Monday, 29 August 2016

Learning A New Language

One of the advantages of growing up in Malaysia is that we are expected to learn at least two languages. The national school uses Bahasa Malaysia (which is the Malay Language) as the medium of instruction and communication for all subjects but English is being taught as a second language. Besides national schools, we also have vernacular schools, which is also supported by the government but uses either Mandarin or Tamil as the main medium of instruction and communication for all subjects. Both Bahasa Malaysia and English Language are compulsory subjects for students attending these schools. As such, the students here are either bilingual or trilingual. 

In our family, we speak both Mandarin and English so it is easy for the kids to pick up these languages when they started school but they would have difficulties with Malay. I did not really spend time teaching them the Malay language until recently. JS has learnt the basics from his teacher in school but he still did not have a clear idea of how to read in that language. He has started to pick up in English reading so I thought it was a good time to start giving him a clearer idea on how to read in Malay. 

Here, I would like to share with you a simple activity that we did in an effort to give him a clearer picture of how Malay words are being formed. 

Since he has already know most of the basic syllabus used, I chose a few groups of syllabus to help him form words. 

Here, I chose three sets - ba bo bi bu be, ca co ci cu ce, la lo li lu le. He is familiar where these syllabus so it helps him to find the correct syllabus easily, therefore, he finds the activity easy and it helps to build his confidence in completing this task without much struggle. 

Next, as you can see in the picture below, I would read two syllabus (to form a word) one at a time, and he would choose them and write the word down. 

And lastly, he would draw a picture of the word to help him remember its meaning. 

It was simple, straightforward, fun and most importantly, we completed the activity in less them 20 minutes. I think it is a good drill for beginners like him. 

If you have experiences teaching a foreign language, please share with us a simple and fun method to introduce a new language to a child. 

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