English is the universal language. It is useful if you speak it fluently. But schools should make sure that students learn the dialects and the national language as a holistic approach to learning. Here in Singapore, schools promote bilingualism. There is a Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism which sponsors projects to promote bilingualism.
While there is nothing wrong if you promote English language in your house, it is still good to go back to your roots. If in this case you want to teach your child to speak and understand Mandarin, you should take part in his/her learning as a parent. Do not just depend on the school. You have to contribute to your child’s growth and development. You should consider the following methods to effectively teach your child learn Mandarin or other languages:
1. Make It Fun
Children are easily bored. You have to think of ways to capture their attention for long. The basic rule is to make learning fun. Your child needs to see the fun in learning Mandarin or other languages. You have to be creative and imaginative. You can for instance read your child stories in Mandarin. Apart from that, you can also think of games that will surely entice your child.
2. Use Various Resources
You also need help from other resources. Have you heard about the We Love Bilingualism Channel? There are many helpful videos and clips available in this channel that can help your child learn Mandarin. These videos and clips are posted on YouTube. You can simply search it. You can also look for books and magazines that can provide you with insights. If you want, you can also purchase language DVDs and other software programs.
3. Practice Reinforcement
It will be for nothing if you do not reinforce your child’s learning. You have to be there when he/she watches or reads a book. You have to explain and talk about its practical uses. If that is not enough, you can look for cards and help your kids be familiar with it. You can post these cards anywhere to make it more visible.
4. Encourage Interaction
Human interaction is very important for the imprinting of the language. Your child should hear you speak the language. If you want your child to learn fast, you should incorporate the language in your everyday routines. For example, you have to dame your food in Mandarin or sing Mandarin songs together.
These are just some. You can think of effective methods as you go along. Remember that learning the different languages will be an asset to your child. Your child will enjoy understanding and speaking the language. Your child can also appreciate different perspectives when it comes to the culture behind the languages.