Language Services Specialists

Education Services in French and German

How to make your child a better language learner

multi-lingualLearning any new skill is easier with someone there to encourage and guide you. You probably remember helping your child to speak their first words, use the potty and learn to read and whilst you were doing it you offered support and boosted their confidence. Children crave that support and encouragement for language learning also, so help them out by trying some of the tips below. If there’s any others you’d like to add, please leave a comment.

Recognition first

Remember when your child learned to talk and they understood more than they could say? Well, second language learning is just the same. Rather than asking your child ‘What can you say in German?’ try asking ‘Did you understand the German you heard in class today?’ This will help them focus on the fact that even if they can’t speak it right away, they are making progress, and of course, you can praise that progress.

Practise

If only our brains remembered things after just being told once! The biggest challenge for new language learners is remembering vocabulary. There are lots of things you can do to help your child with this:

-test them in the car

-download a vocabulary app

-stick a list to the bathroom mirror

These are just a few, there are many more methods that can help to make vocabulary practice interesting, regular and fun.

Challenge

Set your child a challenge – maybe learning several new phrases or getting a good result in a test and give them a language based reward. You could try a meal in a restaurant serving the national cuisine for the relevant country, watching a film together in the foreign language with the subtitles on or even a day trip abroad.

Holiday time

Nothing encourages and advances language learning more than time spent abroad. If travelling to the country of the language that your child is learning simply isn’t possible, there are other alternatives. Some websites pair up language learners so that your practice partner gets to learn your language and you practise theirs, all via a computer screen. Or you could try being a host family for someone learning English through a language school, and in exchange they could spend some time speaking their language with your child.

Competition

If you or a sibling are learning the same language, a little healthy competition can help to encourage learners to participate in language learning to their full ability. Simple competitions might be seeing who can remember the most words or count up to the highest number. More complex ones might be testing each other to see who can spell the most words correctly or name the most fruit and veg.

The key to learning a new language is to make it fun and rewarding. Games, films and apps provide variety and entertainment, whilst praise and progress will give your child a sense of achievement. With support and encouragement they will love learning to speak another language.

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This entry was posted on September 19, 2015 by and tagged , , .

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