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Teach English in Huangni Zhen - Chenzhou Shi
I have been very interested in ‘Child Development’ since I had my first child (15 years ago) and when I first visited her Nursery school. I still remember how fascinated I was in seeing the classrooms, play areas, small furnitures and the dynamics of it when I had the chance to watch the teacher in action. I decided to study more about ‘Child Development’ and my specific area of interest is in Early Years Education. I am not a Native English Speaker and I live in a country where English is widely spoken but it is not their Native language as well. I married an English man who doesn’t speak my mother tongue (Portuguese) and we finished up living in this country ,where my children had to go to an International School, hence, a fair amount of children speaking many different languages but the school curriculum is based in English. This is when I started experiencing, having my children’s little friends at my place, how they behave coming from different home languages but using English during school hours. My first job was in a local nursery school where children were also taught in English but many of them came from different mother tongues. Children are truly like sponges, and for the first 5 years of their lives , they will absorb almost every information presented in their environment. It is an unconscious act where they are not aware they are learning as it is taken instinctively . As long as the child is nurtured and go to a happy and safe environment, chances are, this child will become a natural bilingual or trilingual in no time. It is crucial though that the desired language to be learned become the main focus in teaching. Using everyday simple vocabulary and introducing more through play activities has been proven to be an effective way to naturally learn a new language. In my personal life experience, I have learned two languages naturally: my mother tongue and my father’s language which is Japanese at a very young age. I master in vocabulary, expressions and spoken fluency before entering primary school, which was only in Portuguese. I always enjoyed reading, grammar and writing classes in Portuguese. On the other hand, I was never formally and academically educated in Japanese language and it resulted in listening and speaking skills but I hardly have any skills for writing and reading. I have tried in my adult life, but it became very hard and I just felt comfortable enough with the fact that I could speak and understand well Japanese. It wasn’t easier anymore to absorb the information the way I did as a child. However, when I started studying English I was already 20 years old and somehow it wasn’t difficult at all. It was as if my brain had developed a decoder to learn another foreigner language. My point is that I believe that introducing a foreigner language to a young child has the great benefit not only because the child is at the ‘Developmental stages’ of absorbing anything and everything quicker but also it will enhance the ability of this child to learn more languages with more confidence in the future. I also believe that learning a language in a relaxed and playful environment should not only be applied for young children. A language introduced in a engaging but fun way is more likely to trigger more interest in learners. I am not suggesting that adults should be playing in the sand or singing nursery rhymes, but if we consider that so many students learning English as a foreign Language, have developed their abilities in a language as a child, in very different backgrounds and cultures, there is a fair amount of reasons to consider what kind of learner he is. Not only languages but if at the ‘Developmental stages’, a child doesn’t have the opportunities or isn’t provided with enough nurturing, there is a big chance that in the adult age, he will have an overall difficulty in learning new things. My interest is specific in Early Years Developmental Stages but I still believe, no matter what age, we all learn in different ways. My mission as a teacher of Early years, is to give to a child at the ‘Developmental stages’ as many opportunities as possible to learn no only languages but anything that he shows interest, in his very own ways. In doing that, this child will probably grow up to be a good learner, knowing how and what he needs to learn new things. In conclusion, although it is not suitable or possible to use the methodologies of ‘Child developmental stages’ to teach adults how to learn a foreign language, it is always useful to understand that there is always a ‘child’ inside of every adult and finding out the right triggers, will help to lead this child to learn English and maybe more. (822 words)