Author: Bri Rodriguez-Cancio
It's a New Year! You may have "Learn a Language" as a goal for 2015, for your child or you. Perhaps you are looking for an educational "edge" for your preschooler. Perhaps you are preparing for a trip for pleasure abroad, or to see relatives overseas.
Stages of Language Acquisition
(Not quite "The 12 Steps")
There is a well-known program that discusses the "12-Step Plan." This is not it! When your child (or you) begin the process of learning a new language, I would humbly argue that there is a certain—predictable—road or journey that your child will encounter as s/he picks up words that lead to comprehension and ultimately, fluency. We agree, that is the golden apple. There are some variations to this list; it is, granted, mostly personal, but based on at least a decade's worth of observation. What do you think? Agree, disagree, or demur? Think back to the days that you learned a language.
"I will not go!"
- Understanding a few words in isolation
(aka the "Silent" or "Quiet" Period, as there is no language output...yet!)
- Understanding a few phrases
- Speaking a bit
- Speaking a bit... more
- Feeling comfortable speaking
- Writing begins/progresses
Depending on age (roughly over 5 years old). Reading and writing are often seen as less immediate goals compared to understanding and speaking.
- Watch out for the possibility of rebellion
Particularly at a break in time or crossroads. If this red-eyed monster rears its head, family support is KEY. If none occurs, perhaps a new-found inspiration will be exhibited, with growing self-confidence.
- Deciphering musical lyrics
- Understanding jokes, puns, etc.
...and then...maintaining it
The "Take Away" Message
When your child begins to study a new language, you cannot be "wishy washy." You must be consistent and not veer off the path. There are definite stages to language acquisition; eventually your child will learn it and thank you. You cannot waiver; your children will instantly pick up on that and will rebel, because you have shown a weakness. If you start & stop, you cannot expect your child to be fluent.
Can't fit it in during the school year? Consider our Skype tutoring for older children or "talk up" our unique Spanish and Mandarin Summer Camp Programs—no passport necessary to overseas adventure!