— We speak in our native language at home, but our child refuses to speak it. He is only using English with us.
— This is a very common situation. Parents need to understand that the amount of interactions at home is fundamentally limited.
We can divide speech in three big categories:
- Overheard speech - no action is required from the child
- Directed speech - child is expected to react within specific context, relevant to what the child is doing now
- Active speech - child is actively responding in a dialogue.
Overheard speech is mostly helping with phonics and pronunciation. But it’s directed speech
that helps to learn new words. The child is simply guessing the meanings of the words from the context and learns new words. This is why kids exposed to a different language at home may speak it without almost any accent and still have a very limited vocabulary. They use English at the playground and at classes - times when they actively participate in listening and speaking.
How do we do this in Alphagreen preschool:
- Our teachers are native speakers, and they only speak that language to the kids. They are literary pretending they don’t understand English and never reply in it.
- Use of directed speech - we play with kids, do cooking, do music class, go to the garden... While constantly speaking in a language and asking kids to participate with actions. And soon kids get confident enough to start speaking the language too.