Child Development Introduction: This paper is especially


This paper is especially geared to those parents or teachers who want to teach their non-English speaking children to speak English. I get so many parents who ask me, 'Can you teach my child English, please'. In this paper I would like to give these parents and the teachers some guidelines in teaching their children to speak English at a very early age.

When to start to teach a child English' As soon as possible: Some people might be wondering if one can really teach a child from small to speak more than one language. My answer is a definite, 'Yes'. One should start as early as possible, so that it will become part of his DNA of language acquisition. And don't worry; you won't confuse him with more than one language. He is more than clever enough to discern the different languages that he is exposed to and reply in the language that you speak to him. The key is to give him a lot of exposure to English; to speak as often as possible to him, even if he is too young to respond. All the effort will later bear fruit when suddenly out comes this treasure of English vocabulary that he has build up over time. Another important factor is not to try and force him to speak in English, let it come naturally! They will tell you when they are ready by just spontaneously starting to use it whenever it is appropriate for them.

How to teach a child English' The parent has one of two choices: To send him for formal English education at a school or English-speaking club, or to teach him yourself. Both could be valuable and the wise parent would most probably use a combination of the two. Because children in general enjoy listening to stories, I think story telling should be at the heart of English education. Tell them stories as much as possible. They will later memorize it and re-tell it to you! Also, as their ability to write in English increases, let them write as much as possible on any subject that they are interested in. Some children are better in verbal expression and we tend to reward that, but what about those who are better in creative writing' Are we providing avenues for them to express themselves and reward them for doing so' One area to be careful at is in correcting their English. Children can often not distinguish between personal criteria and performance criteria. Carefully stress where the language problem is, but at the same time affirm the child for the effort he has put into the assignment. It is also important to motivate a child by teaching him to compare himself to himself, and not to other children. A motivated child will learn much faster and will even take initiative to develop on his own if enough affirmation is given.

Resources to help in teaching English to children The child should be encouraged to read as much as possible English children books. It is of utter importance that the child has to expand his vocabulary continuously, which will also give him a better ability to express himself in English. And reading can really increase that. It is not in vain that the Japanese proverb says, 'Un- worked fields ' empty stomachs; unread books ' empty heads'. Make sure that he always has reading material available, and that it is not somewhere in a bookshelf out of his reach! Let him choose what he wants to read, so that he does not get bored with the books. Parents and teachers should also read together with the children so that they can see it is such an important activity that you are willing to give of your precious time to it. Watching English TV programs or videos could also be helpful, but this must be done under proper guidance. The parent or teacher could ask the child to explain what he saw on the program or to re-tell the story to you. Listening to English children songs and explaining the meaning is also a very useful tool. And of course playing games in English, and let the children act out stories in English will be some of their most favorite learning activities.

Learning another language like English will help children to develop faster. Your child will be forever grateful to you for teaching him to understand the language of the Internet, for future research and study purposes and for corresponding in our ever-increasing English speaking world. Above all, learning another language will stretch his mind and will increase his comprehension and intellect, which is one of the biggest favors you can do for your child.


Improve your child's intellect ' Dr. Kobus Maree