How many hours of English should my child study to become fluent in the language?
This is a question that occupies the minds of most modern parents who recognize that English proficiency is now essential for achieving success in life.
Maple Bear, the world’s largest private educational network, brings the best of Canadian methodology and bilingual education to other countries, effectively blending them with the local curriculum. Bilingualism stands as one of the key pillars on which Maple Bear has built its global success.
So, how do we teach English at Maple Bear?
In Maple Bear schools and preschools in the Czech Republic, just like at Maple Bear institutions worldwide, we employ an immersive approach to education. Our teachers primarily conduct classes in English to ensure that children have constant exposure to the language in a natural setting. In elementary school, due to curriculum requirements, instruction is delivered in both languages. Local subjects such as Czech literature or history are taught in Czech, but the language that dominates our preschool and school environment is English.
Scientific research confirms that immersion is the most effective method for acquiring a second language. Children learn in the same natural way they acquire their first language. Immersive programming accelerates learning and leads to higher levels of proficiency.
While many parents of Maple Bear students intuitively understand and appreciate our immersive approach, they often have questions and concerns. To address these, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions raised by parents, along with responses provided by Rodney Briggs, the founder and CEO of Maple Bear Global, a renowned educator and methodologist.
LEARNING A LANGUAGE THROUGH IMMERSION: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Will my child become proficient in the second language? And how long will that take?
Achieving high levels of oral and written proficiency in a second language is not a short-term process. It takes time. As well, motivation plays an important role in second language acquisition.
While the rate of acquisition varies, most children beginning to learn a second language typically use telegraphic and formulaic speech after a few months. More productive language usage then emerges during the latter part of the year and the following school year.
In the immersion classroom, it’s completely normal for children to begin to express themselves in the language of the classroom. Young children are motivated to adapt to the norm in the classroom and use words learned in the new language.
Immersion students will speak English naturally and will be able to manipulate and utilize words in any context. By contrast, rote learning may give a child a lot of English words, but can only use them in a specific sentence or context.
What can I do to support my child’s immersion experience if I don’t speak the second language?
Parents should maintain an active role in their children’s education. They should try to read to them daily and engage them in activities where they need to apply what they are learning in the classroom.
It’s always helpful when parents do their own homework and learn as much as they can about immersion education. It’s also important to make a commitment to keep a child in the immersion program, as well as support their children’s use of the immersion language outside the school context.
Will my child become fluent in both languages?
A child may become fluent in both languages provided there are opportunities to learn, practice and interact in both languages. Encourage and validate your child’s efforts and achievements in both languages and provide stimulating materials for your child to read and hear.