The Ways Parents May Assist Students in Language Learning
Parents play an integral role in the students learning of the English language. Parents are a large part of the foundation for the support system of the learning process. The student spends the majority of their time with the parents, so the environment and tone the parents set will influence the student’s ability and willingness to learn. If the home is supportive of English learning, it will aid in assisting the student in learning English more effectively then if the home or the parents was not supportive.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Angela H. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Parents can be supportive by ensuring the student/child has to access the material needed for learning the English language. This material is to include, but limited too; pencils, writing paper, dictionaries, access to the internet and English learning material. The parent can also set the example or modal the learning with the student. This can be done by the parent trying to learn the language themselves or speaking the language as often as possible in the home so the student can increase talk time with the language. Something most parents do but may not think about is to ensure the child gets enough sleep and eats a balanced meal. It is very hard to learn if the student is sleepy, hungry or feeling bad.
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There are other things parents can do to encourage learning. Parents can practice reading with the student. They can read books, newspapers, street signs or even store names that are in English when they are out together. Parents can buy or get flashcards and worksheets off the internet, which are usually free and work through them with the student. If the student is taking an English class already, the parent can talk to the teachers to get additional learning ideas. The teacher can aid in explanation to both the parent and student if difficulties are being experienced.
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Parents can also choose age-appropriate videos or movies, which can show subtitles to watch with the child. This allows the student to be able to see a movie that interests them, hear the pronunciation of the words and see the word in their native language. Subtitles can be helpful if the parent does not recognize a word or is not familiar with the English language. In the course lesson material, teachers were instructed to not use the native language in the classroom. However, parents who are not professionally trained in teaching English or may not be fully adequate in the English language may need to use subtitles as a resource to aid them in the learning process with their students.
Other activities parents can do to facilitate learning with the student is to visit the local library and view English books. Another alternative is to take the student to a used bookstore or community nonprofit bookstore. These types of bookstores usually have a variety of books in many languages since most of the books are typically donated from the public. I prefer these bookstores and I have seen them in Europe and the UAE. They offer an alternative way to get access to the English material for free or little money. This is beneficial for parents whose financial resources may be limited.
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If the student is having difficulty with the language, the parents can hire a tutor to help the student learn English. This may be a good option if the parents are not confident in their own English ability and those parents who have the financial resources for this option. Tutors that are trained in the English language can offer a more detailed learning plan for the student. They can identify learning gaps and work with the student to overcome identified difficulties. Tutors have experience with learning games and have access to a greater variety of learning material, which can aid in making the learning experience more enjoyable for the student.
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In conclusion, parents are the backbone for encouraging and supporting the student in the learning of the English language. Parents can aid the learning process by having adequate learning material, participating in the learning process and making the experience positive and fun. There are numerous outlets and ways to help students learn. Parents who are actively engaged and supportive will help students to produce the most effective results.
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