Date: Sep 2, 2014
There are challenges for kids learning Chinese today.
The environment at the pre-school, or at the school simply do not encourage them to learn Chinese.
Our kids nowadays treat English as their primary language / mother tongue. Not necessary they will do well in English.
Up until today, I still see parents standing outside Berries, 90% of them, greet their children when they pick them up from the centre, and say “So, how? What did you learn today? Do you have fun in the class?” (Ask in English Language).
I am so happy that Jay Liew has received this from his Chinese teacher. Out of a MTL class of 28 students, he is one of the 6 that has this encouragement from the Chinese teacher. Basically he read all the 12 Chinese Story books the teacher borrow them. I don’t even know he is bringing Chinese story books home and read. I do see him, sitting at his study desk reading some Chinese story books from time to time. But did not know that those are from the school.
Good Job Jay!
I also felt happy as a parent, that Jay can read the books on his own.
I would like to share how we did it.
1. Start young. Speak Mandarin / Chinese to your kids. If they speak English back to you. I always say “Do I look like Ang Moh? Why you speak English to me? HaHaHa”. The kids will automatically change to speaking mandarin mode. It has to be consistent. The moment you change to English channel, they will find the easy way out.
2. Speaking to them in Chinese, does not mean only for conversation. Always add teaching into the conversation. Always add in some proverbs. Like 半途而废, etc. Then, the kids will start using these proverbs. The kids sometime may not know what exactly it means, but they will learn.
3. Every students are not the same when they learn things. Sending the kid to Chinese Learning Centre such as Berries does not mean that the kid will do well in there. I did sent Jay Jay there before, but almost every week, he is trying hard to catch up with the class. And that gives him, fear and lose the confidence. Instead, I engage a good Chinese Tutor, every week, 1.5 hours one to one, teach him Chinese.
4. I bought a lot a lot of Chinese Story books. Those 100 words, 200 words series. Up to 1200 words. Somehow in P2, Jay excel and read and finished all those 800, 1000 words books. It is amazing that he now knows a lot a lot of words. Chinese vocabularies needs to build from scratches, build from zero. It is not like English, where you can guess the pronunciations.
5. When you buy story books, do not buy those with Han Yu Pin Yin beside the words. Very bad for kids. As they will read the English Pin Yin instead of learning the word.
6. If he does not know the word, please refer to dictionary. Don’t buy one only. Buy a few, and keep it handy. Any time he does not know the word, teach him how to find it on the dictionary. I think started from mid year P2 class, I see him refer to his dictionary more often when doing Chinese tuition home work. It is a good thing. He felt proud that he can now do all his homework without asking me.
7. Try to watch Chinese TV shows at home. If possible. As long as they watch it, they remember it.
8. If you have 2 kids. Always get the other kids listen. When you teach, you teach both kids at the same time.
9. Cinese Calligraphy is important. Spelling can be done using Chinese Calligraphy. It’s an Art.
10. Always think of methods and ways to improve their Chinese.