It’s common knowledge that STEM education is important, but with the growing and widely diversifying world, there are many good reasons to want your child to be educated in at least one foreign language as well. Bilingual ability is valued by employers, expands your child’s horizons, and generally makes him or her a more well-rounded person. So what are the best ways to go about teaching your child a foreign language? Here are five helpful tips.
1. Start Young
It’s much easier to learn a language when the brain is still developing. So enrolling your child young in a language course and immersing him or her is going to make it much easier for your child to become fluent in a second language.
Immersion with other speakers is simply the best method for learning a language. If you want your child to learn Spanish, for example, consider sending him or her to a bilingual school or daycare. It might be more difficult to find educational facilities to send your child for other languages, so see what might be available in your area.
Many children work best one-on-one rather than with a class. If you have a college or university nearby, see if a student there working towards a major in the language or an online international relations masters might be willing to tutor your child. Having a tutor will ensure your child sets aside a sufficient amount of time to learn and practice a language, because repetition and persistence are key.
Traveling to a foreign country is not only going to begin to immerse your child in a new language, but might also get them interested in another culture and wanting to travel to learn more about the world outside their own experience. Your enthusiasm for travel might very well rub off on your child and instill in him or her a sense of adventure for the rest of their lives. When in the foreign country, encourage your child to speak in the native language as much as possible for maximum impact.
5. Use Books and Tapes
Books and tapes are helpful tools to enhance language learning, whether it’s a free app like Duolingo or expensive (but effective) software like Rosetta Stone. For example, students of foreign languages should generally have an English to whatever language they’re studying dictionary. If your child is still too young to get any benefit out of that, there are plenty of publications and audio courses geared towards teaching very young children new words in a foreign language.
Having your child learn a second language is generally a very good idea, as he or she will have a very marketable skill and is sure to grow as a person. These five tips will help you accomplish this goal successfully.