Sunday, February 5, 2012

Guest Blogger: Tim Johnson "Teaching Foreign Language to Young Children"

How many bedtime stories do you remember from when you were a child and your mother used to sit down on the edge of the bed and read you to sleep?  Most people will be able to recall quite a few even though they're not part of your daily life and it's been years since you've seen them.  This is because your mind soaked up these memories, and stored them in the most pristine part of your brain.  Illustrations, words and characters flood back into your memory with only small reminders. 

As children our knowledge base is very small and scattered.  We take in isolated bits of knowledge that are unrelated to anything else we've learned.  We take them for what they are and continue to learn until bits and pieces slowly come together to form larger more coherent concepts that we can eventually apply to our daily life.  As we grow and our knowledge base expands and becomes more structured we struggle to find relevance for new knowledge within our prior knowledge structure.  Loose ends are often lost to the cosmos as the adult brain doesn't work as hard to retain those bits of unrelated information.

This unique ability to quickly absorb foreign and unique concepts at a young age is responsible for mankind's prosperity and growth to where we are today.  To encourage children to learn foreign words and phrases helps keep their mind open to new possibilities, new ways of looking at the world and new solutions to problems they face.  Later on in life, the opportunities that become available to bilingual children and people in general, are increasing by the day.  The speed of business, the increasing population, the demand for better communication with the rest of the world are all things that necessitate bilingualism, and that won't change anytime soon. 

One of the best ways to teach a language is immersion.  One of the best ways to immerse someone is to put the language into a context they can relate to.  This is the reason dual language children's books are an absolutely awesome way to teach children a new language.  They have illustrations, characters, storyline, and context to relate to.  Any child will learn and more importantly remember the words and lessons they've learned from a dual language book.

About the author:  Tim Johnson is a dual language children's book author and you can find his first book, "Bosley Sees the World" available for pre-order through Kickstarter.  You can watch a video of him explaining this book at his Kickstarter page.

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