Many adults—particularly in the U.S., where learning a second language isn’t nearly as common as it is in the rest of the world—are concerned that children will be disadvantaged or confused if they try to juggle two vocabularies. Others worry that kids won’t learn to speak as quickly as their peers. The good news is, most of these misconceptions are just that: misconceptions. Language learning is widely acknowledged to be highly beneficial for children’s cognitive and social development, with benefits that last a lifetime. Here, we’ve broken down some of the myths and facts to ease concerns that parents may have, and to get back to the fun part of learning!
Want to hate learning a foreign language? Try cramming a textbook into your head. Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain, En L’An 2000.
As parents, our motivation for wanting our kids to learn a foreign language is justified. Research shows it improves brain functioning, leads to higher scores on standardized tests, builds empathy, deepens multi-cultural understanding and improves employment opportunities. Not to mention, if your family speaks another language, having your children learn the language can deepen family connections.
The challenge for parents is that in our enthusiasm for language learning, we might inadvertently tiger-mom (or dad) our way into making kids hate the process – and what a missed opportunity that would be!
If your child is learning a second language, summertime practice is essential to help them retain what they learned during the school year. We’ve all heard about the dreaded summer “brain drain.” The key to avoiding it is to keep your child’s brain engaged all summer long. And it’s especially important for learning a foreign language, which requires repetition and practice.
Here are seven fun ways your child can practice their foreign language skills over the summer.
PALO ALTO, CA – May 17, 2018 – PandaTree, one of the leading providers of live online foreign language lessons for kids, today announced the launch of PandaTree for Preschoolers, a series of Mandarin Chinese or Spanish lessons for children, ages two to five. A first for bringing live online foreign language learning to the youngest of children, this new series of 25-minute lessons offers language exposure during a critical development period for language acquisition.
When I recently attended the “meet the teacher night” at my daughter’s high school, her Spanish teacher kicked things off by sharing a bit about his philosophy. “I want kids to make mistakes in my class,” he said. “If they aren’t making mistakes, that means they aren’t trying new things. That’s why in my class, I reward mistakes.”
I wanted to hug him. Getting students to feel comfortable making mistakes in front of others can be a real challenge. And my daughter’s teacher was on to something – making mistakes is absolutely critical for foreign language learning.
We all know that everyone makes mistakes and that it’s a critical part of the learning process. It’s often hard, however, for students (especially older ones) to move beyond the fear of embarrassment, especially when schools and testing generally reward being right. And for tweens and teens wanting to impress peers, the risk from making a potentially embarrassing mistake feels even greater.
Palo Alto, CA– November 2, 2017 – PandaTree Inc., the language learning company, announces the launch of its proprietary interactive foreign language learning platform for kids. The new platform allows students to talk via live video with their PandaTree tutor, while interacting with PandaTree’s proprietary, standards-based language curriculum. The company also announces it has raised an additional $1.5 million in a seed equity round.
The new WebRTC-based platform supports a more interactive and fully integrated curriculum. During lessons students can be doing a virtual 3D tour of a Mayan ruin or the Great Wall of China with their tutor, working on a project, or playing a game. “The new platform boosts learning because students are engaged. We view these innovations as just the start of a much more immersive virtual foreign language learning experience,” says Rich Matsuura, PandaTree co-founder and product lead.
By Dimaris Barrios-Beltran, PhD and Kristina Klausen, MBA
Have you ever tried to “speak Spanish” by putting a bunch of O’s on the end of English words? If so, you might have noticed this strategy doesn’t take you too far. While there are similarities between English and Spanish, there are also some significant differences that can cause confusion for students at first. Understanding a bit about how Spanish works will help you support your child when it comes to common pitfalls and challenges in learning this language.