Thursday, May 26, 2011

How to tackle teaching a second language when you don't speak any other langauges! Part 2

What I am learning about Chinese is that it is an extremely complex and beautiful language, the more I learn about it the more I shake my fists and go "Why did I choose this language why not something easier?" Well I like a challenge and it is such a different language. Anyway on to the topic.

The really good thing about Chinese is that there are many, many resources to teach Chinese and many websites that help you. Chinese as a language is growing in popularity and as China increases it's economic power knowing the language will become ever more important to our children who may or may not in the future have something to do with China in their chosen careers.

This moves me into the how to teach the language with a huge anount of resources on the net saying my product is the best product to teach Chinese, which one will get the desired result? (My desired result is having my child be able to converse and read the language with an understanding of chinese culture)As I go through this journey with both my girls I will write as honest review as I can on the products I use.

This brings me on to a recent product I bought which to be honest I am not that happy with. It is the My Montessori House Beginners Bilingual Manual for teaching Mandarin Chinese which retails for $39 USD which I paid for.  Now I was expecting a manual which actually went through Chinese grammar and how to construct sentences and basically teach you how to teach a little child to be able to speak Chinese. Well this manual falls far short of really teaching anything. It teaches all the the numbers from 1-40 and then goes up in ten by 50,60,70,80,90,100 in simplified Chinese characters and does have the pin yin to be able to pronounce each one and the Chinese characters to go with each number. The Chinese characters are very large and easy to trace.

My biggest gripe and the reason why I bought this manual was to teach my daughter and myself how to construct a sentence in Chinese as well as write a sentence. (My belief is the more you write in the language the more understanding you have of it) While this manual has many of the Chinese characters for  basic words such as Mum, Dad, Hello,  this, what, good, again, meet, go, not, don't go, etc etc you get the gist. It does not really go in to how to construct a sentence, all the manual does is tell you to basically take the chinese characters out, they them on the floor and mix and match them with your child a 'make your own sentences'.

This particularly annoys me. Learning a language is hard enough when you don't speak the and know very little about the language. To me a language is about getting it right I correct my own daughter when she makes grammatical mistakes in English, so she understands that is not a correct way to speak why would I not want her to speak Chinese correctly to?  For me to feel comfortable using this manual to teach Chinese to my DD I would need more information. Its great to say have fun making Chinese sentences but I'm not going to tell you how so you really can't teach anything.

I rate the manual about a 2 out of 10. All it really is, is a bunch of sheets with Chinese characters on it only really good for tracing.

I hope this helps you in the search for good and reliable resources.

Happy Teaching

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