How to prepare your little bilingual for school? What to do if you get a response in the wrong language? Should you follow the teacher’s advice to drop your home language? These are some of the questions that Marianna Du Bosq from Bilingual Avenue and I answered during our broadcast on International Mother Language Day.
These are the main topics and where to find them in the broadcast:
03:05 Rita: International Mother Language Day
– history and what UNESCO wants to promote with the day.
05:20 Marianna: Preparing your little bilinguals for starting school
– teach you child a few basic words in the community language to communicate his or her needs prior to entering school
– continue to support the mother tongue at home and letting the community language be learned at school
– be a great role model for using the mother language
09:20 Listener question:
How to introduce the majority language to a child who only speaks the home language?
12:50 Marianna: Choosing the right school – things to take into consideration
– are languages valued in the school and are staff supportive to language learning, multiculturalism, language diversity?
– how much time is spent on language learning?
– is the language only taught in the language program or is it also used in other subjects?
– what level of language proficiency and teaching qualifications do the teachers have?
– if your language is not supported by a school, could you consider enrolling in a heritage program or creating one of your own?
18:00 Marianna: Develop a partnership with your child’s teacher
– find materials in the home languages for the teacher to use
– keep an open line of communication to bridge the gap between home and the child
– donate books, puzzles, games, classroom labels in your mother tongue
– volunteer in your child’s classroom and/or school
23:00 Rita: When your child answers in the “wrong language”
– happens in many families, do not be upset, you haven’t done anything wrong
– make sure your child knows the new school terminology in your language
– have patience, be consistent, but also flexible
– don’t compel your child to speak your language, but make it compelling for her/him
– whether or not to pretend not to understand
30:30 Rita: Reintroducing a language to an older child
– be absolutely clear about why you want your child to learn your language, then discuss this with your child
– commit to your goal, set a start date and start
– introduce your language gradually
– make it fun and engaging
37:40 Rita: Resources for the bilingual teenager
– find out-of-school activities in your language
– create online connections with teenagers who speak your language as their mother tongue
– find motivation by using the language in games, parties, social media
– have a deep discussion about the importance of your language for you and him/her
45:35 Listener question:
How to support the home languages while home schooling in the majority language?
48:50 Listener question:
Child’s teacher tells us to stop speaking the home language, what to do?
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