Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Teaching him a language that I don't speak

is getting harder.

I've really been pushing our Japanese learning this month, and it's been very successful. He's really trying to say things in Japanese, and is greeting our Japanese friends in Japanese. I feel guilty, actually, because if my Japanese were better, his would be too.

That's what I'm struggling with right now. Because I don't have the right accent, and I use the formal endings instead of the informal endings, etc, I have believed it when I read that children should learn a language from a native speaker. We're lucky to have found good Japanese classes for his age. I'm quite happy that the new assistant teacher in B's class is a boy/young man because in Japanese, males use different pronouns than females. (And I think they use different verb endings as well but I'm not certain). It doesn't change the fact, though, that it is hard to teach a child a language when you don't speak it yourself. He makes mistakes. I recognize them and yet I don't know how to fix them. I ask other moms from the classes how he is supposed to say something and they tell me but it is very stopgap. I had thought if I learned at the same time as him then I would stay ahead because, well, I was ahead. I took classes in high school and I took evening classes when B was a toddler. He has caught up and I don't have a lot of time to study.

At least while I am struggling, he is not. He enjoys his classes. The other day he was working in his phonics workbook and as he finished each page, he said, "dekita". Apparently when they do workbooks in class that's what the other children say. I'm going to ignore the fact that it was an English phonics workbook and be happy that he's picking up words from the other kids.

It feels easier to teach him French, probably because even though we are not fluent, both my husband and I started taking classes in elementary school. It's also all around us. Many of B's friends and cousins are in French immersion. He has already picked some up. Of course, he is so young that he will easily forget it, but we can build from this once his Japanese is stronger.

No comments:

Post a Comment