Monday, November 11, 2019

Tips for Teaching Your Child a Second Language by Mia Ackerson

Knowing another language is one of the biggest intellectual assets that one could ever own. This is because this knowledge reveals the secrets of a foreign culture, their literature, cinematography, history, and mindset, which would otherwise stay obscure. Studies show that you need to learn a language before adolescence if you want to learn it as a native speaker. With that in mind, here are a few tips for teaching your child a second language.

1. Learn a Thing or Two about Language Teaching Methodology

There's a reason why you need to be a qualified educator to work in a school. However, parents can also teach their children a second language as they spend a lot of time with their children and will be aware of their progress. Similarly, they can adapt their teaching style to their child since no one knows them better.

To get the best of both worlds, it's a good idea for parents to study the methodology for teaching a foreign language to young learners as it'll definitely help in the learning process.

2. Keep It Fun

Your kids need to interested in learning a foreign language if they want to have any hope of speaking it fluently. Make sure they have fun when learning and even associate the two. This emotional connection will follow them through the rest of their lives and significantly bolster their academic efforts later on.

A simple way to do this is to get your kid toys of things that represent concepts that you want to teach them. For example, if you're teaching them a song in Spanish where various different animals are mentioned, what you could do is get them wooden toys of these animals. Some learners respond really well to physical objects you could always use them to narrate a play or story in the second language.

3. Utilise the Power of Technology

Make sure that you're using technology effectively. There are so many amazing language learning apps for children and it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity to get the most out of it. Apps like Duolingo, Memrise or Babel can help your child make the first step towards learning a new language. Since these apps often provide visual assistance and teach one through game-like experience, it's fairly easy to see why they would be so effective with young kids.

4. Have Reasonable Expectations

The first thing you need to understand is the fact that learning a language is an organic process that takes time. This means that you can't expect your kid to master a language in a matter of weeks or months and it's difficult accurately measure their progress. After all, you can't use the number of words learned or errors made as an accurate metric. You also can't expect them to progress their knowledge without them being able to use it so try speaking to them in the foreign language, even if it's just to say regularly good morning or goodnight.

As you can see, as long as you start early enough and keep learning fun, you shouldn't have any problems teaching your child a second language or even allowing them to develop bilingual abilities. Also, keep in mind to set your expectations as realistic as possible since not everyone learns at the same pace and just because you don't see the progress, it doesn't mean that it's not 

Mia Ackerson is a Melbourne-based part-time writer, currently engaged in projects with Wooden Crafts handmade toys. She babysits her nephew and loves writing about it based on her personal experiences, in her free time. She’s also interested in interior design, reading books, movies, music, baking, and gardening. You can follow her on Twitter.