Date: Jan 23, 2014
Chinese parents of this generations mostly face a similar problem in Singapore.
Their kids of Chinese roots no longer write or speak Chinese when they communicates with friends.
Jay & Kay speaks to their parents in Mandarin at home.
But when they turn to each other, both Jay & Kay speak in English.
If this situation continues, soon or later, English will become their first “mother tongue”.
For years both my wife and myself have been trying hard.
1. We always speaks (or 90% majority of the time) mandarin at home and to the kids. At least they have a “Mandarin” sparring partner at home to speak with.
2. When we watch TV, I will switch to watch Chinese show. But that is not effective, as the Chinese shows I am watching may not interest them. So, now, I will switch to Disney Channel 311, and turn on the Chinese voice. (Do you know you can change the language for Disney Mickey Mouse show? By simply switching a button on the SCV remote control).
3. Lastly, I really enforce Jay to use the Chinese brush to write new words he have learned, or the Chinese Spelling he suppose to learn.
Have you ever notice how “hard” that your kid press on the Pencil when they write Chinese. Some how they stroke the Chinese word by applying extremely large force, i.e. holding the pencil, stroking the pencil, etc.
Using a Chinese brush, the kids have to learn to “relax” their hand and finger. They need to learn how to stroke correctly with the right force, not so tight, not so hard, not so much pressure. Importantly, all the stroke are much easier to understand, to perform and to remember when you write the Chinese words.
At least once to three times (whenever we find the time) that I asked Jay to practise writing. Whenever I see that he is free and he is not so comfortable with the new Chinese words he just learned, I made him write using the Chinese brush.
I don’t expect that he did all the stroke well, but at least make sure the order of each strokes are in place.
Also, it is not so messy, as you don’t have to use the real ink with the brush. But those Japanese, Korean or Chinese brand of “instant” Chinese brush that already have the ink inside. It is just like ballpoint like that. At any time, I have many of such brushes at my home. You can get this from popular bookstore or Kinokunia.
Of course, buy those writing papers. You can get these from Popular Bookstore. The reason is you need to teach your kids the traditional thing. Let them know the history. Who invented “paper”?
But most importantly, make him do things that he felt “unique”.
You don’t have to let him write a lot of things. Just write those Chinese words that MOE wants them learn. Or the school spelling. That is enough for the start.
Keep all their writing papers. So that you can show to him, how much he has improved.
Do not expect them to do well but expect them to learn to write. That is the most important thing.
The other alternative is to use these kind of ink paper.
When you put water on it, the paper will turn black.
And when it dries, the paper color turn back to original state.
Buy a bigger brush. Simply use water to write on it.
Demo to them how you can use the brush to write in funny way.
But when you want your kids to learn, I don’t exactly promote using this paper. This is because, when the water dries, you lost all his learning “history”. You cannot show it to them, where they did wrong. Unless you take photos.
Important thing is to show how each stroke is been written.
This one I think you may need to get it from China or Taiwan, etc.
So, lastly, the way how you hold the brush is also important. So, learn the right way ya.
It is with high hope that after we have done this constantly, the kid will at least be injected with Chinese root “forcefully” and in future, hope that unconsciously they will present their Chiense root and quality unconsciously too. Wahahahaha
Good luck parents! May all the force be with you when teaching your kids.
Actually, when we have Jay, we did not know that the first language he speaks to his friends is English. Or we did not notice it.
Until his brother came out and went the the same Lorna Whiston Pre-School. And when the two brothers communicate, they use English.
That is when we found out the problem.
As a parent, it is important to teach them Chinese ourselves. It is the parent who will be their biggest guidance, and teacher.
So, for Kay, his Chinese is much better than his brother. So, make no mistake for the second one. Wahahaha