November 23, 2021
How can a non-native speaker teach their child a foreign language?
Are you a parent with a passion for languages? How can a non-native speaker teach their child a foreign language? Let’s meet Anna…
If you are a non-native French speaker hoping to teach their child a foreign language… you may be wondering if it is possible or how to start.
So how can a non-native speaker teach their child a foreign language?
I love hearing from the Mini Languages community to learn from their experiences teaching their children French.
So let’s meet Anna, a Mum from Minnesota, USA who has a 6 year old, 4 year old, and 1 year old. I particularly love her views on the outlook she hopes her kids adopt from learning languages.
Bonjour Anna! Thank you for sharing your language story with us!
- First question, why would you like your kids to learn French?
We strongly believe that learning another language has so many benefits, and fluency doesn’t need to be achieved to receive those benefits. The process of learning a language itself teaches so much. It teaches us about how the world is bigger than our immediate surroundings and teaches us new and creative ways to express ourselves and organize our thoughts and ideas.
My husband and I both studied French as teens in grade school and I continued my studies into college so we felt that having our kids learn French made the most sense for us. French is familiar and it would be a matter of remembering and relearning versus starting from scratch with another language which held less appeal for us as busy parents. French is also a great choice because so many places in the world speak French (even if there are variations in the language in each location), so the utility of the language on a global scale is a bonus.
- What is your own French level?
I used to be (choppy) fluent in French in college with mostly academic vocabulary versus everyday vocabulary. Now my French comes back in fits and starts, but I’m using common phrases in French around the house with my kids. I can’t write or speak much French without a lot of time and brain power anymore, but it is coming back as I keep learning French with my kids.
- What aspects of the Mini Languages Mini Ville portal do your kids like most?
My kids love the Mini Life videos the most. I think they enjoy seeing other kids do things like them but in French! It helps them make personal connections with the language learning process.
- What do you as a parent like about it?
I love the Mini Life videos because my kids love them and they help me learn sentences and phrases in French for everyday life with children. The videos help me learn French grammar and expressions with the familiar vocabulary.
I also love the Music and Movement sessions because they are a great starting place for us to have a mini French lesson at home. We then continue singing those songs sparking us to play with the new vocabulary throughout the day.
Without Mini Ville, I’d feel a bit more lost as to how to incorporate French learning in our day. Mini Ville makes it easy for me to learn and use everyday French with my kids.
- What are your hopes for the future for your kids’ languages?
I hope they want to keep learning French or maybe be inspired to want to learn other languages as well. Most of all, I hope that learning French helps them learn empathy for other people in the big wide world beyond Minnesota, USA. When done well, language learning teaches you about other cultures helping you to understand what makes your own culture unique and special too.
It teaches a respect for all cultures. I also hope it develops an empathy and respect for when they encounter people here who are learning English. Language learning is not a quick and easy process for most people so anyone who tries should be given respect, encouragement, and space for their efforts.
Thank you so much for your time, Anna, and for being a part of the Mini Languages community! Reach out whenever you need help!
I hope these insights from Anna are helpful! My key take-aways are:
- Even the process of language learning has benefits
- Modern parents value learning respect for other cultures
- Learn common phrases you can use round the house
- Kids enjoy learning from videos with other kids in them
- Find quality resources to stop you feeling lost
For further support check out:
- My Kids French Baking Lesson – Use videos that support learning in real-life situations to really make vocabulary stick!
- Teach Your Child to Count in French – Use common phrases and expressions as you go about your daily routine for your little one to absorb the language.
- All the resources you need to teach your child French – if, like Anna, you want to make it easy for yourself to learn and use everyday French with your kids, check out Mini Ville.