Local language school owner (Queen's School of English) and author of popular book Żegnajcie Błędy-Angielski dla Polaków, Terence Clark-Ward, has recently had his latest title published 'I can sing in English' (released March 9th, 2015) which teaches English to young children through songs.
Wroclaw Uncut caught up with Terry to ask a few questions:
WU: Why did you go from writing a book about typical mistakes Poles made in English to a songbook for young children?
T: I didn't want to be typecast – he can only write about one thing. I wanted a challenge that connected with other skills I have and the fact that I am a father of two children.
WU: Nice to do something different, but aren't there already plenty of songbooks in English on the market?
T:At first glance, it looks attractive enough, but probably very much like other similar titles. However, on closer inspection, it is actually radically different.
WU: And how is that?
T: Instead of using traditional songs or familiar melodies all the songs were originally written and recorded with live instruments. The music takes on many popular styles such as Blues, Reggae, Country, Calypso which makes it attractive for parents too. Above all, though, is the logic behind the book.
WU: Logic in children's songs. I am intrigued. Please explain.
T: The songs make use of a wordlist that every 2-year old child should know according to research by American Professor of child psychology, Leslie Rescorla. The words from the list are used and repeated throughout the songs so as to reinforce the learning process.
WU: So the songs have a clear learning purpose, as opposed to say 'London Bridge is falling down… ?
T: Yes, that's right. What's more, all the songs come with full instructions for use and could easily be used by someone with no previous knowledge of English. Everything is explain in English and Polish.
WU: Like a Polish grandmother?
T: Well, think about it, If a grandparent cannot speak English, but could sing 'Happy birthday to you…' which is already 4 words, these songs start from as little as 7 words.
WU: Yeah, I can see your point. Can you add anything else?
T: I think a key difference is that this book explains how to use each song, what actions to do with each songs and in which order to play them.
WU: And for what age of child is it aimed at?
T: It is aimed at 2-5 year olds, but could also be used with slightly older children. But as I said earlier, parents and grandparents can also use it.
WU: And where can I buy it?
T: It is available nationwide at all major bookshops including Polango, International Bookshop, Empik and should appear on ebay and Amazon pretty soon.