School’s out for summer, but if your child is starting secondary school this September, they will be expected to learn a foreign language as part of the school curriculum. Learn how to give them a head start.
In the UK, the national curriculum stipulates the necessity of teaching a modern language to pupils between the age of seven and 14 years. When you consider that more than half of the world’s population can speak two languages fluently, it makes the case for exposing your child to a foreign language as it can also set the right foundation for personal and career development opportunities.
While teachers are doing their part, it makes sense for parents to encourage and support their children in learning new languages.
Here are a few ideas simple ideas on how you can make learning a foreign language fun and exciting.
Help Them Find Time to Practise and Do Homework
While theoretical knowledge is essential when learning a second language, a child needs constant practice to grasp the pronunciation and vocabularies. Therefore, you can help your child find time daily for practising. Ensure they practise writing by reviewing their class notes and completing assignments. Regular contact with the language has proven to be effective in committing it to memory.
Provide Fun Interactive Tools
Nowadays, you can find numerous interactive tools to aid in learning. The apps and online tools supplement lessons by encouraging your child to practise new phrases and familiarise themselves with new vocabulary. For example, a language app that has great reviews is Babbel: this interactive app improves language fluency and comprehension and also enables you to keep track of your child’s learning outcomes and goals.
Make Them Use the Language
If you want to be good at playing a musical instrument, you have to use it often. The same applies to learning a language. If you know the language, talk to your child to help them practise. If you do not speak the language, encourage them to teach you a few phrases daily. Speaking foreign languages at home establishes a solid foundation, unlike at school where the focus is on grades.
Provide Videos, Books, and Music in the Language
Reading storybooks in the language can really help with comprehension. Therefore, you should buy books to read before bedtime to help build their vocabulary. Watching movies in the language will assist in pronunciation and further develop their understanding of the language and real-life application. Videos and music are also exciting ways to learn.
Explain the Benefits to Them
While some kids are excited about learning a new language, some shy away. If your child does not show interest in foreign languages, it may be because they do not see the benefit of learning it. You can change their perception by talking to them about the benefits of learning. While they may not understand the relevance of language to their careers, teach them how it could come in handy in future. It is also worth mentioning that their peers are doing it.
Help Them Find a Penfriend
Studying foreign languages can be tedious and overwhelming for kids. However, learning together encourages them to keep going. Instead of finding study groups, you can help them find a penfriend who is a native speaker. If your child stays in touch with their friend, they can pick up a lot and improve their language ability to native level.
Hire a Private Mother Tongue Tutor for One-on-One Sessions
If your child is struggling to grasp the basic concepts of a language at school, you could try hiring a tutor. A native speaker can provide one-on-one sessions until your child can speak the foreign language. You are assured of authenticity with a native speaker tutoring your kids.
Reward Them and Praise Them from Time to Time
Don’t be stingy with your words of praise as this can be a great motivation to keep them going and encourage them to work harder. Offer them rewards for completing a milestone like passing a test or participating in debates. The small prizes keep them engaged and interested in the foreign language. Besides, verbally praising them will elevate their mood.