"Harry felt a great leap of excitement. He didn't know what he was going to-but it had to better than what he was leaving behind." (J.K Rowling- Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone)
If the Harry Potter series left us craving anything it would be a love for magic, wizardry, witchcraft and a love for being hopelessly engrossed in reading English literature. When Harry Potter movies made their appearance on the big screen, the characters romanticised British English. Parents all over the world hoped that their children too would learn to speak the language. Learning a new language is not knowing what to expect but knowing that being able to understand more than one language is always better than the monolingual individual that you are leaving behind.
While many people still believe that the English language originated in England, it actually has its roots in Germany being a Germanic language brought into England. When German troops came into the country from Denmark, the language was brought to the country. So if your first language is German, perhaps. we have given you all the more reason to want to get your native German-speaking child to learn the English language. Whether your home language is German or even Zulu, you may be quite sure that English second language classes will benefit your child. You have noticed how quickly your child picks up concepts in his or her home language and you are almost certain that he or she will be just as great at answering questions in his or her second additional language too. So what is holding you back from letting your child take a basic English language class?
The English Learning Journey
Perhaps you don't in any way want to confuse your child and you are worried that making your child learn two languages at the same time will hinder your child's performance in his or her home language. If this is what is stopping, rest assured that there are no known arguments against bilingualism and no proof that learning languages simultaneously are more detrimental than beneficial. If you search for a blog post about how bilingualism and multilingualism are advantageous, you will surely find tons of articles and blog posts outlining the advantages of knowing many languages. So let's look at when your child can start learning words and phrases in the English language.
Are you ready for your child to start his or her English learning journey?
Consider the benefits of children learning English as a second language. If you are teaching your child to speak the English language by yourself, you may find these rules for teaching English as a second language for kids helpful.
When Can Your Child Start Learning Basic English and Taking Basic English Lessons?
You can't make your child speak or force your child to speak a whole new foreign language. You can, however, set the stage to enable them to want to speak the foreign language.
From 3 to 4 months babies are learning to produce sounds and to understand words. If you study babies and toddlers, you will note that they love to be stimulated and kept on their toes. There is no reason not to introduce a foreign language to a child who is about 2 years. The child who is willing to learn and learning at a rapid pace will devour the language as easily as they devour a tub of purity.
According to Maria Montessori, "Everything you say to your child is absorbed, catalogued and remembered."
The statement by Maria Montessori who revolutionised foundational education shows that very young minds can put chunks of information into catalogues. You need to make sure that your child masters speaking in their home language before the age of 7. You also need to ensure that you start getting your child to learn the new language as soon as possible. If you feel that your child will only be able to effectively grasp a second language, once he or she has started school, you always welcome to enrol your child into English classes much later than during their toddler years. You need to remember to constantly motivate children to learn English. Irrespective of your child's age or when he or she starts learning the language, constant motivation can cause your child to continue learning and to love learning English.
If all else fails when it comes to language learning, make sure to seek assistance in the form of a private ESOL tutor. A private tutor will know exactly which method works best to help children learn this new language. Sometimes learners don't easily pick up on a new language because of the methodology used to teach the language. This type of failed methodology usually happens in the school setting where teachers have to focus on many students trying to learn a language all at once. That is why children who also have private tutors to assist them with language learning tend to perform better than children who simply learn at school.
Ways to Help Your Child with English
"Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things but learning another way to think about things." Flora Lewis
At home, you can assist your child with second language children by incorporating the activity into your daily after school routine. Perhaps you can allow your child to watch half an hour of English cartoons per day. You will be surprised at how much children tend to pick up from cartoons. From novel words to entirely new ideas, they learn from watching cartoons that are aimed at teaching children.
You could have an English reading hour daily. Being fluent in English yourself, you could read a book to your child until he or she is proficient enough in the language to read to you. If a reading hour seems too tedious for your child who prefers to read in his or her home language that he or she understands well, try to shorten the duration of English reading. Read in both languages and make reading in the child's native language sort of a reward after the child has read a few pages in English.
Encourage English conversation at the dinner table. If your other family members are not skilled in the English language, provide your child with the responsibility of teaching everyone a new word per day. Your child will be delighted by having this responsibility and may even take the task very seriously.
Play games and allow for code-switching during play. You must allow your child who is getting acquainted with the English language to have opportunities to practise speaking in the language. Initiate code-switching during play or incorporate English games into your weekly routine.
While the strategies mention seems relatively easy and doesn't appear to be structured teaching methods at all, you would be surprised at how much children can learn when they are unaware that they are learning. Use a magnet to put a new English word for items in your fridge up every day. The more your child becomes prone to spotting English words in the home setting, the more likely he or she is to remember words and use these English words in dialogue.
Basic English Speaking Rules for Kids
Although this may sound strange to English second-language speakers, there are actually some rules that these speakers of the new language need to bear in mind all throughout the learning journey. You have to remember that the requirements of a first language speaker are different from what is required of a second or third language speaker. So what is required of your child?
- Let your child learn certain words and phrases one at a time. Use these words and phrases often until your child gets to grips with them
- Listening is just as equally important as reading and speaking. Listening is what actually allows the child to learn the language.
- You do not need to focus entirely on grammar and grammatical rules. As ridiculous as that may sound, for a child learning basic English, he or she is not expected to know every single grammar rule
The Value of Basic English Conversation Kids
"Bilingualism is an incredible gift to give a child. It goes beyond learning another language. It broadens mental development, thought pattern and world perspective." Mom in Oregon
When it comes to language learning consistency is always essential. Make sure to encourage English conversations in the home so that the language becomes part and parcel of every day.
Try not to force your child to speak English. Just by you speaking in English at least once during the day is enough. If you force your child to speak, he or she might very well reject the language. It is always better to bring English into your child's life through basic English conversations. The more you engage in conversations in the language, the more naturally your child will learn. Learning through basic English conversations could prove to be more vital than making your child sit through an intensive English class that he or she is just not interested in.
Also, you could also reward your child by packing up your bags and going for a holiday to an English speaking country yearly.
Remember to get your child to enjoy the English learning journey and to love every moment of it.