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Tips for Helping Children Learning English as a Second Language

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

In recent days, it common for people to speak more than one language. Families that are not native English speakers tend to teach their children English as a second language for kids in different institutions. Learning a second language is not tough as most parents perceive, the same techniques of interactions that helped your child learn his first language can be put in use. Additionally, the following tips suggested by EFL Learning Centre, an English language school in Chiang Mai, can be used to promote children’s secondary language learning.

1. The best learning model is in interactions with responsive caregivers

Children learn best as they play and interact with people close to them. When caregivers respond to them accordingly, children become encouraged and motivated to interact with them even more. Caregivers can become responsive by allowing the child to start a conversation and then responding with zeal and interest and enthusiasm to what the child communicates. To build on your child’s vocabulary, spend more time with them, and engage them in responsive interactions.

2. Children learn faster from things they are more familiar with

The foundation of knowledge is curiosity. This is also applicable to kids learning their first or second language. Research has shown that children are more likely to learn the names of objects when their caregivers follow their lead and create responsive engagements based on the child’s interests. The best way of building your child’s interest is by turning their curiosity into a constructive conversation. By engaging your child’s interest in this way, they will pay attention to what you are saying and stand to learn new words from your conversation.

3. Children grasp quickly what they hear most often

Children need to hear a lot of words in order to learn a new language. Subsequently, for them to learn more than one language, they need to hear more words. This can be done by adding language to your daily activities and experience, hence increasing the number of words they hear. Any new activity usually presents an opportunity for learning a new language. The conversation can be about the foods you both like and enjoy, or discussing characters and their actions when sharing books together, or by thinking and recalling new words your children learn from various visits.

The key in this approach is by letting your child take the lead role so that you do not take over the conversation. The goal is to be responsive. Avoid been the boss of the conversation! Many parents may hesitate from speaking their home language in front of children who are learning their second language.

We all have the right set of tools to use in developing a child’s secondary language around us.

However, this might not be a good idea because it is best to engage children in language that you are most familiar with. If parents are not 100% conversant in the English language, they may fail to provide the best language input to the children.

Also, the interactions might be limited as you are conversing in a language in which you are not quite familiar with, so it is easy for you to ignore or limit your words. Lastly, research has shown that the children might risk losing their home language as it is not spoken around them. Learning of a second language does not imply abandoning the home language.

4. Variety is the key

In learning new languages, variety is important for a number of reasons. A variety of words, not just the regularly spoken ones but also a little sophisticated word would better the development of the new language. Having different communicating partners such as different English teachers also aid in language development and understanding. For example, an English language school in Chiang Mai non-native students help the native build their grammar by constantly speaking English with them.

We all have the right set of tools to use in developing a child’s secondary language around us. What is needed to be done is simply following your child’s lead and have fun while doing so? It is easy to build your child’s secondary language skills and child development when you both have an enjoyable conversation that is rich in vocabulary and proper grammatical sentence structures.

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