I'm teaching my son English as a second language and I use OPOL. We play together in English, I read him books, we sing songs together and we do activities like that. I mean I talk to him in English all the time now.
A few days ago one of my friends told me about the "English learning sets". There are plenty of them in the market from different publishers. Should I use one of them? Has anybody tried any of them?
I think if you are able to speak to him always in English, read to him, sing to him, put English music on in the background, let him only watch English cartoons when he is old enough to watch shows, that is the best. You could also do some flash cards with him, as my children enjoy doing that in English (when they were younger) and French now, as that is the ml language they are learning. But we used to do the flashcards of animals and numbers in English and they enjoyed that. I found the learning program a little boring for them. We tried it in French and they prefer to do French flash cards, watch French cartoons etc. Perhaps because it was also very basic such as showing a baby or apple and repeating the word several times and slowly. There is only so much a young child will sit through before getting bored. Doing the flash cards they like because we make games out of it and they do 10 at most so it's a short time. My daughter likes to watch cartoons in French and then explain to me what words mean or new words or phrases she learns while watching the cartoon, such as recently "mushroom" in French or the phrase "I win" etc.
What helps is finding a program that helps them learn from situations they are experiencing or will experience. For example, Peppa Pig is great for this as they have shows about going to the beach, going to the dentist, Christmas, camping etc. And it's simple English language for a child to understand. At the moment my daughter is loving watching the French cartoon t'choupi ecole. And because it is about young children at school and their day to day activities she learns additional school language and she also understands a lot of it because they use phrases she is already familiar with because of the French she learns at her school.
Thank you very much for your reply. It's good to hear from someone who has experience in this.
I already use flashcards and my son seems interested in them. I believe cartoons will be very helpful too. We decided to wait until he is 24 months old then we will enjoy the cartoons and animation movies together. I'm excited about it too.
Ahmet, I think "learning sets" like Little Pim can be useful as a basic introduction to a language, but their content and value are limited. Moreover, such materials aren't needed at all, really, if the parent has some ability in the target language and can proactively use it by speaking to the child, singing songs, reading aloud, etc. They also tend to be overpriced and I think this money could be better spent on resources like children's books. Wordless picture books, for instance, are a resource that can be used in a far more expansive and longer-lasting way than the simple, tightly-controlled language found in "learning sets."
My children have been learning Spanish for the past several years--but I don't speak Spanish myself--so we tried a Spanish "learning set"...and fortunately it was given to me for free because its value to us was much lower than the actual cost. Again, such materials may be helpful as the first small step toward gaining some basic vocabulary and developing an early interest in the target language, but I'm afraid that acquiring any sort of active "fluency" isn't a realistic hope.
Adam Beck is the founder of Bilingual Monkeys and The Bilingual Zoo, and the author of the popular non-fiction book Maximize Your Child's Bilingual Ability amzn.to/22XKuCt and the humorous novel How I Lost My Ear amzn.to/2EsjVRS, both available worldwide.
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Agnese: First words. What to expect? My son is 10 months old. He's still babbling, but I've noticed some different sounds depending on the situation. I wonder if he'll start saying his first words in the next weeks (or months, who knows?). What should I expect?
Jul 11, 2018 0:30:24 GMT 9
Amy: Don't expect anything Agnese. Just let it happen, and then what he says will hit you like a train. It's an amazing moment. Just live it and don't overthink it. Whatever he says, in whatever language it is, it is a magical moment.
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Agnese: I've recently found a further (annoying) challenge: when I speak ml (Italian) to my child (10m) in front of ML acquaintances, they are making jokes about what I said (mostly accent, similar unrelated words...). What do you think is the best way to act?
Jul 15, 2018 13:04:11 GMT 9
Amy: Agnese, it is simply because they never had the opportunity to be acquainted so closely to that language. Just smile and keep going. Over time (even if this may seem long), the comments will fade. Don't show your son you are embarrassed by your ml.
Jul 16, 2018 3:56:41 GMT 9
Adam Beck: Agnese, I strongly second Amy's advice! Stay strong and continue speaking Italian!
Jul 18, 2018 6:22:37 GMT 9
Adam Beck: And Agnese, keep in mind that, above all, the highest priority is your bilingual aim, not the other passing concerns that are part of this experience (for us all). Don't let these distract you from the greater goal.
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