The English Learners' Blog

A blog for English learners and their teachers everywhere, initiated in 2010 with the contribution of students from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. More about me on the On-line Profile below. Welcome!

Conversation Topic: TV & Radio

1.    Ages, TV & radio 

Selected Vocabulary

fetus, new-born/ infant babies (0-2), toddlers (young children learning to walk), children (3-11), tweens (a youngster between 10 and 12 years of age, considered too old to be a child and too young to be a teenager)/ pre-teen, teenagers (12-19), adolescents, young adultsadults, middle aged, mature, elderly people and so on 

  • Do babies watch TV or listen to the radio? Why?/ Why not? 
  • How many hours a day do teenagers watch TV? What about tweens?

Get more ideas from texts like: Media and Tween Girls

Monitor media usage: You will not be able to avoid all media. Children need it for school. It’s in the bus stops, on billboards…basically it’s everywhere. You can, in your home, monitor how much media is used. Set limits on when and where media can be used. If your daughter has a computer and a smartphone, have a time that all electronics need to be turned in. Do not forget about the iPod touch! This is more than just an MP3 player. Tweens can download texting programs and access the internet, so it is also a mini-computer. Set a “no electronics” rule for family dinners (and yes, this includes you, the parent!).

Understand the media: Know what your tweens are doing with their media. Check out their social media usage (if they are allowed to do it). If they have a cell phone, check to see what and whom they are texting. Watch TV with your tween. Talk about the shows that she is watching and work to understand what it is about the show that she likes. Look at magazines with her to see what she is drawn to and why.

Promote acceptance: This is a time where your tween’s body is changing and she may no longer be the beanpole she was before. Puberty can be tough and everyone develops at different rates. Promote acceptance of who she is and what she has to offer. Talk about how life is much more than solely appearance. Promote health over all other things. Validate that society will pull her in another direction and help guide her toward the acceptance path.

Walk the walk: You cannot expect your daughter to accept herself if she sees you talking about the diet you need to be on, or how beautiful you wish you were. Model for her the behaviors that you want her to follow. Figure out how to promote your own acceptance of yourself. This is the best message you can provide.

Talking about Ratings 

Selected Vocabulary: dubbing, voice over (the voice of an off-screen narrator), subtitles/ closed captions, and more words connected to the types of shows and movies shown on television.

  • Do you know the significance of these American ratings?
  • G                     = General Audiences. All ages Admitted
  • PG                  = Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG – 13          = Parents strongly cautioned
  • R                     = Restricted
  • NC – 17          = No one 17 and under admitted
  • How are movies and TV shows rated in Poland?

2.    Language and television

Discussion: starting from this Macmillan Dictionary blog post on the connections between language and subcultures on television.

I was interested in this article about language in children’s television, featured in last week’s round-up post. I love that it reflects the diversity of modern society, but apparently there have been mixed reactions to the Rastamouse programme. I do understand parents’ fears that their children may accidentally sound racist simply by copying the phrases used on the show, but the whole thing very much reminded me of the furore that blew up around the Tellytubbies over a decade ago.

Critics complained that the ‘baby talk‘ the Tellytubbies characters used would slow children’s language development. I’m not sure whether any research was ever done to find out if that was the case, but I’m guessing the controversy over Rastamousewill rumble on in much the same way. You have to admit though, he is pretty entertaining!

3.    What can you do while watching TV or listening to the radio?

 Suggestion: Illustrate the action by playing charades


  • charades = (used with a singular verb) a game in which the players are typically divided into two teams, members of which take turns at acting out in pantomime a word or phrase which members of their own team must guess.
  • to win at charades
  • Whose go (BE) / turn is it (AE)? = Who is next?

4.    Life before television

  • What did people do 100 years ago instead of watching TV and listening to the radio?

5.    Talk about Your Favourite TV/ Radio Show

Filed under: 2►LINGUA, 3►SPEAK▼, ■ Baby Talk, ■ TV & Radio, ■ TV Language, TOPICS▼

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