Have you ever tried to teach your kids a second language? How did you do it?
We have adopted two Chinese daughters and are going to China next year with all 5 of our kids and we want them to learn some Mandarin. My husband and I have been learning ourselves over the past year but are having a hard time finding good ways to teach our children. Ideas?
I researched this very carefully a few years ago. The clear conclusion is this: First completely immerse the children in one language, then completely switch to the second language.
My best suggestion is to enroll them into a Chinese language school once you get to China. In the 1970s my son was born in Taiwan and spent the first six years of his life there. He grew up there speaking the Taiwanese language because my wife was Taiwanese and we lived in a Taiwanese neighborhood. We then moved to the States and I enrolled him into a public school there. Although he could speak next to no English when we got to the States, within one year he was speaking just like a native. The speaking environment and use of the language to satisfy needs goes a long way in developing proficiency. If you put all of your kids into Chinese schools and live in a Chinese speaking neighborhood, your kids should be learning and speaking fluent Mandarin in a short time.
hmmm...I'm Cambodia half Chinese and I never learn how to speak Chinese. I only know how to say thank you, counting 1-10 and that is all I know in Chinese. The best way to teach your children a second language is you have to make sure your child understand and have interest in their culture. For instant, I'm Cambodian and Chinese, when my grandfather was alive, he taught me by making sure I understand the chinese background as well as Cambodian. I have no interest about the Chinese culture, so lack of interest, I never learned it. I speak and write Khmer language fluently because I have more interest in Khmer culture. This was where my parent came from but ancestor originally from china. And I don't look chinese so I wouldn't care much. My husband want me to go to school and learn Chinese because he like china and I say okay because I like chinese food. So, what I'm saying is, make sure your children has interest in the chinese culture and this is what make them want to learn the language. I have lack of interest so I would have some difficulty learning it. Chinese language is very hard to learn but with practice it makes perfect. To me, I rather learn how to speak then read and write chinese. The letter is toooooooo difficult. especially the stroke.
I agree with Paul Kuehn. Enrolling them in a Chinese school will help them learn Mandarin. We also have Chinese schools here in the Philippines. But due to my country's law, we were only allowed to have a few hours of Chinese lessons within a day. I had to say that learning Chinese since little is a good start to get familiarized with the characters but not enough to help you become fluent. You won't truly appreciate it if you haven't use the language for everyday use (since Filipino-Chinese of my generation like to speak Filipino). There are only a handful of Chinese born in the Philippines who are fluent in the language. When I went to a trip for China, that was when I was able to truly practice what I learned in school and appreciate its culture. Kids are fast learners. Putting them in a Chinese environment with Chinese-speaking people at an early age is an effective way to help them learn Mandarin.
Play with them using the words in the target language. Ask them to repeat after you all the time. Teach them simple sentences while doing everyday activities. For example, when they ask for a glass of juice, give it to them once they ask the question in the target language. Find cartoons and songs in the target language and introduce them to your kids.
These are great ideas--and the funny thing is that we've been doing exactly these things over the last two months since I asked this question. It has worked! Now the kids are singing Mandarin songs and helping each other repeat phrases. They've also discovered tons of Mandarin cartoons and videos on Youtube.
We can make them understand any of the foreign languages by audio-visual books, animated stories with same language subtitling (SLS) or subtitling the foreign languages too. Its easy for them to capture the words easily as they love cartoons
Here is an animated children story in Mandarin Enjoy watching
YouTube Channel : http://www.youtube.com/user/bookboxinc
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