So I have started teaching Le Xin Mandarin formally haha :) I started off by teaching her the basic strokes for Mandarin which we call them 笔画 - bi hua. The strokes are..... heng, shu, pia, na and dian and she knows all of them by now. To reinforce the first bi hua - heng (a horizontal stroke that looks like this 一) I got her to use a bottle of green glitter glue to form the stroke.
Squeezing the glue out from the bottle seems a little tough for Le Xin, but fortunately she did not give up and was determined to try. Let's take a look at her learning experience.
The materials we needed for this activity were glue, pencil and a piece of paper. It was really that simple.
I drew a horizontal line on the paper and said heng. Le Xin repeated the word after me and next she used her index finger and tried to trace the stroke.
Le Xin also tried squeezing the bottle for a long time, but nothing came out. I guess she does not have enough strength to squeeze the bottle, so I went over, held her hand and gave her some help.
However, I am very particular about getting Le Xin to do her work by herself. I strongly believe that it's only through this way, Le Xin will truly gain some form of hands on experience. So I kinda gave up the thought of squeezing the bottle for her, as I know deep in my heart that will be no learning going on if I continued to do so. I squeezed a bit of the glitter glue on a container cover and got her to use a cotton bud to spread the glue on the stroke.
Once again, she was very focused!
Haha she looked like she was having some Chinese Calligraphy 书法 lesson......
Next, she did some creative drawing on her own which I didn't stop her....It's both a language and art activity (killing two birds with one stone)
She looked at me and said Mummy I want to use blue glue now and I suggested to squeeze the glue for her but she insisted she to give it a go.
With all her mighty strength, she tried very hard to squeeze the bottle but aww~ nothing came out again.
Tried tapping the bottle with her finger so I told her It's alright Le Xin, Mummy can give you a helping hand, when you grow older, your finger will be strong enough to do the work, no worries.
What I like about Le Xin is that, often than not, she is able to accept my reasoning(s) and soon she handed me the bottle and I squeezed out a little blue glitter glue on the cover.
As she was doing her work, I spotted that she kept pausing to observe the glitter on the tip of the cotton bud.......guess she was really curious!
Little fingers @ work....
After she completed her drawing, she suddenly took a pencil and started to form circular mark on the right hand corner of the paper...
She drew and drew and then she looked up and smiled at me...
Mummy this is my name said Le Xin... This was how she held the pencil, I know it's not really the right pencil grip but seriously I do not wish to correct her. I hope she can work in peace without me....over directing her on what to do :)
Mummy I finish my work already she said as she proudly held her work to show me :)
Le Xin really takes pride in her work. She often would show it to me or Daddy Scott when she has completed them and she takes delights if we say her work look really nice haha :) Hey but we are really sincere with our praises okay? Definitely not patronizing her :p
Some parents have asked me, will it be confusing for a child to master two languages at the same time? Well my answer is definitely no. Children at this age learn the fastest! In fact, they are capable of learning more than what that you think they can absorb... Actually, I didn't deliberately try to teach her Mandarin. Most of the time, I converse with her in English but these day I have been speaking more Mandarin with her and she understand them well too.
I am sometimes shocked by the things she said to me in Mandarin. I would often wonder where did she picks up certain words/sentences from? I recalled an incident when our ipad stopped working and she said to me Mummy 为什么没有声音的？and she gave me a puzzled look, this was sometime back when she just started learning how to talk...
I guess the word is the EXPOSURE again! Never be afraid to expose your child to anything, especially when it comes to language. In fact, I have also taught Le Xin some simple Japanese phrases too! She likes to say Oyasumi and before she sleeps each night she likes to tell me Mummy I haven't say Oyasumi to Daddy, I want to say Oyasumi to Daddy first.....haha funny right?
So how did I go about teaching her bi hua? Well, I started doing that by using Powerpoint flashcard which I made by myself. Then she just repeat after me as I say the word, the big idea is to STOP BEFORE SHE WANTS TO STOP, meaning never bore her with continuous drilling. Lastly, I will reinforce with art and craft.....I have also introduced her colours in Mandarin and a particular Youtube video really helps! She always requests to watch this.....a Mandarin song about colours. By the way, guess what? This video was introduced to me by a parent from Etonhouse and she was from Denmark..Yeah my Danish student, Mads, is super good in his Mandarin...When I was working in Etonhouse, I often interact with him in Mandarin and one day his mum told us he likes watching this video....So I tried playing the video to Le Xin too and bless.....she also loves it hahaha :) Isn't it cool?
So do you enjoy teaching your child his/her second language, you should, it's probably the one thing you shouldn't have any doubts about.....If you were to ask me I will say WELL JUST DO IT! I hope I can teach her Hokkien too but you know even though I like speaking Hokkien, sometimes it just feels a little weird speaking it to her......She only knows Mai (no in hokkien) but I won't give up and will continue to teach her more haha then she can use the language with her ah gong ah ma, wai gong and ya use it when she goes Taiwan (argh...I can't wait to travel with her) :p
Ciaoz hope you like this post!