Saturday, March 19, 2011

The first month of learning Chinese

Learning a language at home by yourself is not easy. It takes a lot of experience to establish a learning routine that it tailored to your abilities and then a lot motivation to stick to your learning routine. I guess it is easier to learn with a bunch of people and meet regularly to practice and practice. I have not established such processes and I begin to see that I need them.

Xin Mao - Year of the Rabbit

My boy got a very useful schedule at school that outlines the teaching and learning activities for each week of his Chinese Language learning. The schedule identifies the text type and linguistic resources, the Chinese charqcters introduced and the way how the his progress is assessed.

Part of his journey is intercultural understanding. the children lean about China, how to respectfully address a person and how to communicate well. They also celebrate the festivals as they happen, such as Chinese New Year. They got presents, special food and money. This resulted in high motivation. What a change in comparison to the old way ot learning languages. How far our education system has come! I feel grateful to experience this journey as part of a public school in Western Australia!

My own learning journey has followed his learning. I now can say the numbers until 10, although he can count to hundred and also write the numbers. I can ask for a person's name and respond telling my name and asking how that other person is. Not a bad start, but a long way to go! At times we practice together and I am happy that I can help him with the homework when he is stuck.

Today when he was playing playstation he sung me a Chinese song, replicated the sounds and the melody beautifully. And I did not even ask him to do so, he just started sining out of his own soul while still being focused on playing his game. I felt honoured to witness that and it motivated me to learn a Chinese song. He said the song was about a jasmine flower.

1 comment:

  1. I'm fascinated by your decision to learn Chinese with your son despite the inherent difficulty of the language! I myself am an ethnic Chinese Singaporean married to a German. We are raising our 8 month old boy in German, Chinese and English. I am bilingual in Chinese and English, with sub-par French and almost-nonexistent German as my poorer linguistic relatives. I forsee problems raising our son in Chinese if we relocate to Germany and would like to learn more about your and your son's experience so far in learning it in Australia. I see you have not posted any updates since this one and would love to hear more about your journey, as I myself am starting to document my family's. Cheers, Viv