The Ways Parents Help Students in Learning Languages
It is a truth acknowledge in all cultures that our parents are our first teachers. What the adage means is very simple but profound. Learning begins at home. Learning is bolstered also at the home. The success of a child’s educational endeavor later in life also owes a lot to the home.
In learning the English language and the different language skills, parents can also be of great assistance to their children. Below are some ways parents can provide help to their kids and boost their chance of succeeding in their English language learning endeavor and a majority of the support that parents can provide to their children may take place as early as a few months after birth.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Jesus C. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Even before a child attends formal schooling, parents can already provide many opportunities for their children to learn the English language. This can be achieved by creating a language-rich environment for the children, allowing exposure to the English language. Language learning is partly imitation and a great deal of attending to inputs on the part of the learners. Thus, activities that will let the children listen and attend to the English language will put them at an advantage. These activities need not be expensive; rather these are simple activities, fun-filled for both the child and the parents. Talking to their children in the target language of English is one of the best ways they can foster the learning of the language. As the child gets older, songs in English can be played to them; typically, these are nursery rhymes or simple songs fit for children which oftentimes tell a simple story through its lyrics. Videos featuring a wide array of characters speaking in the English language can also be viewed. As the child sing-a-long with these songs or imitate the words uttered by these colorful characters, not only are they attending to the language but are also allowed to speak and practice their pronunciation skills. These songs and videos oftentimes contain values as well or teach the kids other skills like simple Mathematics and Science concepts.
Home Reading Activities
Parents can also help their young children learn English by reading to them. This simple but very meaningful activity is not only a great bonding activity for both parent and child; it also fosters the learning of words, understanding of the written language, and precursor to the development of a love for reading. As the child listens to the parent reading, connections between the printed word and the world of objects are formed; connections between what is on the text and what it is in real-life will be made in the child’s mind. New words will also be learned since stories use a variety of words to tell a story or express an idea. There is also a big possibility that a love for reading, which may be carried on for life, be developed during these reading sessions with parents. Children, when reading upon, may associate reading to a pleasant experience lessening the chances of children developing an aversion to reading later on in life.
Supporting in Formal Learning
As the child enters formal school, parents can still do a lot to support them, language-learning wise. The same kind of support given when the child was still an infant learning his/her first words can be extended to kids who are already in school. The same kind of language-rich environment at home can still be given, with some modifications depending on the child’s age. Instead of reading stories, parents can now encourage their children to read the newspaper or watch the news in English. Parents can also act as conversation partners to their kids, talking to them or responding to them using the language. In this way, additional and authentic practice in using the language outside the school is provided to them. Of course, the role of parents as tutors, teaching their children explicitly for English lessons they find difficult is also away.
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In sum, parents can do a lot at home to boost the language learning of their children. These need not specialist knowledge nor too much time. These are but simple activities that promote not only language learning but bonding and positive values towards learning. The adage that parents are our first teachers will never get out of fashion. Rather, it is a comforting reality and a mantra that all parents and students must take into heart.
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