As part of your child’s family, you are the most important person who can help your child enjoy learning English. Here are some suggestions for what you can do.
Tips for Pre-school, Kindergarten and Primary Students
Four tips to learn English at home with your child
Be involved in your child's English learning
Set aside some time every week to do a fun activity in English with your child. For example, you could take your child out for a meal and encourage them to order in English or you could take your child to the park to do a photo hunt in English.
Share information with the teacher and school
It is important to work closely with your child’s teacher and the British Council. Share your child’s strengths and weaknesses with the teacher and the school so that they can adapt the lesson and school environment better to your child’s needs. If your child has any special learning needs, be sure to communicate these to us so that the teacher can modify teaching methods to suit your child. If something has happened to your child at home or at their regular school that has affected them, please make sure that the teacher knows too so they can be sensitive to the child’s feelings.
Ways to ensure that your child is able to focus in class
Children, like adults, need work-life balance. Ensure that they have sufficient time to play outdoors. Research shows that children actually focus better if they have a physical outlet for their energy. Rest is also vital. Ensure that your child gets enough sleep the night before their lesson and that they do not take in too much sugary food prior to class. Last but not least, ensure that they only bring essentials to class to avoid distractions.
Encourage diversity of interests
Children learn best when they are interested in a topic.Allow your child to choose the kind of books, magazines or comics that they read. Explore the possibility of different media such as e-books or YouTube channels to encourage exposure to English.
Motivate your child to speak English
Teaching English to children can be challenging to parents. How can you motivate them to use the language often?
We have come up with five tips to motivate your child to speak the language.
1. BE ENTHUSIASTIC AND INVOLVED
Learning the English language starts with the parents! If your child sees you reading, watching films and speaking in English, they will be inspired to do the same. Actively involve yourself in your child’s English learning experience, rather than expecting them to study on their own. Giving your child lots of praise, encouragement and support will increase their self-confidence and motivation.
2. PERSONALISE YOUR LEARNING ACTIVITIES
Parents know their child best. To make learning English an enjoyable and rewarding experience to your child, make sure to involve them in fun activities that suit their personality and interests. Very active children may like to play action games, while quieter children may prefer word games or card games. If your child likes sport, they will enjoy stories and vocabulary games about sport. Ask them which activities they prefer doing to give you an idea of the activities you can prepare for your child.
3. JUDGE YOUR CHILD’S MOOD
Try to choose the right time to encourage your child to practise their English skills. Don’t ask them to do activities when they are tired and grumpy, or they will feel stressed. It is important to try to figure out their moods: when are they receptive and alert? If, after starting an activity, you notice that your child is not receptive, it is better to try again later rather than forcing them to continue.
4. PROVIDE MEANINGFUL SITUATIONS
Children love role-playing and using their imagination. Suggest some situations, such as at the toy shop, on the bus, at the restaurant, etc. and ask your child to choose. Take turns playing different roles (e.g. customer and shopkeeper) and give language support as necessary. If they use phrases in their first language, don’t forget to repeat what they have said in English. Gradually your child will produce more of the speaking parts in the dialogues.
Make-believing the situation creates an immediate need to use English for your child. This also motivates them to use it in similar activities and events, thus boosting their confidence to use the language more. When you create a situation, try to use real objects (plates and cutlery for a restaurant) to increase their involvement in the game.
Remember: the more enthusiastically you play your role, the more motivated your child will be!
5. FIND WAYS FOR YOUR CHILD TO COMMUNICATE WITH OTHERS IN ENGLISH
Having a genuine reason to communicate in English provides a high level of motivation. If possible, enrol your child in English classes that are designed to develop your child’s confidence in communicating in English. A classroom environment is the perfect setting for your child to learn English with their fellow children. Once they have gained enough confidence at school, your child will be able to use the language at home.