Google+ Raising a Trilingual Child: "No English!" Motivation is the key.


Monday, July 15, 2013

"No English!" Motivation is the key.

Just a couple of days ago I read a very interesting opinion published on the opinion pages of NY Times with a title: No English! A mother, who is an English teacher at  an university in Madrid, tells her story of trying to raise her son bilingual. The things did not go smooth for her and now she stopped speaking English to her son and switched to Spanish. 

The are two ways of seeing this article. One: it is a story about a failure to teach a child the second language, and the other: it is a story about stress free joyful communication with your child. Yes! Stress free as to raise your child to be bilingual or multilingual is a lot of work for the parents. The parents need to be ready for this task right from the day the child is born and keep working with the child by speaking, reading, developing his language skills even when they would like to have time just for themselves.

It is good if one can hire someone to help with either household or raising the children or even both, but if one can not... All the strain falls on the parent. He or she needs to be a good language model to the child, good housekeeper, good spouse. Plus there is a constant pressure from the community, possible lack of friends. 

We should not judge the mother for not continuing with the task of raising her son bilingual. She wants to be happy and live the life together with her son and not seeing him as one of her students. The true is, at list in my case, I am almost like a teacher with my children. I would love to take a break, but for me it is like a new project at work. I enjoy it and would like to succeed, so I do as much as I can.

Everyone needs to have a goal and a reason why to teach the child your mother tongue and that should keep you motivated.

I speak four languages myself. Only one was given to me as a "present" from the parents and the other three I have been learning myself for the last 14 years. Sadly, I do not speak the language I was taught at school; otherwise, it would be the fifth. Learning a language later in life is not an easy task and requires time, which often we do not have.

I know what it means watching movies and readying books in the original language. All the languages are so particular and transfer different feelings in some special way. There are so many Russian poets and writes whose books I would like my children to be able to enjoy.  The richness of epithets, metaphors, comparison in the Russian language works even in children's books is amazing. I would like my children to open this wonderful world and have different visions. I teach them Russian keeping that in mind.

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