The best way you can support your child is to set aside some time to talk to them about their schoolwork, and to have some fun! Below are some tips to help with this.
If trying to get your child to do schoolwork leads to arguments and tension, take a break. Go and have some fun for a while. You can always come back to it later on once everyone is feeling more calm.
No matter what age your child is, try not to worry. Start small.
With support from both teachers and parents, children have more chances to use and improve their target language.
Yes! You can help your child to gain in confidence and feel more motivated by giving them lots of praise and opportunities to practise their target language. It’s easier for children to learn when they get encouragement at home.
You could also all learn a target language together. If you are enthusiastic about learning the language, they will be too.
How can we practise at home?
Here’s how to get started:
- Learn little and often: regular practice really helps children to learn a language. Keep activities short and fun (for younger learners 3–10 minutes). However, if your child is enjoying working on their own, let them control their own activity times.
- Build confidence: children are sometimes afraid of making mistakes in front of their classmates. They often feel more comfortable trying things out with their parents. Praise them to create a sense of success and encourage them when they take ‘risks’.
Focus on your child’s interests: teachers prepare lessons that they hope will interest the whole class, whereas you can really focus on your child’s interests. Choose materials together that your child will enjoy the most, whether songs or stories!
There is a difference between ‘instruction’ and ‘education’.
Instruction is about telling a child what to do and how to do it.
Education is about guiding a child to their full potential as they become more independent.
Parents play a vital role by giving children the courage and confidence to do their work, providing encouragement and helping them develop study skills.
Homework tip: if your child gets stuck, don’t rush in with the solution. Sometimes a child just needs a minute by themselves to work through the problem. If they are still stuck, discuss how they could find out more. For example they could use a dictionary, glossary, past paper example answers or internet research.
Rewards can sometimes produce one-time actions, rather than developing long-term study skills. It’s really important to praise effort, not just results and intelligence.
This means praising your child if they have kept going when they’ve found something hard, or found a way to solve a problem by themselves. Research shows that children who receive this type of praise make the best progress in their studies.
Teachers usually can’t offer rewards other than praise. Parents have many options – and the rewards don’t have to cost anything. For example, you could try:
- activity rewards: your child earns extra free time to do their favourite activities
- social rewards: your child earns extra quality time together with family and friends
- asking your child to think about how they would like their effort to be recognised. Their ideas may surprise you!
No. Children can hear differences in pronunciation and their accents are influenced by lots of different things – their teachers, their peer group, actors in films, and so on.
Children’s accents can easily change as they are growing up. From teenage years onwards, pronunciation is more difficult to master.
Remember, there is no single ‘correct’ English or Spanish pronunciation. In countries such as Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and USA, there are over 100 different regional and local varieties of English.
Furthermore, the majority of people who use English come from other countries all over the world. English speakers are used to hearing lots of different accents – it’s a really important part of learning the language.
No, nothing in our research suggests this is a problem. Remember to plan separate times to focus on each language. If you say a sentence in English and then again in another language, your child will automatically listen for their stronger language and ‘tune out’ the other language.
Don’t worry if your child sometimes gets confused. It’s normal to have a U-shaped learning curve. One step back, then two steps forward!