Learning at home is definitely something that children and parents both need getting used to. Having been through more than a month of the circuit breaker period by now, have you gotten the hang of it?
One subject that may present a particular challenge is that of languages. If your child is in a bilingual programme at school, you may be worried about how your child can keep up with their language development without the regular classroom interactions with their classmates and teachers. This is especially so if one of the languages is not one you speak often at home.
At the Canadian International School in Singapore (CIS), the dedicated teachers are finding a way around it by conducting interactive video lessons with students. This way, students can continue practising their speaking and listening skills with their classmates and teachers.
Besides virtual classes, there are also more ways you can support your child’s bilingual language learning while staying at home. Even if you have only a little bit of knowledge in the language, here are some things you can try to keep your child’s language skills well-oiled at home.
If your little one is still a beginner, it actually doesn’t matter that you don’t know much about the language – you can still help your child learn! You can do so by learning alongside them, going through their textbooks and worksheets with them. This way, they won’t feel so alone when they learn.
If your child already has some fluency in the language, why not ask them to teach you instead? It is known that having to teach someone reinforces the teacher’s own knowledge of the subject. For parents who are already well-versed with both languages, you can up the challenge and bring the 50-50 language model home, where each language is used on alternate days.
Label items at home
Classrooms are made for learning, and they are often adorned with many informative posters, flashcards, and the like. You can turn your home into an environment for learning as well, by increasing the visual presence of the languages your child is learning.
A simple yet fun activity you can do with your child is to print out labels of common household items, and have your child find the correct items and stick the label on them. This will help to strengthen the child’s reading, vocabulary, and association with words and their referents.
Engage with media in both languages
If your home language is predominantly in English, it’s time to make a change! Make it a point to let your child have access to books, cartoons, or songs in your child’s second language as well. The exposure is particularly important especially during a time like this where they cannot make their regular trips to the library. Online video-streaming sites or e-books are a wonderful resource.
And don’t stop at passively reading, watching, or listening to these media – encourage your child to respond and interact with it! Perhaps, after reading a story, you can have them act out the scenes, or create a song about it. These creative activities will also help them engage in deeper learning.
Keep in touch
Most of your child’s language practice in their non-dominant language probably occurred in school in their bilingual programme with their teachers and friends. Thus, it is crucial to keep in touch to ensure your child is still getting enough practice. While virtual classes offer a decent substitute, it may not be sufficient because there are limited opportunities for free conversation.
So, you can supplement this by encouraging your child to connect with their friends on a leisure basis. With plenty of options for video calls and online chats, there is no lack of ways your child can stay connected with their classmates!
Although the circuit breaker has disrupted many routines in our lives, learning doesn’t have to stop! With these tips, you can help your child stay on track with their learning, and also score some precious bonding time together.
When it comes to learning languages in international schools, CIS is definitely at the forefront of effective pedagogy. True to this, CIS is also putting in wonderful effort to make sure every student is staying engaged with learning during this circuit breaker period. For a fulfilling and proven bilingual education experience for your child, this top international school is surely one to consider.