Polyglot Prep: Teaching the Value of Learning Multiple LanguagesBrooks
Children are wonderful little intellectual sponges. Sometimes getting them to learn at an early age takes a slick bit of trickery. Or, as we in the education world like to say, make their learning mean something. Make it relevant.
You can see why learning a foreign language might not be the most appealing thing to a young student: Why should I have to learn this? What use does this have for me? But Mom/Dad, this is too hard! The infinite amount of gripes from young students not seeing the benefits of language learning are substantial, but we’ve got some ways to blaze through them and, perhaps, avoid them altogether.
Start them young
Did you know that children who learn a second language are more easily able to learn a third language? Beginning Spanish curriculum (or any language) is a tough academic realm to foray into. It’s even more difficult as students get older, so begin introducing them to languages earlier rather than later. Try different languages, curriculum approaches, and ways to make it count to them. You won’t always be successful, but once something sticks, building around that “stick” factor is important to fostering continuous growth.
Make them care
The problem with teaching languages academically is that it often employs an overly technical approach to human communication. Stories are an amazing way to teach and learn languages. Spanish storybook sets take the technicality of language learning and wrap it in tales that students will be more invested in than a grammar test. Finding creative ways to make the learning matter to your students will make them retain a language better than through tired, monotonous pedagogical practices.
Go on an adventure
Just like with your Spanish storybook sets, bringing your students into a cultural experience is a wonderful way to make language learning mean something in real life. Eating, vacations, tourist attractions, field trips, and speaking with friends, family, and acquaintances who are multilingual drives home the knowledge that more than one language is a part of their world, too.
We’d be happy to see the prefix “foreign” be taken away from languages that aren’t heard as often as a child’s primary language. It’s a new part of communication that’s just as important to learning more about other human beings and how they relate to each other. Whether you’re planning Spanish curriculum for children or having organically immersive cultural experiences, learning a new language is undeniably enriching.