In which language should a bilingual child attend a summer course in math(s)?

Question

Hello to all of you!

I am Spanish native speaker and my son who is 10 years old – he is also a Spanish native speaker. He was studying in our home country (Panama) from kindergarten until second grade and after that he moved with me to Turkey. At the age of two he attended an Italian school, therefore he also speaks Italian. He can write but with some (grammar) mistakes.

I speak English and my son can also speak a little bit and can understand, for example when he is watching TV he only listens in English and is able to understand it. Nevertheless, we don’t speak too much English at home. After two years’ study in Italian, we decided to move him to an English school because I cannot speak Italian and it was really difficult to support him with his homework.

In these circumstance as he will be in another new school in where the main language is English, I would like to know which way I have to follow. I am thinking that during summer he can do some math class and as we are still living abroad in Turkey, I would like to know if doing this math class in English is good for him or not. Or if better to do in our native language, Spanish. Could you give some feedback on this matter?

Thanks in advance,
Ines

Answer

Hello Ines

Thank you for your question, which is an interesting one about which language to choose for the summer course your son is going to attend, English or Spanish.

Summer courses are a fantastic way of giving a child’s minority language a boost, however, language is not the only deciding factor when it comes to choosing the right course. If you want your son to do a math(s) course, first check that it is the kind of training that will be useful and on the right level for him.

When it comes to math(s), my recommendation would be to select a course which is in the same language as he will be doing the subject in at school (in your son’s case, English) – math(s) is one of those subjects that can be quite tricky to teach in a different language. It is not only the terms and phrases, but the way the subject is taught that can be different. If possible, consult your son’s teacher with the information about the course and ask his or her opinion about it.

Hope you find the right kind of course for your son!

Kind regards
Rita

Rita Rosenback

  Rita Rosenback Rita is an author, Family Language Coach, blogger and speaker, who was born into a bilingual family on the Swedish-speaking west coast of Finland. After studying languages in Finland and Germany she worked as a university teacher, translator, interpreter and manager of multinational teams. Rita is now a full-time writer and coach and has been living in the U.K. since 1998. Rita is the mother of two grown-up multilingual daughters, who are the inspiration for her book: “Bringing up a Bilingual Child”, an easy-to-read guide for parents, where she navigates the reader across the “Seven Cs of Multilingual Parenting: Communication, Confidence, Commitment, Consistency, Creativity, Culture and Celebration”. Currently English and Swedish are Rita’s main languages, but she instantly switches to Finnish or German or to her Finland-Swedish dialect when the opportunity presents itself (and when push comes to shove, she can communicate in a very basic Punjabi). Rita is the creator and driving force of this website, and she gives talks and holds workshops for parents and teachers on the topic of bilingual children. She also coaches families on how to make the most of their languages and raise their children to become confident speakers of the chosen languages.

 

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