Start early! That’s the first rule to be followed if you want your children to have excellent communication skills. Times have changed. There is a lot more that’s expected out of kids than their academic grades. It is extremely essential to develop them holistically which includes their academics, health, extracurricular activities and their overall personality.
If we want our kids to excel in their lives, we have to make them communicate well so that they can smoothly express their thoughts where ever they go. It is more about your articulatory skills that leave an indelible mark on the listeners and help you carve a niche for yourself. Teaching your kids to speak English doesn’t mean that you are expunging them from their mother tongue. That is something which will come naturally to them since everyone around them speaks that language but a foreign language has to be taught.
During their early years, it should be considered mandatory to teach them one language-English, since it is the language used in schools. Try to speak to your kids in English at home. Start with one language at a time. Two languages will only baffle them. Once their base is formed, then start with the next one. Don’t be in a rush to make them multilingual. You should, but gradually.
Importance of English language has grown exponentially over the years. It is considered as one of the most powerful languages in the world. Parents and teachers should encourage English speaking so that there is no gap between the language spoken at home and the school. It is required at almost every step in our day to day life.
The first and the foremost suggestion I’d give you is to learn English yourself. If you are not good at it, take help from an expert or the internet. Learn the language so that you don’t sound like a bumbling amateur in front of your kids.
Speak to your child in English even if he doesn’t understand. He will gradually learn to grasp the words because of constant repetition. Make sure you use short sentences and lots of English words in your day to day activities even when you are not directly talking to them. Give orders and instructions using the language like ‘pick up your shoes,’ ‘put your books in the bag,’ ‘Bring me a glass of water,’. It would help them more if you keep translating your English sentences into your mother tongue. Speak a sentence in English》mother tongue》English, so that they learn to relate the words.
Use good vocabulary related to the chores you are doing. If you are helping them tidy their room, use words related to their toys, clothes or linen. If they are around you in the kitchen, use words related to cooking like ‘spatula,’ ‘sieve,’ ‘cinnamon,’. The use of everyday situations and real objects to teach kids the language is a classic way to enroot it within them.
Use different types of grammatical structures when you speak for example ‘I am going to the market,’ ‘he has gone to the market,’ ‘I will go to the market,’. This will make your child speak grammatically correct sentences and it would come naturally to him without cramming the tenses. So start early to see positive results.
Play their cartoon channels in English mode without letting them know. If you do it in front of them then they’d insist you play their show in the mother tongue so change the settings before their arrive. Tell them that the channel only plays English shows. Kids learn best from their friends or their favourite characters. Use this opportunity.
Read English stories to them at bedtime. Make it a ritual. Visual memory remains intact for years so if you read to them in English while pointing at the pictures, they’d relate images to the spoken words and pick up on the language at the drop of a hat!
Play English songs on your music player or television and leave them on in the background. When a child is exposed to the language from all the corners he would catch on fast. Listening plays a very important role in learning a language. During early stages, what is essential is exposure not instructions. Once their mind gets conditioned to hearing the language, they would eventually learn it faster when formal instructions would be given at school.
Watch English news on television. Read aloud from english newspapers or books when they are around.
Try to speak to your spouse in English. I understand you can’t make everyone in the house do it so why not take the lead as parents!
Set a time at home which is meant for complete English speaking with the kids if it isn’t possible throughout the day. Talk about their favourite things, not academics during that hour. It can be a plan that you are making for the weekend or their loved cartoon series. This way kids would know what is expected out of them and would look forward to that time.
As far as teachers are concerned, English teachers should only be using English whether in the class or outside if kids are around. Model the correct behaviour. Use playful methods to teach. Dictating answers, writing things on the board and asking the students to copy won’t do good to anyone. All you are leading to is rote learning which can prove detrimental for the students. Make English fun. Use flash cards, quizzes, debates, spell bees or oral tests in between your regular teaching. This keeps the students aware and alert throughout the class. If you are planning to teach a simple present tense, use that tense in almost all the sentences you speak that day during the class and encourage them to do so. Don’t just make them cram the rules. Think of a new playway strategy everyday! Be an innovator.
Don’t panic if your kids don’t speak English as fluently as their friends. Every child takes his own time since their brains function differently. Let them take their time but you keep up with your duty of exposing them to the language time and again.
Start working on building up their communication skills from today to watch them shine tomorrow!