Being the parent or caregiver of students learning English, when it isn’t your native language, is understandably a challenge. As an English language school in Hawaii who deals with these issues regularly, we have a few tips to help make it less challenging and more of a balance between two different cultures. Just because a child or teen is learning a second language doesn’t mean he/she stops using their first language, so it can be a balancing act. How can you help?
Establish a routine at home for study and homework. Routines are important, and you want to help the student stick to a regular schedule. Minimize distractions, and answer questions when you can. There are lots of resources available online to help with questions you don’t have the answers to.
Speak in your native tongue. You may not even know much (or any) English yourself as a parent or caregiver, but your child still understands his/her native language and you can be a great help by explaining words or concepts that may not be familiar to the student – a bridge between two different cultures and languages.
Make learning fun by being creative. Reading and speaking aren’t the only ways to practice. Consider what your child really enjoys, and find a way to incorporate it into learning. For instance, does he/she love to write or draw/paint? Creating a picture that tells a story and then writing about it in English can be fun. Even playing games, such as Scrabble, that involve words can be a fun and entertaining way to learn.
Communicate with the child’s teachers. Teachers can be a great source of guidance on how you can help your child further his or her English skills outside of the classroom. By staying connected you know what’s going on at school, how your child is progressing, and gain perspective on how you can be sure the student succeeds and thrives in a new environment.
Learning to speak English proficiently involves more than textbooks and time spent in the classroom. As a parent or caregiver you can play a huge role in ensuring the child’s success!
If you’re considering an English language school in Hawaii for yourself or your child, contact ICC today. We provide programs for students of all ages.