Learning a second language!
I’ve read a very interesting book about how to explore the issues that surround the challenge to learn a second language and gain a better understanding of the strategies that support the process in a preschool setting.
The main ideas that Dr. Enriquez talks about in her book are:
- The preschool years are optimum for developing the preliteracy skills. It is at this time that children are more capable or learning language embedded in stories, songs, games and art.
- All English (and Spanish) language learners progress through various stages in their acquisition of language:
Pre-production (silent period)
Early production (one or two words phrases)
Speech emerge (simple phrases and sentences)
Intermediate fluency (more complex sentences)
Advanced fluency (near native ability)
I believe that one of the most important things that we have to to understand is that during silent period children will be active listeners of the new language so we don’t have to force them to speak. If children express themselves in the home language, we have to accept it! (and be happy) because this indicates that children understand the communication but are not comfortable expressing themselves in the second language.
As children listen more and have many opportunities to use the words, more they will progress to productive language use!
Teachers or parents who are teaching the second language to the child need to use gestures, movements, pictures, real objects and experiences to support and extend language adquisition and concept developments.
About the environment which has proven to be most conducive to learning and supportive to second language learners she talks about one in which children feel relaxed and free to take risks with the second language.
Some key ideas:
|Interactive games||Physical response||Direct approaches|
|Meaningful contexts||Contents that are familiar||Key vocabulary|
|Routines||Demostration||Appreciation & Rewards|
Everyone needs to understand that this process is “little by little” and the kids will integrate vocabulary and structures at the same time that they enjoy learning a second language 😉
I encourage you to support and trust them. With your help, they can do it!!!