Aside from English, Singapore has three other official languages which remain in use today: Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil. Each language has a long history in the country and learning them all can be quite challenging because of their differences.
Considering the difficulty of Mandarin and the fact it is a major language in Singapore, Singaporean parents take time to locate a good tutor who can provide special Chinese tuition for their children. This fact is especially true for parents whose young ones will be starting their Primary 1 Mandarin Mother Tongue classes.
For tutors aspiring to provide Chinese tuition to young children hoping to learn Mandarin as a second or third language, how can you prepare them to learn the basics?
As a tutor or a parent, here are the eight ways you can prepare your young ones to learn the basics of Primary 1 Mandarin Mother Tongue.
Every child loves a good story, especially if it is narrated to them in a way that allows them to imagine the story afterward. Reading is also a good way to bond with your student and learn how you can get their attention. If you aren’t a confident reader, using audio books to read the book and guiding the child through the book can also help.
Reading stories helps a child learn new words and understand how each word should be used and pronounced. Advise parents to build a bookshelf filled with books in Mandarin and English.
There are many games available on the market today that can help you teach your students new things like building blocks, magic boxes, dominos, and puzzles. By modifying these games to include Mandarin words, you can challenge your student in building Chinese sentences and remembering how these words look like. There are also some games in the market that is already designed to teach a new language, such as Mandarin.
You can even create your own game that would get your young student’s attention and help them learn new words.
One of the first things parents, teachers and tutors would teach to children are songs or nursery rhymes that can sing along. When the child learns the tune, they would easily remember the lyrics.
When teaching new languages, singing is also a great way to help children memorize new words. Even if you do not have a good singing voice, so long as you can teach the tone, the child can follow up as he or she listens to it.
As a tutor, you should show to your students how you love the language by teaching them why it is important and why it’s a skill they should know. You can even ask your student’s parents to help out by asking them to encourage the child to use the new words they learn at school at home.
Casually ask the child what it means and provides an example. You can even help your student feel confident in teaching these words and learning it if they can also become a teacher to their loved ones.
When we are kids, it is often easy to remember new things if we see a label or picture on it that says what the item is all about. As we keep seeing it, we immediately associate that label or picture to a certain object.
Using this same idea in teaching Mandarin, you can use labels in Chinese and attach them to objects around the house so the child would associate the Chinese character to the item where the label is attached. You can also say the words verbally as you point on the label and the item in question for better understanding.
As a tutor, you should show parents that it is important that the child is immersed in an environment where Mandarin is being used for them to master it quicker. Parents could take their children to countries where Mandarin is used consistently, like China, Hong Kong or Taiwan. Once in the country, they can let their children practice their Mandarin and learn new ways of speaking the language as they meet new people in these countries.
A good way to test one’s proficiency in a new language, especially for kids, is through real-time conversations with others who are taught the same language. Ask parents to bring their child to events where they can meet up other children learning how to speak Mandarin. If not, you can even arrange your own event for your students to mingle and practice Mandarin together.
If children do not have a means to practice the language, there is a tendency they may forget how to use the words correctly and eventually lose interest in mastering it.
If the child is not able to travel around or meet other people who can speak the language, you should explain to parents that they should not expect them to become fluent or pass their language tests. Should this issue arise, ask parents to keep supporting their child in learning the language because if these children are supported by their parents to learn the language without any pressure, they will aspire to become fluent.
As a tutor, you can also bolster the child’s attitude in learning Mandarin by telling them that they are slowly improving and continue supporting them throughout their classes.
Mandarin is a very difficult language to learn; however, learning it can present a lot of advantages especially if you are in areas where it is mostly used or speaking to those who prefer speaking the language. For kids, learning such a difficult language in their early years can go a long way and if nurtured properly, they can become fluent as they grow older.
We must be able to inspire these kids to learn the language without them losing their interest. If they lost interest in learning the language, they may find it tedious to learn the language even if it can help them in the future. Primary school tuition can help for young kids – it’s better to start early!
These articles may help you to help your child in excelling their Mandarin:
What You Need To Memorize Before Singapore Chinese Essay Exams
Just How Important is Learning Mandarin Chinese in Singapore?