Thursday, May 9, 2013

Advantages of Early Foreign Language Acquisition

by J.P. Nikolic

Parents want the best for their children. They want the best opportunities, they want the best conditions, they want the best treatment, they want the best care, they want the best ... of everything, especially when it comes to education.

In fact, good education is a big part of what parents want for their children in this life. And why don't children always get what's best for them?

The answer is quite simple: parents don't always know about all the possibilities available to their children.

And what do you do when you don't know?

You ask around. You check out different options. You follow various paths and knock on various doors until you find the right address.

And if you happen to knock on the door of a good early English school, you can end your search right there because you will get the chance to see exactly how this teaching method works in real life. In your real life. With your own kids. On your first visit.

And how does it work?

Usually, this is what happens: You bring your child to the learning center and the early English teacher demonstrates a typical lesson. Don't worry, your child won't be alone.

You will meet many children and their parents, so the children can play together and learn some English along the way. It might look like the children are just playing. But when you hear those children communicating in a foreign language on their first visit you will become a believer.

And you will realize that there is a method behind all that innocent playing. Nothing but a solid, well-thought out method, proven through the years of practice, can bring such stunning results. And hearing is believing.

What if your child is shy?

What if your child doesn't like to speak, even in their mother tongue? Teachers are not miracle workers, you know that. They're not magicians who can perform instant miracles. But, in the long run, you shouldn't rule out miracles.

If your child is shy, you should look for some evidence of success other than the sound. If you open your eyes you will see that your child is having fun. And that's a great start.

You will see your child having fun and you will hear other children uttering some English words during their first encounter with the language.

You will see well trained and friendly teachers paying attention to each and every child in a room and you will feel the atmosphere of joy all over the place. And that's only possible because children learn in small groups - up to 8 children in one group.

You might be a little surprised when you see how the system works. Maybe you thought that the process of learning must be boring. Unfortunately, many generations were raised to believe that.

On the other hand, some smart and observant people made us realize how much learning potential lies in a young child's mind.

Take Dr Shinichi Suzuki for example. He was a musician in Japan back in the past century. And he developed the famous Suzuki method based on learning by hearing. His method didn't require writing or reading symbols.

He taught little children to play musical instruments before they were able to read notes and it was a major breakthrough.

The majority of his principles are now applied in every successful approach to teaching a foreign language. This way, even little children can start learning English before they learn how to read or write.

They will learn English the same way they learn to speak their own mother tongue - by hearing it and using it in the real life situations. That way, knowledge can gradually grow and the child just keeps adding new words and grammatical structures to the basis already built up from the day one.

The crucial difference between lessons for a three-year-old and lessons for an eight-year-old lies in the approach.

Little children are more group oriented and they are encouraged to get involved in the group activities just for the sake of playing along whereas the older children play games to complete a certain task. However, the team spirit is always present and encouraged in those games.

J. P. Nikolic was a teacher at a Helen Doron Early English School back in 2010. Helen Doron has devised learning materials for 11 years of language education and it's a world wide franchise.

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