Tips for supporting your child’s Language studies

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A question we are asked a lot at parent-teacher interviews is “How can I help my child with their Language studies?” As a parent, you want to be able to help, but it can be daunting if it is a subject you know little to nothing about. The answer? Just like other subjects – Encourage them. Show an interest in what they are doing. Ask questions and ask them how you can help.

For more hands-on, direct help, here are some other ideas.

1) Language Perfect. Every student in Years 6 – 10 has access to Language Perfect, a web tool to drill vocabulary. We have set up specific lists tailored to our classes, and we teach students how to make the most out of the site. We very much encourage students to use LP regularly. If they do not have much other homework on a particular evening, some extra vocab practice is always useful. Ask your child to demonstrate it to you, and show you their score & progress.

2) There’s an app for that. There are so many great apps available to help with building vocabulary in French, and a growing number for Indonesian too. If you think laterally, many apps and sites are available in a choice of language – why not use a French or Indonesian language app to check the weather? There’s also a huge range of podcasts and YouTube channels available, both specifically to support learning a language but also on topics of interest but in the language studied.

3) Experience the culture with them. This doesn’t have to be a trip overseas (and right now, that’s not very achievable) – simply cook some food from Indonesia or France, have chocolat chaud and a croissant for breakfast then playing a game of boules (or nasi goreng and a game of congklak) or going to a restaurant as a family. Many restaurants have staff who speak the language if your child is up for the challenge!

4) Get involved. If your child has a list of vocabulary to learn for a topic, help them drill by saying the English word for them to translate. If they are learning gestures, ask them to show you some of the gestures – they should be watching the videos a few times a week – why not watch with them?

5) Media. Look out for movies, magazines, newspapers, tv shows, music – anything – in the language being studied. The College library has a growing range of books and magazines available in French and in Indonesian and the Internet has made accessing materials in other languages so much easier. Look on SBS on Demand or Netflix – there is so much there.

6) Talk about your own experiences. Has there been a time when speaking another language or understanding another culture was useful or would have been useful?

Danielle Horne
Head of Department – Languages

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