The best period for children to learn a language is during their formative years because of their ability to absorb and retain vocabulary. Research shows that bilingual children are more aware of cultural differences and this allows them to see the world from a more positive perspective than their monolingual counterparts.
Motivating children to learn a new language
Why play-based learning is effective
Join MES and work with French children in Lyon
How do we encourage motivation in children to learn a new language?
When it comes to motivation in language acquisition, we all know that not all children have the same drive and level of motivation. Even as adults, we are driven by a variety of factors. Some children may like to follow a strict lesson plan while others may prefer to learn through complete immersion.
So, that leads us to the question du jour: How do we foster motivation in children when it comes to learning a new language?
What is play-based learning and how can it be an effective tool for language acquisition?
Play-based learning is learning through play. It is one of the effective tools that language facilitators and teachers can employ in their teaching. For kids, learning a language should go hand in hand with play. Some examples are drawing, painting, singing and reciting rhymes. Through these activities, they develop skills such as building vocabulary, problem solving and interaction.
Apart from being fun and interesting, language learning should also be meaningful in the sense that there should be a concrete reason why they’re learning the language in the first place. Some children have found it frustrating and boring to learn a foreign language.
This might have stemmed from the fact that they don't understand the benefits or the importance of learning one. For example, broadening their horizons or helping them in their future job prospects.
Additionally, it is important for teachers as well as parents to bring excitement and enthusiasm in language development when teaching children. This will help them generate a positive attitude towards the language and as a result they will be eager to learn, discover and develop their language skills. They also need to be actively involved in speaking the language while employing the use of gestures, enunciation, role-playing games and exposure to culturally diverse materials such as English cuisine, music and art, dance and history etc.
Finally, it is crucial to know what works best for each child. For instance, some children prefer to practice by listening and taking part in conversations. Some may like to look at diagrams and pictures while others may prefer to have a hands-on experience during activities, sessions and lessons. If an approach to learning a language is monotonous, too easy or too difficult, the children may find it uninteresting. This could, in the long run, hinder their progress and prevent them from learning any new languages in the future.