My child hates the Chinese subject and refuses to speak in Mandarin too. How can I make learning Chinese interesting for him?
From our of experience in teaching Chinese, we’ve identified the top 3 reasons why students are not
motivated to learn the subject.
• Kids are not confident in using the language outside of class
• Kids do not have enough opportunities to use the language
• Kids find Chinese lessons uninteresting
Here, we share our recommendations on how to overcome these challenges.
Building Your Child’s Language Confidence
Even though your child learns Chinese in school, you may notice that he or she struggles to speak the
language in casual conversations.
Building your child’s proficiency in Chinese has a lot to do with having confidence in using the language.
This is not only about being able to articulate thoughts and opinions confidently, but also about using the
language in a way that others can understand.
1) Encourage the Use of Chinese at Home
Using the language at home serves as additional practice for your child to apply what he or she
learnt in class within a safe environment.
It is important to let your child know that it is okay to speak imperfect Mandarin in daily
conversations. When conversing at home, allow your child to use English words to substitute ones
that he or she doesn’t know how to express in Mandarin. You can then share the correct
vocabulary or phrases your child could’ve used in place of the English words.
For example, when your child asks for something, encourage him or her to ask in both English and Chinese so your child won’t feel ‘forced’ to speak in Mandarin only. This creates a safe and conducive environment for your young one to use the language.
2) Inspire a Love for Reading
Reading is a tried and tested way to learn new vocabulary — build this habit and love for reading from young.
Select Chinese pictorial books that are colourful to attract young readers. Gradually build on reading proficiency and develop an interest in reading by varying your tone when reading and role-playing characters. You can also point out interesting sentences in the books to help your child deepen his or her understanding of the use of different phrases or new vocabulary.
Giving Your Child the Opportunities to Use Chinese
3) Practise the Language with Your Child at Every Opportunity
Help your child see that Chinese language is closely related to his or her daily life. You can start incorporating Chinese into your daily lives by assigning small tasks for your child. This could be ordering their favourite food in Chinese, reading the menu or Chinese signboard (if any) of their favourite store, or saying hi to their friends in Chinese.
If your child needs help with reading the characters, take time to explain the meaning of the characters to ensure that your child is not blindly repeating after you. When your child is able to associate the words that he or she hears with what he or she sees, your child will be able to pick up the language more smoothly.
4) Engage in Role-Play
Role play is the magic that allows vocabulary and sentence structures to come alive.
Children feel more engaged in the learning experience when they can connect what’s being covered in class to their own experiences. That is why it is important to give your child opportunities to apply or simply share what they learn through simple, yet fun activities.
For example, you can let your child watch a movie of their choice and get them to act out or describe their favourite character in Chinese as much as they can.
Depending on the theme for the week, Xin Zhong Wen teachers prepare various props for children to learn with. Guided questions are also used to help them apply newly learnt vocabulary and sentence structures during role play.
For instance, one of the activities we do in class includes getting students to create and design their own house. Once the task is completed, students are given the chance to introduce houses to each other using the vocabulary and sentence structures they’ve just learnt.
5) Try Creative Activities Together
This can be done when learning Chinese strokes.
a. Kids can think of how to create a drawing with the strokes they learn.
As most young children are visual learners, you can make learning vocabulary more interesting by encouraging your child to design and decorate the characters in the image of their meanings.
For example, your child can decorate a picture of the word 猫 (māo) as a picture of a cat to enhance his or her ability to understand and recognition of the vocabulary. When learning the word 树, your child can draw it as a tree trunk.
b. Find joy in learning Chinese using riddles.
Using fun word riddles makes can make language learning more interesting and also helps children understand the nuances of new phrases.
Try these with your child!
Nurturing Your Child’s Love for Chinese Begins Here
Xin Zhong Wen’s curriculum is designed to be as fun as it is relevant. Our lessons equip students with the necessary knowledge of relevant Chinese vocabulary and grammar as well as key language skills such as phrasing, sentence structure and descriptions so they can use the language with confidence.
Find out more about our range of Chinese tuition and enrichment programmes. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6500 8111 today to find out more.
Xin Zhong Wen Website: https://www.xinzhongwen.com.sg/en/
Academic Director, Xin Zhong Wen