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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

How to Support Your Child in Learning English

As parents we want to support our child's learning as much as we can. In a multilingual society, it is important that we help our children learn English as they grow and mature as they will be learning several languages all at once.

Here are some tips we found from the British Council Malaysia Resources, Articles and Tips for Parents and Educators.

1. The best age for a child to start learning languages is from age 6 to 9

Children of this age are very eager to learn and experiment with languages. At this age, children learn intuitively by engaging all their senses. They are not afraid to make mistakes. Knowing this as a parent helps because it means we do not have to stress grammar mistakes as they are not going to be able to tell the difference between a past participle or a gerund anyway. There's no fun in that. We can teach them in other ways by making learning fun.


2. Make learning English fun!

If we are not going to stress on grammar mistakes, how can we help our child learn English? There are a variety of ways to make learning English fun as suggested by the British Council. They include teaching English through games, videos, songs and story books. We can help to point out new words and phrases as they go through these fun activities.

3. Do not continually point out your child's mistake

Instead of correcting our children's mistake, we should try "recasting". "Recasting" means repeating their sentences but without a mistake. In this way they will learn the correct form and eventually start speaking or writing correctly without prompting.

4. How to help your preteen and teen child learn English

As children grow, we should continue to support their learning. Preteens and teenagers learn languages differently. At this age, they are more analytical. Even though they are learning several languages at the same time, a teen can use their knowledge of their own language (whether it is Chinese, Malay or Tamil), to help them learn English.

Now, this is the time to introduce grammar instruction to them. At the same time you can teach them studying skills, time management and note-taking. This will not only help them in learning English, it will be useful when they apply it to other subjects too.

5. Encourage your child's self awareness

As they grow, your child will become more self aware. You can help your primary school going child by asking them questions that make them think.

"What causes their problems in writing?"
"What can they do to improve?"
 "What do successful writers do?"
 "Can they use any of the same techniques?"

 Asking analytical questions like these is not only helpful for learning English, it is important for every area of their lives and useful as a skill from primary to secondary school.

These tips were reproduced with the permission of British Council Malaysia.

The British Council offers a variety of courses for Young Learners from age 5 all the way until age 17 and topics revolving around grammar, formal language structures and study skills are all taught according to the ability and learning styles of the various age groups. Furthermore, soft skills are also taught during classes through group activities and games.

The new term at British Council will start on 23 March 2019. You can drop by the centres or visit www.britishcouncil.org/children to find out how they can help your child develop a love for English.

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