In recent years, Japan has become more globalized and we are hearing the English language spoken more than before. When today’s children become adults in 10-20 years, English will become even more important for daily life. Many parents want to prepare their children for the future and teach them English (foreign language) as soon as possible.
However, forcing a child who is not interested in learning English (foreign language) may have a negative effect. To learn a language effectively it is important for children to enjoy it and not feel forced to study. In this article, we will introduce some actions parents can take to encourage their children to like English (foreign language).
1. Show them that Papa and Mama like English
“I am not good at English, but I want my child to learn the language.”
“I want my child to become fluent in English because I cannot speak the language.”
Many parents put all their hopes on their children learning English even though they are unable to speak the language. However, children can pick up their parents’ wishes, and beliefs sooner than parents think.
If children see that their parents do not like English (foreign language), they are more likely to dislike it themselves. So, if parents want their children to enjoy English (foreign language) it is important that their parents enjoy it as well. Parents should try to incorporate English into their daily lives by using English phrases and listening to English music. If children see that their parents like English they will naturally want to learn it as well.
2. Play with board games and card games from abroad.
One way to encourage children to like English (foreign language) is to play English-language board games and card games. Board games and card games from abroad tend to be colorful with lots of pictures so they attract children’s attention!
When children gain interest in a game they are more likely to want to figure out the meaning of the words used. Playing games from abroad is a great way to encourage children to feel that English is fun and interesting. Parents should let their children participate in the purchasing decision and take them to the store to pick out a game they like. Allowing children to pick out their own game will make them even more interested in it.
3.Let them watch foreign animation
Foreign animation is very popular among Japanese children due to its cast and humor. Since children can often figure out what is going on just by watching the animation, even children who are unfamiliar with English can enjoy watching the shows. Allowing children to watch the animation will help them get used to listening to English and also help them learn about foreign culture and lifestyles. This will strengthen their interest in foreign cultures and languages. Eating foreign snacks when watching foreign animation is another way for them to learn about life abroad. This will further their interest in English.
It is important for parents to take actions to incorporate English study into their children’s daily lives. Simple things like playing games in English, eating foreign snacks and watching English DVDs will help your child enjoy the language even more. Attending English classes is another way to show your child that learning English can be fun. Finding friends to speak with in the language is an added benefit of attending English classes and makes learning the language more fun. Let’s make learning English fun for our children so they have a positive experience with the language.