Category Archives: Encouragement

OPOL or bust? What’s the best method for language learning?

I’ve heard it said many times that one parent one language (OPOL) is the best if not only way of family language learning. It is often held up as the Holy Grail of bilingual families.
In our home OPOL was not possible, as my husband was not keen to do this. He’d only lived in England two years by then and felt consolidating his English was most important. I’m native English and had studied German to GCSE, so started to pass on what I knew when our son was small. Maik did help me work on my German, so me and my son were learning together. We found some French books in a local shop when he was a little over a year and we started to read those to him now and again.

Il fait comment le caméléon?

Il fait comment le caméléon?


It was all very ad hoc, and in the very early internet days we did not come across anyone doing the same. I just felt it was important so we shared German books together, recited days of the week in the car, sung along to nursery rhyme CDs, counted on the swings, played with toys which spoke German and watched German DVDs together as well as German satellite TV. My thinking was to give as much language exposure as possible which he could build on in school. Yearly visits to Germany provided a good chance for him to meet German speaking people and practice speaking. Food vocab was considered most important! We celebrated German festivals like Martinstag and Nikolaustag together. It was hard work and I was not sure how much difference it was making.
A few years later my girls were born and I met a few German speaking mums with similar age children. It was so encouraging to be able to speak to someone outside our family in German and talk with them about how they brought German into their family. We shared books, DVDs and CDs which was great. We also found out about a German Lutheran church about an hour away so we were able to join with them for Martinstag and Nikolaustag.Nikolaus Boots
My children are not fluent in German but can understand a lot and communicate in the country. My son can easily pick up native accents (and mimic regional accents too) and speaks better Dutch than his parents. I put this down to hearing and using a few languages from a young age. My six year old was astounded when I told her some families only speak English.

So back to the opening question, OPOL or bust? What’s the best method for language learning?
I think there is no best way of family language learning. Raising multilingual children is a flexible and very personal process, do what works for you and your family, make it part of your lifestyle. It needs to be something which works for you and your family in the long term.
Bilingualism is a massive asset to your children in the long term and as parents we are so fortunate to be able to give it to our children. Just do what works for you all and enjoy the journey together.

What has been your family experience? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, or you could even write us a guest blog.

What language learners can learn from actors

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My gorgeous, talented husband @lingotutor

Last weekend our family were on stage in The Magic Toyshop by Andrew Willment.

I was helping backstage and it got me thinking. Acting is a lot like language learning. Here is why I think so.

 

Actors learn lines and phrases. They use cues and context to learn their lines.  Many polyglots start a new language by learning key phrases and build from there. When I started to learn Mandarin in January 2015, a  phrase I picked up quickly was:

Wǒ xiǎng yào yībēi kāfēi xièxiè. – I’d like a cup of coffee thank you

It was not long before I figured out how to ask for a cup of tea.- Wǒ xiǎng yào yībēi chá xièxiè.

 

Actors learn a script 

Benny Lewis in his book Fluent in 3 months talks of the value of writing a script in the target language, and learning it to start basic conversations. I’ve been learning Urdu with Eurotalk this month. I’ve learned to say  good morning – Subah Bakhair, Thank you – Shukria, goodbye- Alwidah. With these simple greetings I’ve been able converse with Urdu speaking parents and build up more Urdu as the speakers helped me.

 

Good actors are able to improvise when dialogue goes off script.

Good language learners are not flummoxed when they do not know a word in another language, they simply explain using word they know and communicate their point. I use this a lot when talking to my mum in law in German!
Acting is a lot of fun and allows to you be another person (or simply a more confident you!)

A Turkish proverb says

“One who speaks only one language is one person, but one who speaks two languages is two people.”

I’ve taught my first Chinese New Year class of 2016 this week. When I can communicate and sing in Mandarin it’s an amazing feeling; as I get into the swing of the class I feel I’m flying!
My favourite part of the Magic Toyshop play was these lines…

No look up there, he’s flying …. up… in the air!

Heavens above that’s impossible!

Yes, and someone needs to tell them that or they are going to carry on doing it!

So I tell you… go and do the impossible. Go out there and have a go at communicating in another language, and let me know where it takes you.

Shine light in the darkness -Martinstag

Today we met with lots of other German families to celebrate St Martin’s day. (Martinstag) This is commonly celebrated by all in Germany whether they go to church or not.

Sankt Martin

We heard the story of St Martin.

Sendung mit der Maus

He choose to share what he had with a beggar. In that sharing of his cloak he gave the man warmth and comfort. He stopped what he was doing to make a difference for that one man and so is still remembered today for his kindness.

German children remember this by making lanterns and walking in the dark singing songs.

During the service the children were asked about people having difficulties who needed God’s light to shine on them. The children wanted to remember those without homes, Oma and Opa, those who were sick, soldiers and those in Paris.

Kerzen

After the service we went out with about other families to shine our lights into the darkness.

We sung

“Ich gehe mit meiner Laterne,und meine Laterne mit mir,
Da oben leuchten die Sterne und unter da leuchten wir.
Mein Licht ist aus ich gehe nach Haus
rabimmel, rabammel rabumm – bumbum!”

“Laterne, laterne, Sonne Mond und Sterne!
Brenne auf mein Licht, brenne auf mein Licht aber nur meine liebe Laterne nicht!
Laterne, Laterne, Sonne, Mond und Sterne”

“This little light of mine,
I’m going to let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I’m going to let it shine.
Let it shine, let shine, let it shine”

There were lots of home made lanterns from the very basic to intricate 3D foxes. We had some Oma sent with electric candles. We have used real candles before but they set on fire and had to be stamped out!!

We do this each year as a chance to meet with other German speaking families. It is a great visual reminder of how even a little light makes a difference in the darkness.

Do you celebrate Martinstag with your family?
How do you pass on your culture to your children?

Let us know in the comments below.

The Truth About Raising Bilingual Children

This week we have a guest post from Muriel Demarcus from www.frenchyummymummy.com about her experience and opinions on raising bilingual children. First published 10th May 2011. Over to you Muriel…

credit Knightsbridge-villiage.com

credit Knightsbridge-villiage.com

When friends see my daughters, they are amazed that they can speak English without any hint of a French accent, and reply to me in French as if it was completely natural to switch from one language to the other. I am obviously very proud of my children, but I can’t help thinking that:

It was, and still is hard work to make them speak French. My younger one especially has explained to me countless times that French is boring and, by the way, she can’t be bothered to learn to speak it. They go to British schools and are more British than French by now;

It is me whom my friends should be amazed at, as on top of a full time job and taxiing them to their various after-school activities, I try to teach the girls some French at least twice a week, and once a day when I am ready to put up a good, old-fashioned fight against them, which can happen after two weeks of taking vitamin supplements and usually doesn’t last very long anyway.

In short, it is not as glamorous as it looks. To make matters even worse, the selective nurseries will test your little darlings at age three and, if they are coming from a bilingual family, their English vocabulary will be narrower than “proper English kids” and usually this will be held against them. I also know some kids who started speaking very late because they were coming from bilingual or even trilingual families (parents who speak different languages and communicate in English). Everybody was worried that something was wrong with them, whereas they were just confused.

The truth is, there is no such thing as perfectly bilingual. I would say that English is my daughters’ primary language, and French will remain my primary language.
On top if this, French is awfully complicated. My daughters have a tendency to use the colloquial form if “you” (“tu”) with everybody, even with doctors or policemen. Most of the times it makes them laugh, but some were really offended. French can be really stuck-up, you see. (I would know, I am French.)

So, all in all, is it worth it? Of course it is, especially in the longer run. But not as much as I thought. You see, I have seen kids really messed up with this whole “bilingual” fashion, and they ended up having to undergo years of speech therapy and seemed very, very unhappy. My advice : Happiness prevails. Life is too short. If it’s too big a deal, stick to English.

Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London

Learn languages and make friends with a GIVEAWAY from Chatterbags

Multilingual

picture credit: earlylearninghq.co.uk

I’m starting to realise I may be a bit of a language nerd. I’ve been thinking recently as to why people learn a language. I think for me the greatest reason is that it gives me the chance to make friends. I’m a really relational person and language learning is great for this. As Nelson Mandela said “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language it goes to his heart”

The inspired guys at Chatterbags thought up the idea of Chatterbags so that people can tell at a glance what languages you speak. At Lingotastic we were really impressed with this idea. Chatterbags have been kind enough to offer Lingotastic visitors a chance to get a chatterbag for free. To take part in this giveaway from Chatterbags you need to enter with the rafflecopter form at the end.

As I walk my children in to school I often say good morning in about four languages to the other parents and children. Dzień dobry, Bună dimineața, Jó reggelt, As- Salàmu ’Alaykum, доброе утро, Dobrý deň, Guten Morgan, Zăo sháng hăo!

At my children’s school, there are parents and children whose main language is, Polish, Hungarian, Mandarin, Russian, German, Romanian, Slovak, Urdu, Arabic, Ukrainian and French.

In September, my daughter returned to school, after the summer holidays. She had three children in her class who’d just arrived in the country and spoke no English. The children taught each other to say “good morning” in their own languages. I was really impressed by this mutual language teaching at age 7 and also the way the new children were welcomed into the class. I decided I could do this too, and learn to say at least good morning or simple greeting in these languages.

Chatterbags

Chatterbag

I started to chat the new families and learn how to say good morning. I thought language learning would be a great way to get to know other families in the school. It’s been a fun journey. I’ve spoken the wrong language to people a few times and sometime pronounced so badly they did not know what I was saying! The Urdu and Arabic speaking mummies automatically respond to me with “Wa ’Alaykum us Salam” then realise it’s me speaking and look a bit confused or giggle! In time they’ve got used to it though!

On the whole people have been really pleased to teach me a few words of their language and laughed with me as I stumble over the new words. It empowers them and builds their confidence as they are the expert in this area. Some of the mums are new to the country, learning English, and like the fact I take the time to talk with them and understand what they are saying. I, myself have struggled with communication in other languages so I’m patient!

I’m enjoying building my own language skills and making friends too. Do you have anyone you can get to know better by learning their language? I’d love to know how it goes! Let us know in the comments box below.

bagsThere are ten Chatterbags on offer as part of our giveaway from Chatterbags, kindly supplied by the guys at Chatterbags. To win your very own Chatterbag to get you talking, enter with the Rafflecopter link below! We’d like to see you out and about with it so please tweet us a picture of yourself with your bag.

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Interview with Kristin Hellberg from Bilingual By Music

As a family we’ve found it difficult to find good language learning resources, so over on our
resources page. we’ve compiled lots that we’d recommend. These resources were created as individuals realised there was a need and that they were able and willing to meet that need. There are inspiring stories behind all of the resources and this time we hear the story of Kristin Hellberg, Founder of Bilingual By Music.

elibbm1

Hi Kirsten. Could you tell me little about yourself and your family?

I was born in Sweden but moved to London at age 19 to study Musical Theatre. I started working as a performer and appeared in various West End shows as well as doing voiceovers and TV. I went on to do a BSc in Psychology followed by a MSc in Business Psychology.

Both me and my husband are Swedish, so its very natural for us to have Swedish as the Family language at home. It’s also important to us that we can talk to our 3 kids in Swedish, since that is our ‘emotional’ language.

We live in London and the children go to English speaking schools, they are very much exposed to English every day. We try our best to “promote” Swedish and Sweden to them as much as possible. Its not always easy though. We often find that they speak English with each other when they play together on their own for example.

How does your product help family language learning?

I think music can be a fantastic tool in language learning. Music has rhythms, structures and rules just like languages. Language learning involving music can be a fun way of repeating words and understanding concepts. Its also a great way of remembering new words. The songs on our Swedish-English album are songs that are sung in both the UK and Sweden, so families already recognise the tunes. I think its lovely to point out the similarities between the countries and cultures. We are currently working on a Swedish-English Christmas album which should be ready in time for Christmas 2015. On a sunny day this week we went to record “Let it snow”!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell those reading our blog?

I think its absolutely fascinating and I really enjoy reading about bilingualism and how it all works. There is so much interesting research that is being done as well and Twitter and Facebook is a great way of finding references and ideas.

Try to expose yourself and the children to the minority language as much as you can. Read books, listen to music and songs, watch films, use playful apps. Also try to embrace the culture, which for Swedes would include Midsummer, Lucia playing traditional games such as ‘Bro Bro Breja’ and enjoy the Swedish food traditions such as Semlor, våfflor, leverpastej etc.

Bilingual by music kids song swedish and english illustrated by asa wikman 2 © asa wikman

If you fancy learning some Swedish or Danish, Kristin at Bilingual By Music has produced some gorgeous bilingual CDs with familiar songs. You’ll be singing along in no time… I’ve a few Swedish speaking mummies who rave over these CDs. They’re also available on ITunes, Spotify and Amazon.

Website: www.bilingualbymusic.com

FB: www.facebook.com/bilingualbymusic

twitter: @bilingualbymu

Countdown to Blast Off to Spain. ¡VAMOS!

I hope you’ve had a lovely Easter break!

We’ve just finished a term of French. Each time we finish a block I’m astounded at how much the mums and little ones have picked up. By the end of the term almost everyone was singing along, knowing all the words!

This term, only two weeks in two mummies messaged me excitedly to say their little ones were saying the “Toc Toc Toc” rhyme word perfect. (They are only just two years old!)
We’ve recorded our version of this over the holidays. I hope you enjoy it!

We made some lovely Easter crafts and learned some French along the way.
rabbitsJoyeuses paques cardoeuf de paques

We enjoyed the Bébés Chouettes story this term. We had a few little ones worried that Maman Chouette had gone, but she always came back safely!

bebe chouettes

It’s been great to have a few more families join us this term and we are expecting more next term.

We had a lovely surprise on the final Chesham class where two mummies brought cake to share after the class. Yum!
easter cake

This week we’re starting with a Spanish holiday class at Little Beans and Co then blasting off to Spain to meet “la Oruga Muy Hambrienta!” It’s going to be an exciting term. We’ve some favourite songs like “la Vaca Lola” and new translations like “Cinco Patitos” Here’s a sneek preview.

Can you learn enough Mandarin to teach it in five weeks? and #GIVEAWAY

Over the last five weeks I’ve learned enough Mandarin to teach a beginners class to 1- 8 year olds with their parents and teachers. Just in time for Chinese New Year. It may sound a crazy idea but I had a few theories to test out!

I attended the Language Show Live in October 2013 I want to a seminar which really inspired me. It was called Discovering Language – multilingual language awareness They are working with Manchester Metropolitan University and advocate teachers enjoy learning and learn with their pupils. They say it is possible to teach a language and be just ahead of your learners.

At my Lingotastic classes I advocate to the families I work with that the best way to learn a second language is the way you learn your first. Hearing, responding and using that language. In a playful environment rather than a classroom setting.

With this in mind … I decided to learn Mandarin in time to teach a class for Chinese New year, just 5 weeks away. No pressure then!

Toni Wang from “ A Little Mandarin “, back in October, had sent me a CD of some funky traditional Chinese Children’s song. However, I’d been too busy to do more than have quick listen – until now. The countdown had begun …

Tuesday – day 1 (14th January)
I listened to “Little Mandarin” music CD, whilst driving to and from the German class I was teaching. In 40 minutes I’d learned “Happy Birthday” in Mandarin 生日快乐 (shēng rì kuài lè) and the other songs had started to sound familiar.
I also saw a Chinese mum on playground today and said my one word of Mandarin 你好 nǐ hǎo. She replied so it can’t have been too bad!
I chatted a little and found out she spoke Mandarin, so asked the Mandarin for good bye. Used it twice then forgot it!
I found out my local library has a free link to a resource called “transparent languages”. I must check that out!

Wednesday – day 2
I listened to more of the Little Mandarin CD in the car. I met up with another mum with two little ones who speaks Mandarin to talk about the class I’m planning. I scheduled the meeting between her toddlers’ nap time and my school pick up. She loves the Little Mandarin CD and heard many of the songs in China. She teaches me how to say “sing nyen kuài lè ” I recognise the words kuài lè from the CD. It means happy. She teaches me about rising and falling tones. She tells me how to say goodbye again: 再见 zài jiàn

Thursday
I printed out words to songs from http://www.alittlemandarin.com/lyrics
I listen to the CD between classes. My hubby is listening to a “Learn Mandarin in the car” CD so shared what he’d learned.

Friday
My seven year old daughter listened to Happy Birthday 生日快乐 (shēng rì kuài lè) on the CD; she was singing along in Mandarin by the end of the song! I had a look at the free Transparent Languages course through my local library. I like it but it’s a shame it is only available on desktop.
I found a blog
about counting to hundred by Transparent Language
I can count to three now!

I have offered to lead a few songs for Chinese New Year in my Children’s school. That’ll help me focus, if the looming library class didn’t already!

Saturday
Hubby showed me the audio course he had found by Hank N. Raymond, Henry N. Raymond for Penton Overseas, Inc.in Deezer. I can now listen whilst walking.

Monday (19th January)
I listened to A Little Mandarin CD whilst traveling to my classes. We watched Peppa Pig and Little Einsteins in Mandarin.

Tuesday
Singing along to A Little Mandarin whilst travelling to work. I can sing two songs now: Two tigers 两只老虎 (liǎng zhī láo hǔ) as well as Happy Birthday which I learmed earlier! Picked out part of a song understanding the words for “we are.” Listened to a few chapters of “Learn in Your Car – Chinese Level 1” whilst walking to get children from school.

Wednesday
Listened to the first chapter of “Learn in Your Car – Chinese Level 1”

Thursday
Lots of traffic on way to work meant plenty of time for “Learn in Your Car -Chinese Level 1”: three Chapters today! Slowly picking up phrases. I met Chinese lady and enthusiastically used my now expanding vocabulary. 你好 nǐ hǎo, nǐ hǎo ma and 再见 zài jiàn (3 phrases now)

Week 3 -26th January
Continuing with A Litle Mandarin CD in car. I can sing and understand another song now Find A Friend 找朋友 (zhǎo péng yǒu). That’s three songs now. This is sung really quickly so I’m really pleased with myself. So much so I’m singing it most of the time. This explains why my chidren can sing it too.
I find out about an app by Eurotalk
which means I can learn Mandarin by playing on my phone when I have a few spare minutes. It sounds perfect to fit into my busy schedule.

hello

Week 4 (2nd February)
Continuing with A Little Mandarin CD in the car. Starting to learn the Good New Year song 新年好 (xīn nián hǎo ). Playing the Eurotalk app for 10 minutes a day. I like the way it links a picture word and says the word, too. A few phrases are starting to stick in my brain! I like that I can play the app when I have a few minutes to spare.

Week 5 (9th February)
Listening to the A Little Mandarin CD in the car. Playing the Eurotalk app for 15 minutes a day. I like the fact that it’s just playing games and as you can see the mandarin script as well as hear it. It’s sticking!

hard game

I’m finding I understand more of the songs I’m singing. I’m singing a lot around the house too and the rest of the family are picking them up (grudgingly in the case of my husband!) We decided to record our family singing the 新年好 xīn nián hǎo song to help market the Chinese New Year special we’re doing next week.

Our You Tube video has been seen by a few native Chinese speakers who think we sound native –result!!
Both me and my Children picked up the songs in the same order so I’ll teach the simplest song first Happy Birthday 生日快乐 (shēng rì kuài lè).” then two tigers 两只老虎 (liǎng zhī láo hǔ). I’ve been lent two big and I mean BIG tigers especially for the class!!

I’m spending about 15 minutes a day playing the uTalk app and gradually learning more.

goodbye

14th February Saturday
Chinese New Year Blast Off Class at The Library. It was AWESOME! We had 25 children singing in Mandarin with even their parents joining in at some points! Really exciting to see. The write up is an earlier blog post. (http://lingotastic.co.uk/?p=307)

Sunday
We took the family out to Rickmansworth Aquadrome. Whilst we were there we recorded the two tigers 两只老虎 (liǎng zhī láo hǔ) song to send out for Chinese new year

My daughter has asked if we can stop recording us singing Mandarin songs now please!

25th February I taught the Mandarin Class to 30 children from Reception and Nursery of a local school. The children were amazing! All could say hello , good bye and thank you. I had rave reviews from the teachers, who plan to continue using the few words they have learned in class. “Both the staff and children immensely enjoyed having Sarah to visit and we would love to learn more Mandarin in the future, with her”

Not bad for five weeks of playing and singing Mandarin!!

Which language do you think I should attempt next?

Enter our completion below to win an access code for full access to the UTalk app. (Basic access is free) I’d love to know how you get on.

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I was sent the A Little Mandarin CD and uTalk app to review and this is my honest opinion of them.

Five Surprising Places for Language Learning with your Little One

5 surprising places for language learning with your little one
This entry was first posted on July 11, 2014 on the Flash Sticks Blog

la lune

We’re fortunate enough to have a great guest post on the FlashSticks blog today, from Sarah Barrett, of Lingotastic. You might remember Sarah from her post a couple of weeks ago, where she told us all about her language teaching journey.
Sarah’s parent and toddler group, Lingotastic, uses puppets, music and stories to help young children and their families to take their first steps into a second language, in a friendly and welcoming environment.
Today, Sarah tells us about a couple of here favourite stealth language learning ideas for families. Perfect timing just before the weekend.
Enjoy…

playground
1. In the playground
On the swings: Count in the target language whilst pushing your little one. And once they’ve mastered numbers, you can always progress to trying out days of the week, as well as months of the year.
Round the roundabout: Ask your little one if they want to go faster or slower in the target language. My children learned the word nochmal – again – on a roundabout.

Family car trips
2. In the car

Counting: Sometimes simplicity is the most effective way for your children to learn a new language. Count to ten around in a circle in whichever language you choose. My children love this one and it’s a great way to ensure they’ve got their numbers down.
Dictionary games: This one’s great and has never-ending possibilities. Simply select a letter and give a description, then ask your child to guess the word. So, for example, you might say, “the word starts with an “F” and is a cake with fruit in it.”
Listening to music: CDs with songs in the target language are a brilliant tool. Music is a very powerful tool for language learning. What’s great from my experience is that children find themselves singing a song fluently in another language, then they become curious about what the words mean, which is where the real learning comes in.

at home
3. At home

Instructions: Give simple instructions in the chosen language, making it as much as a casual part of your routine as possible. You might say, “Schuhe an! (Put your shoes on!).” At first, you may need to do a little translation, but you’ll find that your child very quickly begins to understand the words in the target language.
Counting: There’s no end to the counting game. And counting when going up and down stairs is a great bit of fun.
Arts and crafts: Craft is good for language learning too. When you are making things together, be sure to point out the vocabulary for colours and whatever other materials you are using or things you’re making together.
Pairs: Matching games are great too. We have a few with pictures and words in the target language.
Reading: It goes without saying that bilingual books are brilliant. Your local Library can rent them from Bright Books, if they don’t have some already.
Online: YouTube has lots of brilliant videos of nursery rhymes and even Peppa Pig in a variety of target languages.
Toys: My children had some brilliant bilingual toys, which sing nursery rhymes and teach simple vocabulary.
FlashSticks: Oh and obviously, as the guys guys at FlashSticks were so kind as to let me throw some words together for their blog, I should mention that FlashSticks are brilliant for reading age children. Stick them around the home and label things. Oh and don’t forget to take pictures while you’re out and about, so you can tweet them at FlashSticks on #FlashSticksFriday.

garden
4. In the Garden

Gardening is a great stealth learning activity. And one we can’t get enough of at home. Simply point and name plants and objects, as you play together.

farm
5. Out and about

Visiting the farm or zoo, naming animals in the target language is a great way to pick up some really useful vocabulary. Supermarkets and shops are also good for naming objects too. In fact, it works anywhere!
The aim of this blog was just to kick off a discussion on stealth language learning tactics that your little ones will love. I’ve put forward some of my favourites, but I LOVE hearing new ideas, so if you’ve got some great ideas that I’ve missed, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
As a language learning and teaching enthusiast, I’d love to connect with any like minded teachers and learners. It would be great to meet those with little ones or who work with little ones, so if you’d like to get in touch, let me know in the comments below or you can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or via email.

4 Ways that Bilingualism Prepares Children for a Better Future

Today we have a Guest post from Paul Martin. He’s an English teacher living in Buenos Ayres and a writer for Language trainers. So without further ado, here it is!

All parents want to do whatever they can to ensure that their children have all the tools they need for a happy and prosperous future. And one of the greatest gifts you can give your child — one that will last for his or her entire life — is that of bilingualism. Given young learners’ natural curiosity and aptitude for learning languages, childhood is the perfect time to learn and master a new language. Further, beyond knowing another language, bilingual children enjoy a host of other benefits that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

lingotastic_picture
Picture by Pixabay

1. Increases cultural awareness
Some say that language holds the key to understanding culture. Indeed, learning a language isn’t just about learning new words — it’s about connecting with an entirely new way of viewing the world. By learning a foreign language, children are connecting with not just vocabulary and grammar, but also the culture and history of that language.

2. Enhances creativity
When children learn another language, they’re exercising their brains in new and unusual ways — language-learning forces them to think outside the box, to expand their horizons. And all this mental energy has a positive effect, even outside of the realm of language
recent study has shown that bilingual children solve mathematics problems more creatively than monolinguals.

3. Improves problem-solving skills
In addition to getting their creative juices flowing, knowing another language helps children think analytically. A Scottish study found that bilingual children performed better than monolingual children at tasks that required problem-solving skills. And what’s more, these problems didn’t just involve linguistic matters — bilinguals outperformed monolinguals in both language and arithmetic-related problems!

4. Protects against future neurological problems
One of the most surprising benefits of bilingualism is that it can keep your brain healthy even later in life. It’s recently been found that people who speak multiple languages show a significantly delayed onset of age-related decline in neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. Just as daily exercise keeps your body healthy, bilingualism is a work-out for your brain, and keeps your mind healthy.

From giving them a more global, worldly outlook to protecting them against future cognitive decline, bilingualism is a gift that truly keeps giving. And aside from making them creative problem-solvers, knowing another language is just so cool! Indeed, if you want to prepare your child for the future, there’s no better thing you can do than teach him or her a new language.

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Paul writes on behalf of Language Trainers, a language tutoring service offering personalized course packages to individuals and families. Check out their free online level tests and other resources on their website or send them a quick inquiry quick enquiry to find out more about their tailor-made lesson plans.

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