Helping my Child in Mother Tongue: Teacher Insights Series
Mother Tongue is a subject most students are apprehensive of in primary schools. As the population gets more educated over the past few decades, many kids in Singapore nowadays grow up speaking mainly English at home.
This inevitably leads to a tougher challenge in helping our kids to learn their mother tongues. Ask a mother tongue teacher in school and you will know. Read our article to find out how our educators help their children in learning their second language.
My child is good in one language but is weak in his mother tongue. What can I do during this one year to help maximise his grades in his 2nd language?
Mr. Nicholas Ee
To be honest, it will be a tall order to make huge positive strides in a weaker 2nd language in a child’s PSLE year.
The most common approach is to constantly converse with them using both English and their mother tongue.
However, I will take this a step further by categorising the English words or mother tongue characters according to their nature of usage. E.g. I try to get my children to make associations among the words or characters that they use.
One thing I realise is that words do not function in isolation. Parents should encourage their children to read books in different genres such as children’s fiction, historical fiction to gain a more holistic view on the use of the language.
Mr. Ng Yeo Heng
Though I am not a language teacher, I think that it is vital to provide an environment for the child to use the language more frequently.
Provide a conducive environment for your child to learn mother tongue.
Speak to your child in mother tongue and provide opportunities for your child to read, listen, talk about and to speak to people using mother tongue.
The 1.5 hours spent in tuition per week is definitely not enough.
For me, I speak to my children in both languages at home and I try to make it a point to converse with them in proper languages (not Singlish). I correct them whenever they did not speak the language correctly. Make a conscious effort starting from today.
On top of that, I sit down with them daily and make sure that they spend enough time doing assessment books on Chinese. Consistency is the key.
Language is not something a kid can pick up or excel in within a short period of time.
Parents play an important role in helping their children to learn their mother tongues and appreciate their cultures. Start today in providing a conducive environment for your child to speak, read, listen and write in his own root language.
About the Author
Prof Ollie is a guru of PSLE revision strategies specialising in the Leitner System and aims to help primary 6 students from all walks of life to excel in their PSLE. Despite being a professor, he wears his graduation hat wherever he goes. When not working on OwlSmart, Prof Ollie flies around Pulau Ubin to lose weight and catch up with the resident hornbills.