Hi everyone, me again from previous post with another question. How many of you send your children to a weekend school in the minority language? My 5 year old goes to a weekly Saturday Russian school for about 2 hours every Saturday. While he enjoys going, I have noticed that although the lessons are entirely in Russian, the kids tend to speak English to each other when on breaks and before/after class. This happens even with kids whose Russian is strong because it seems that the kids' levels are mixed somewhat in the classes. So while there may be kids that speak Russian very well, they are next to other kids that maybe understand but don’t speak very well or at all. So the kids, to include everyone, end up speaking English. This is especially true during holidays, parties, events at the school. So I noticed my son will also talk to them in English, even to kids he has spoken to in Russian outside of this school. So my question is, is it worth it to keep sending him? I like the fact they he is learning reading, Russian songs, and probably hears some vocabulary and topics from teachers hat he doesn’t hear from me. But I don’t like the fact that he sees the example where kids that can speak Russian speak in English. I’m afraid he will think this is the norm. What would you do? Keep sending him or take him out? P.S. the teachers think it is perfectly fine that kids talk in the ML in a ml school, I have asked.
I think this is quite normal at these Saturday language schools. I think it's good to keep sending him, but perhaps ask the teacher if there is a way to encourage the children to speak Russian with each other?
My daughter attends a French bilingual school and one week is taught in French and the other week in English. They don't enforce what language the kids speak with each other. It seems they speak a mix. I hear quite a lot of playing in French, but also English. We are an English-speaking family, but my daughter will speak French with her friends that come from French-speaking families. She has two friends that don't come from French-speaking families in her class and she will play with them in English. She says because they can't speak French.
My daughter's ml classes are integrated into the school day at her ML school, but the school has the language classes (there's an English and a German section) on a separate floor, and the ml teacher (at least for our ml) doesn't allow ML in her classroom, neither with her nor among the children. The teacher has a reward system for the kids individually and as a group, and they lose points (which they can earn for good behavior etc) with bad behavior but also by speaking the ML.
I think Marie's suggestion to ask the teacher about any possibilities to encourage the children to speak Russian sounds good.
I've been considering sending my daughter to a weekend ml2 school (3 hours on a Saturday) and was wondering the same thing. Even if they speak in the ML outside class, I do think it's better than nothing, though - at least they have the extra exposure inside the classroom.
I sent my daughter to Russian school for a year when she was 6. Same as you I notice the pattern that as soon as they are outside the door, they switch to English. Honestly it doesn’t bother me. It still shows a good example of bilingual children and allows her to feel like a part of the Russian community. Plus she did learn to write in cursive. So that’s something.
I did pull her out after a year though. They used Russian textbooks for their curriculum, which meant a lot of copying and spelling, and not enough focus on vocabulary/grammar acquisition that a heritage speaker needs. We had fights about homework on a daily basis just because my daughter’s brain short circuited from such a different approach to assignments from her American school. It seemed like the school was poisoning her attitude towards the language, so I decided to dedicate the hour a day we spent fighting over homework to reading in Russian instead. It’s been 2 years and I have 0 regrets.
There are many advantages to such schools. I used to send my kids once a week to such an activity/school and they were all speaking ML to each other every chance they got, so we had to constantly remind them to speak ml during "school hours". It's good for your child if he enjoys it and if it improves his attitude towards ml.
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