age group. It intended to not only offer a language but also inspire children to use it creatively. We have an endless set of stories, settings and characters. There are scripts. We offer anything and everything from lyrics and songs, to creating poems to devising creative writing pieces. Every story comes with illustrated story comprehensions which is brilliant for developing memory. The wonderful thing about the curriculum is it can be modified for most levels of English. So we have immense quantity and variety of stories and workbooks. As one would know, the English language is incredibly rich and so is its culture and history.
Lale Nicoletti | (Pic: Jazzitup Kids)
What will you be focussing on more when it comes to conducting a workshop for Indian kids?
Essentially, in India, kids speak English well. The kids have a good level of English. So Jazzitup Kids offers many more aspects to enhance it. It offers to literarally teach language along with enhancing their public speaking, pronunciation, body language, stepping into a character and how you feel like as a character and also a lot of creative writing. So that aspect of the curriculum is something we will most definitely be focussing on.
So, what can parents expect when they sign their kids up for a class? What is the format of the class?
The format of the course will stay the same. Within every lesson, we offer a set theme. And every theme is based around a story. Jazzy the Juggler is in every story and there are vast sets of characters in each story. We will run through the language of that story and ensure that the children understand content and meaning, there might be a couple of words they are not sure of too. Every story starts with set learning objectives which is basically a promise to parents what children will come away with. And there are groups of words, vocabulary, grammar and short phrases that are pulled out of the story. We then run through the story from a language point of view and then we give out characters democratically to children and read through the story in character and that's when the pronunciation, public speaking and team work is instilled. Sometimes we will put children in pairs or teams to work or practice in smaller knit groups. And then we will do a showcase for the whole story.
What is more difficult to do online on Zoom is writing because through writing you can pick out the holes in grammar of each individual child and everybody has grammar holes of some sort. But how I have been working around this bottleneck is that after the Zoom classes, I send a brief summary to parents about what we did and homework tasks that encompasses everything that children have learnt, understood and gone over in the class with a writing task. And that could be a variety of things. For example, for the younger kids, it could be as simple as arts and crafts. For older, it is character description or a creative writing piece with has set format with a beginning, middle and end. It could be a sonnet or a poem of some sort or even lyrics to a song. Basically, each day we cover reading, writing, listening, speaking and grammar. And I will throw in lots of pronunciation. I actually do a lot of phonics with children, even children here in the UK struggle with it because English is not a phonetical language. Phonics is relevant to spelling and helps with it too.
During a performance| (Pic: Jazzitup Kids)
What will the children come away with at the end of the workshop?
They will have expanded their vocabulary, grasped more grammar tips and definitely learnt rudimentaries and practice a lot of public speaking. So, in that category come phonics, posture, pace, pitch, volume, words stress and all the elements of public speaking should be notably improved. They will feel more confident about speaking in public. And one of the key reasons why storytelling helps with public speaking is that kids often forget to be shy and self-conscious. So the content is so engaging they lose that self-consciousness that is often associated with public speaking. And I think that for all children, to hold themselves nicely and look at other people correctly, to be able to stand up and speak at a steady pace, with lovely pronunciation, correct volume and pitch is so important. So that's a big part of what I hope the outcomes will be.
The other outcome is to inspire a love of words, creating words and what you can do with words and language. And give children that love for even reading books or just writing more stories. That's something that I hope children will be left with.
Register now: allevents.in/online/
How do you ensure continuity between the classes over various days?
What helps is to do ten days, as we are going to do, one day after another so that you pick up the momentum so there are no gaps. These lessons are properly bridged with real writing courses that bridge one lesson from one day to another. They will have to go away on their own time and use pen and paper to go over what has been done that day. So it is a rollover of work.
Rehearsing | (Pic: Jazzitup Kids)
Do tell us about the end of the course performance and why you think doing it online is actually an advantage.
What we have always done with Jazzitup Kids at an end of term, end of week or end of the course, we put up what we call informal workshop performances. There are many reasons for it. It is all about transparency and it is lovely for parents to know what the kids have been doing. Sometimes, when you go off on a course, not every kid is very vocal about what they have done. It's also about sharing with family and It is about teamwork, working together as a group with a sense of purpose and the kids love this. We give them the opportunity to make their own props and personalise characters and we do that alongside the work we do every day, this is just an additional element.
It is good for kids to have experience in performing. There is a start, sense of purpose, everyone has to agree to who does what. Of course, doing this online is different because there is no stage. But online, it is much more about character and that's good because, for the purposes of India and the focus being on public speaking, this aspect becomes much more zoomed in. Because it is all about your expressions, your mouth and words, they aren't any other distractions. Otherwise, in a live situation, kids are distracted by body language, things in the room and this and that. So actually, by the nature of it being online, it organically becomes a much more focused public speaking experience.
Register now: allevents.in/online/
What would be the two outcomes you would love to see?
The emphasis is on public speaking and the importance to help them speak to people nicely and properly. And inspiring kids with language and how to use it creatively. If these two things are achieved, I think they would prove to be wonderful life skills.
This workshop is being brought to India by The New Indian Express Group's E-Kids and Jazzitup Kids UK. For more details on the workshop, check out allevents.in/online/