Tips on getting kids engaged or motivated to learn a new language

Hobbit
Posts9Likes 9Joined 15/9/2018Location
Native
Spanish
Learning English

I really would love any recommendations on how to get my kids value the importance of learning new languages. No matter how hard I have tried they just wont commit.  

-Ari-

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#1
Elf
Posts125Likes 95Joined 3/9/2018LocationSkopje / MK
Native
Macedonian
Other Arabic - Gulf, English, French, Spanish, Serbian

Hi! 

Have you noticed if they have a specific interest in something else? If you spot the talent, it's easier for a parent to understand where the child is standing, and give the tools it needs to potentially develop the talent. 


Otherwise, if they are just rebellious, from a metaphysical and psychological perspective they are demonstrating a side of you that you 

(the parent) have pushed away inside of yourself (him/herself). If you want a sustainable and lasting change, you have to tackle the core of all issues, if you want to move on the surface, I would say the following. 


There are many particular interests that a specific kid is attracted by. They are individuals too thankfully and they have they own desires, needs, and similar, so if you spot the thing that interests them, you can incorporate that activity, or technique, in the process of studying a language. For example, if the kid likes/prefers watching TV, (which may or may not be a sign of a not really healthy kid, or just its expression), you can play movies in the language you'd like them to learn. Or children prefer playing with dolls, you can introduce an exercise where you use dolls and they are interacting in the language you'd like the children to learn. It's sort of a manipulative way to make the learn, but that is not what we want to accomplish, rather make them feel happy and present, therefore acquire maybe even more when learning a new language, or whatever for that matter. You can introduce exercises that they enjoy, but if the kids are not saying for themselves what they like and/or dislike, which is something good to be taught too (usually by having the parent openly saying what he or she would like from the partner, in front of the children, as a demonstration of an open and honest relationship), but if they are not saying for themselves, you need to observe, and see what interests them, attracts their attention the most, and potentially apply that in the course. 


Otherwise, if you tried with one teacher, maybe the teacher sucks (to them), try changing it, something more pedagogically adept. 


You can specify if you want here what do you feel/think the issue is, and I'll try to help more 


Best, 

Mai


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#2
Hobbit
Posts29Likes 23Joined 4/9/2018LocationChicago, Illinois / US
Native
English
Other Indonesian, Spanish

I love Mai's response. Without intrinsic motivation it's hard for anyone to commit to a language. In the absence of that, I think it would be really cool if the language were positioned as the key to solving a puzzle that your kids does find naturally interesting. 


For example, a kid who loves cooking might have fun working to translate the ingredients of a recipe in another language in order to make a dish. A kid drawn to a martial art from a non-english speaking tradition could strengthen their knowledge of it by learning the language associated. The most natural puzzle of all is, well, how to communicate with someone who doesn't speak your language. If there are opportunities for your kid to build friendships with new English learners, it can be very motivating. 

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#3
Ranger
Posts415Likes 211Joined 4/9/2018LocationCaracas / VE
Native
Spanish
Learning German, Italian
Other English

SarahSchaffer wrote:
For example, a kid who loves cooking might have fun working to translate the ingredients of a recipe in another language in order to make a dish.


I do this to learn! Instructions to prepare a meal are usually written in the same time tense so are a great tool.

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#5
Ranger
Posts415Likes 211Joined 4/9/2018LocationCaracas / VE
Native
Spanish
Learning German, Italian
Other English

Mai wrote:
For example, if the kid likes/prefers watching TV, (which may or may not be a sign of a not really healthy kid, or just its expression), you can play movies in the language you'd like them to learn.


All my childhood friends that watched movies in English as children have a better accent than I do Today, so I think movies are a great tool to turn the spark on.

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#6
Ranger
Posts230Likes 120Joined 16/9/2018Location
Native
Spanish
Other English, Italian

Thanks for your responses!!!!!

-Ari-

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#7