It’s important to encourage your son or daughter as he or she is learning Japanese. While it’s easy to remind your child or teen to practice, there are some other things you can do to help him or her succeed. These tips from language teacher Carol Beth L. will help you support your Japanese student…
1. Know Your Student’s Goals
Why does your son or daughter want to learn Japanese? Is it required in school? Does he or she want to speak with others in Japanese? Is your student interested in anime or Japanese films? Maybe your son or daughter wants to study abroad in Japan. Different goals may require a stronger emphasis on different linguistic skills like speaking, reading, writing, or listening. Determine your child’s motives for learning, and then work with your child and his or her teacher to devise the best plan of action to promote learning.
2. Set the Pace
It’s always good to encourage your Japanese student to move forward. If your child isn’t ready to move on, however, don’t push him or her too hard. Make sure to check in with the teacher to gauge your child’s progress. It’s important that the student understands the fundamentals before moving on to more advanced concepts. If your son or daughter is struggling with certain aspects of the language, ask his or her teacher what you can do to help. If the student is ready to move forward, however, don’t hold him or her back.
3. Encourage Your Child
Make sure to recognize and praise what the student has done well. Without encouragement and positive reinforcement, your child may become discouraged. Japanese isn’t as natural to English speakers as other closely-related languages, so it’s especially important to recognize the little victories along the way. The opposite can be true, too; if your student is a natural when it comes to learning language, offer praise, but encourage him or her to continue to advance.
4. Stay Up to Date on Japanese News and Culture
By learning about Japanese events, culture, and customs you can help your Japanese student make real-life connections with what he or she is learning. This will keep him or her interested in language lessons. Depending on how advanced your student is, he or she may even be able to read about current events in Japanese. Remember, it’s always important to take interest in what your child is learning.
5. Learn About the Language
This doesn’t mean you need to be an expert, but you can help your Japanese student if you have a background or working knowledge of the language. Japanese is very different from English and can take a long time to master. The more you know about the language, the easier it will be for you to help your child.
With your support, your child is much more likely to have a positive learning experience. Work with your child’s Japanese teacher to learn even more ways you can help your student.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She also studied Japanese in high school and college. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!
Photo by Steven Yeh