I have set up a new category ‘Our Family’s Mandarin Journey’. This is for posts to record and share some things we use to learn Mandarin as a family.
These posts will be of interest to parents a little more serious about integrating Mandarin learning into their children’s lives beyond the beginner classroom stuff that I can do as a teacher in those small allocated timeslots!
When we learn a language, it is not just content matter, it is a means of communication. Therefore it shouldn’t just be taught as a separate subject, it should be part of a child’s world, integrated into their world. In an environment where true immersion into a second language is impossible, I feel integrating the language as much as possible into the child’s world is the best thing I can do for them as a parent and teacher. So, if the kids want to make a chocolate cake, give them a recipe in Chinese, so the kids have to work out the ingredients and what to do from the recipe – if the desire for the cake is strong enough, they will work it out. This way they are not learning Chinese as a separate set of vocab or grammar drills, they have had to work out a message to get something they really really want! Of course behind the scenes Mum has put the recipe together beforehand at their zone of proximal development, and prints it out as a recipe off the internet the next time they mention that they want chocolate cake, one doesn’t have to wait long for this request from kids 🙂
I can do this ‘integrating’ so much more for my family than I can for my half hour classroom time slots. So if you have older children, or wish to be linked to activities and resources for a deeper learning of Mandarin as a family, these posts may be suited for you. Teachers who teach older primary children may also find the posts helpful for ideas on integrating Mandarin into the school curriculum.
Linking activities to the myriads of possible school outcomes over 8 primary school subjects can become tedious, and I would only do for writing a unit of work! So instead, I will try and include the links, connections and lightbulb moments that my children make in their heads (from my children’s perspectives) when we do a new activity using Mandarin. I think this is more helpful to both teachers and parents from a blog sharing ideas on a practical level.