Use Observation to Improve Linguistic Capabilities

Use Observation to Improve Linguistic Capabilities

This is part of our linguistic series. You can read the other post on Memory and Language Development here.

This blog post focuses on the innate ability of young children to pick up languages. Thus, even though Chinese is one of the hardest languages in the world to learn, it’s also so easy that even a baby can learn it. In other words, with the right nurturing environment, your child will absorb additional languages almost effortlessly. (Although we all know it takes a LOT of effort on the parents’ part. Just a lot less effort from the child!)

To unlock that potential, we simply need to observe the child and their daily environment; provide the right “ingredients,” model ways to combine these “ingredients,” create an environment that encourages curiosity, and practice, practice, practice!

In this post, we will be focusing on how observation will increase your child’s linguistic capabilities. In this case, we will be using learning the Chinese language as an example.

1. Observe your child, their environment, and their daily living activities

One of the simplest ways you can improve your child’s Chinese is to give them vocabulary that is relevant to their lives and interests. Tap into the power of your child’s innate interests by teaching them the appropriate terms for the activities and subjects they enjoy.

Where do they spend most of their time? What do they do throughout the day in these environments? With whom do they spend that time? What do they enjoy? What do they hate? What would your child choose to do if they could use their own discretion without any adult interference?

For example, perhaps your child loves dinosaurs. You may need to spend an evening looking up names of different dinosaurs. You can provide Chinese books that show lots of dinosaurs and their Chinese names. You can watch videos or listen to audiobooks of dinosaurs in Chinese. Whatever is dinosaur related, provide it for your child. You will be amazed at how quickly they can learn all the different dinosaur names and how much they will talk about dinosaurs to you, their friends, or any human with a pulse and ears.

Also, this is why so many music and Mommy and Me classes teach children songs about their bodies, faces, foods, animals, and feelings. These are definitely relevant to the toddler and preschool set and they’re more likely to remember the words because of it!

Note: This will require prep work if you yourself do not know the vocabulary. It definitely requires a willingness to say, “I don’t know, let me look that up” and spend time looking up translations.

2. Observe how your children process information and knowledge

Does your child prefer to listen to stories or watch videos? Do they remember terms better if they do crafts or physical activity? Do they flip endlessly through books and pictures? Do your kids recall everything if it’s for a game or competition?

While there is definitely more than one way to learn and process new words – and you should expose your child to as many of these as possible – it’s still important to know which ways your child has a natural affinity for. This information can only help you as you tailor their learning.

3. Read to supplement actual experience

Realistically, it is not possible for a child to experience everything personally in their life. Reading can give the same benefits as actual experience.

Why is this under observation?

Your child will be reading the observations of different writers and translating those words into their own memories and experience.

For example, different authors describe the feelings of joy, happiness, anxiety, or hope with different terms and to varying degrees. They will use a variety of examples, imagery, and metaphors to flesh out a story and thus, your child will learn all these new ways to express similar and disparate feelings, thoughts, and lived experiences.

This is also why reading stories from diverse points of view and genres is so vital to a well-rounded vocabulary. If you only read the same types of stories to your child, it only reinforces similar terms whereas if you read widely, you constantly add new words to your child’s lexicon.

In another collection of our posts, we discussed the importance of sharpening your child’s observation skills. We started by guiding children to learn to compare and to contrast. These are important skills to your child’s linguistic as well as cognitive developments.

LANGUAGE LEARNING TIPS

Singing songs is a great way to improve your children’s listening and pronunciation skills while having lots of fun!

We recommend that you choose one song and have your child listen to the song, then have your child write down what they remember.

Use the same song for this activity until you can tell that your child is improving their listening skills. Each time that you do this activity, also remember to have your child repeat what they write down to practice pronunciation.

我們會經常為大家探討漢字和語文的課題。
要是你有特別的相關課題希望我們探討,歡迎您告訴我們。

We discuss Chinese language and culture related topics on a regular basis.
If you would like us to discuss certain topics about Chinese, please let us know.

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Sagebooks Hongkong promotes independent reading and life-long learning by nurturing the child’s confidence, autonomy and self-teaching abilities. Since 2006. Find out more About Us.

© 2020 Sagebooks Hongkong. All rights reserved.

Sagebooks Hongkong promotes independent reading and life-long learning by nurturing the child’s confidence, autonomy and self-teaching abilities. Since 2006. Find out more About Us.

© 2020 Sagebooks Hongkong. All rights reserved.

Sagebooks Hongkong promotes independent reading and life-long learning by nurturing the child’s confidence, autonomy and self-teaching abilities. Since 2006. Find out more About Us.

© 2020 Sagebooks Hongkong. All rights reserved.

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