Teddy , the English speaking Bear.
Teddy is not just a bear, but he is a bear who only speaks English! Teddy is a friend to many children over the world, and helps them to learn easy English. It is not so scary speaking a foreign language when holding a bear!
My name is Julie Monsen and I am the creator and developer of the Teddy materials,
Learning English with Teddy , 2008 and Starting English with Teddy, 2012 .
Formed the Company, Teddy Language Enterprise in 2008.
I am English, married to a Norwegian and living in Norway. My background is international, my father was Austrian and my mother was English, born in India. I myself was born in USA, but came to live in England when I was 6 years old. I am a special needs teacher from England, with over 30 years of experience in many areas of Education.
I understand the importance of communicating, especially when I, myself, was trying to learn Norwegian. The frustration of not being able to make myself understood made me realize how important it is to have a positive start in learning a foreign language, especially at an early age.
English is the language of communication worldwide; it is an important part of child and youth culture.
Creativity, curiosity and confidence, the 3 C’s are the foundation to all learning. I believe that all children, including children with learning disabilities, can also learn a foreign language, providing that the programme is orally based, multi sensory in its input. The child can then use his abilities and senses to make meaningful communication. My motivation, as a special needs teacher, is to focus on the child’s development possibilities rather than weaknesses and limitations .I was lucky enough to meet my Publisher and designer of the teddy materials, Nina Skauge. She lives in Bergen and has a son with Down’s syndrome. She understood my mission and the need to have colourful, good quality materials for children with all abilities.
The Norwegian Directorate for Education came onboard with development funding and support, so in 2008, Teddy was born.
Teddy breaks down barriers; he is including for all children and is a symbol of affection and play. He inspires children to have fun in learning new communicating skills together with him.
My passion for the future is for Teddy is to become an ’international outreach teaching programme’. He will help children in far off places, not only to develop their English language skills , but by using the power of storytelling , having Teddy telling stories about their everyday lives, will enable children to learn and not be afraid of different cultures. Teddy will help to break down barriers and help to build small steps in global understanding.
Please be a friend of Teddy and press ‘like’ on his Facebook page.
Theory and Methodology
All pupils need a defined and goaloriented teaching which is based on theory and methodology. Teddy builds on the development psychologist Lev. S. Vygotsky’s development theory, concerning the relationship between learning and development, the zone ofproximal development. Vygotsky’s central message is the belief that what you can do with somebody else today, you can do on your own tomorrow. Vygotsky was more interested in a child’s potential development than a child’s weaknesses and limitations.
Teddy is based on the methodology TEACCH (Treatment and education of autistic and related communication
handicapped children) developed by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in the USA. TEACCH has a basis in values and cultures consistent with Vygotsky’s development theory.
In order for children to enjoy mastering something the teaching has to be structured and specific. If the teaching situation is predictable and clearly structured the child will feel safe and secure. Security enables the child to use its own senses and abilities, which is a condition for any learning.
What does Teddy emphasise? Ways of learning
• TPR – Total physical response
• Listening, doing, being concrete, learning by doing, routine and mime.
• The teaching utilises many senses.
• The material takes into account that children learn in many different ways.
• Being able to listen.
• Being able to read, recognise simple words / picture words from the student leaflet.
• Use of numbers. At this level being able to use numbers in communication, songs etc.
• Use of digital aids e.g. the dictaphone in the lesson because it is fun to hear one’s own voiceand the use of video for pupil feedback.
• Create situations where the pupils can be stretched, show interest and make attractive settings.
As English is spoken internationally learning it at an early age provides children with a solid linguistic foundation on which to build upon. English has become a vital part of child and youth culture. To be able to recognise and master some English is important for a child’s sense of cultural belonging and achievement.
Teddy in Pre-school
Young children will bring to language learning their curiosity and motivation in the tasks provided. They will learn through their explorations and play. It is important at this early stage that their first steps in learning English should be something they can enjoy and feel proud of. Learning English with Teddy and Starting English with Teddy are two language programmes for young children that will do just that. The Teddy programmes will give them the opportunity and motivation to learn through social interaction, enjoyment, mastering experiences and play.
Teddy in School
Learning is an active process. All teachers who have observed children in learning situations can see just how actively they become involved when they are interested in the task. The richer the language experience provided, the more they are likely to learn. Theme based teaching that is offered in the Teddy programmes, gives the opportunity to open up the classroom by bringing in the world outside and linking into the children’s interests. Here there is real potential for functional language learning to take place, putting the new language learnt into a meaningful context.
Teddy for Special Needs Children
Why should children with special needs struggle with English? “Why not?” I ask. All children have the right to good, adapted and inclusive teaching. There is no reason at all why pupils with learning difficulties cannot learn a foreign language through practical, oral based teaching. They are to learn a functional language and be able to recognise words from their own everyday life. Knowledge promotion clearly states that every child has the same rights to develop basic abilities and competence in order to participate in the knowledge society. The Teddy programmes are suited for teaching children with learning difficulties a foreign language. They represent a major breakthrough in recognising that children with special needs are more than capable of learning a foreign language, using practically orientated teaching. All children have untapped potential and with the Teddy programmes this can be realised.