How do we learn languages?
When we were younger the language automatically came to us as our parents spoke to us. By immersion it was all around us, and thats primarily because studies show that children at a younger age can pick up multiple languages and have the ability to communicate in them simultaneously. Contrary to many fears people have about learning multiple languages.
For many Indian Americans, learning languages may have been a traumatic process where you hear it at home and speak it at home but not in front of others because its ’embarrassing’. There are a few types of Indian-Americans and their stories with languages:
- The one who can speak, read, and write their language fluently and is proud of it
- The one who speaks it at home but not in front of others
- The one who can understand but not speak it
- The one who never had a chance to learn and is trying to learn but gets made fun of with their accent
At Meri Sanskriti we help students at all levels to connect with their culture through language-however it is a two way street.
When enrolling your child in a language class, they won’t come back from class speaking fluently. It takes time and practice and an encouraging environment. Not all kids learn at the same level. You as a parent may have learned a language faster or slower than your child who is learning it.
When learning, comparison is a big NO. Learning happens at different level and speeds. A child who appears to not know how to speak anything, may fully be comprehending everything and one day they burst out with full fluency.Another child may be faster with conversing but slower with comprehension. It’s important to get down to the Childs level and understand how they learn vs throw expectations on them of their learning abilities.
Here are 5 ways as a parent you can help your child learn a language:
- Ask them to teach you how to say something in the language
- Teaching is a great way to understanding how much they are comprehending
- Create a positive environment at home
- Even if they say one phrase, encourage them
- Speak to them in the language or someone you know who speaks the language
- Immersion is so important
- Find out if they have any emotional blocks from wanting to speak it ( shy, embarrassment etc)
- They may have inhibitions of speaking in front of certain people
- Normalize this new aspect
- Don’t make it such a big deal that they feel embarrassed
We hope this helps!
The Meri Sanskriti Team