When you first started studying English when did you start learning English? Did you learn after your teacher told you to memorize 30 verbs in 10 days? Did you learn after you watched an episode of the Disney Channel? Did you learn after you met a foreigner at your local grocery store? Did you learn at all?
Many of the people that I have met who study English didn’t learn English from studying. They learned from being immersed in the culture. They learned after an overseas home-stay. They learned after they went to a restaurant in NYC and couldn’t order the food on the menu. Some even learned after dating a foreigner. Don’t pretend that it doesn’t happen! We all know the truth!
Learning a language is a lot easier when you are exposed to it in a fun and engaging manner. My first encounter with Japanese culture was from my sensei Michiko-san. She was married to an American and she had two sons who were bi-cultural. She did a wonderful job teaching us how to make 寿司 (sushi), how to hold 箸(chopsticks), and pronounce the alphabet. Even before I came to Japan I knew the alphabet because of Michiko-san. She made learning about Japan fun.
When children are surrounded by native English teachers and they are having fun through dance, art, and songs, they have a deeper connection with the language. Finding locations in Japan where children can be surrounded in English and have a great time is possible. I encourage parents to look for a program that suits your child’s interests. If your child likes to perform allow them to learn English through performance. If your child likes outdoor activities allow your child to participate in a program that teaches English and science. If your child likes sports look for a program that teaches English and sports together. If your child can use English to express the things that he/she loves, then English will have more meaning. Your child won’t memorize 30 verbs and then forget them on Monday. Your child will remember the verbs because they used them in an activity that they like.
How to stay motivated when learning a language?
An immersion program also gives your child motivation. Maybe you have been trying to get your child to study English at home, but she has refused. She said that it’s boring or difficult. If you immerse your child in English then she may realize that there is a reason to study. However drilling and cramming information into your brain doesn’t help you learn any better. It just frustrates you. Learning in a stress free environment where laughter is encouraged is probably one of the best ways for your child to learn.
If you’d like to know more about immersion programs send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post a question underneath!