Recently I have received my TESOL certification and the things I learned through that course reminded me of the different teaching techniques that I had learned in my Early Childhood college courses. As parents it can be hard to know how to teach a child a second language - lets face it - learning the first one is hard enough! So I thought it would be helpful to you if I shared some of the techniques I have learned throughout all of my studies and my current experience as an English Language educator.
Note: These tips are good for 1st language learners as well!!!
1. Recast: This strategy is for small grammatical errors (usually with past tense and irregular plurals). Simply restate what the child said but with the correction made. This is a fairly simple strategy that parents tend to naturally use with their children. It works wonders for early 2nd language learners as well. The trick here is not to over-correct; over-correction can make a child feel unsure of him/herself and they will avoid talking. So use this every once in a while with words that they are consistently using incorrectly.
- example: Child says, "I have 3 hot dogs today." Parent replies, "Oh, you had 3 hot dogs today?!"
- example: Parent reads a page in the big book, then asks, "Where is the _____?" The child can point (and hopefully try to say, "_____ is here/under the bed/in the closet" etc.) If they only point you can ask something to the effect of "who/what is that?" in order for them to respond with the name of the character/object.
- Father speaks one language all the time and Mother speaks the other language all the time.
- There is one primary language in the home and one parent only speaks with children in the second language.
- There is the language spoken in the home and then language spoken everywhere outside the home. Usually it is best to use the native language of the country in which you live OUTSIDE the home (since children will be hearing this language at stores, in school, and with friends) and then to speak the non-native language of the country in which you live, INSIDE the home. (NOTE: this strategy can be hard to implement due to visitors who do not know the home language, and the easiness of forgetting where you are and using the incorrect language in an incorrect place.)
Do you have any strategies that you have used to help your child learn a language? If so, please feel free to share your thoughts, experiences, and ideas in the comments!