Family Language Alive - Children Learning Chinese

Situation #1.2: Our family is Chinese, and the adult members speak Chinese to each other, but all of us usually use English to speak to our child at home because we are not sure if there is any benefi

August 30, 2010

1.2 Main Article

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Situation #1.2: Our family is Chinese, and the adult members speak Chinese to each other, but all of us usually use English to speak to our child at home because we are not sure if there is any benefit in her learning Chinese.Reality: Research has shown that not only is there no detrimental effect, but there are tremendous benefits for children learning more than one language. First, children in many dual language programs globally have consistently achieved at the same or higher level in academic performance tests than those who are monolingual. These include those who are English learners and those who are struggling with their primary language. Second, bilingual students often experience better results cognitively and linguistically in tasks that require creativity and problem solving than monolinguals. Third, not only are they able to communicate in two languages, they are also more receptive to appreciate and respect other cultures and values in a world that is pulled ever so much closer by the minute. This serves as a strong foundation for building up oneself to understand, embrace, and enjoy differences. Finally, most families use globalism as a primary reason that they want their children to learn a second language. There is no doubt that knowing another language prepares one for the wealth of opportunities that lie ahead in the future economic market.

Considerations:

  • How do I see my child in the future with one language? What if she is bilingual? Would that make any difference in the life that she may have?
  • What is the main reason I might object her learning Chinese? Does this reason justify the benefits that she might receive if she were bilingual?
  • How can I confirm and discuss the benefits listed here with other resources and people? Should I reevaluate my decision to have my child stay as a monolingual?
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