So, my kids are growing up (too fast, I might add) and I’m really considering having them learn a second language. Many studies show that kids learn second languages so much better than adults do, especially if you start them early. Why is this? As a rule, when adults learn a new language, they go through a process of hearing words in their primary language, thinking about them, and then translating them to the new language. This is a problem, however. Translation takes time. When kids learn languages, they learn each language independently of the other.
For instance, I know the word “ball” in Spanish is “pelota.” Well, for me to remember that, my thought process works like that: I see a ball, I think to myself “That’s a ball, what’s the word in Spanish for “ball,” and then go through the back pages of my mind until I find the word “pelota.” Someone who learns a second language skips the entire translation step and just naturally knows that when they see a “ball,” it’s a “pelota.”
Anyways, I remember what learning another language was like when I tried later in life. It was horrible, we learned things slowly, they didn’t stick at all, and outside of class I never, ever, had the opportunity to use what I had learned. It wasn’t until the company I work for now paid for training for us technicians to become bi-lingual that any of it stuck. That’s why I’m thinking about trying something different. In addition to teaching the kids Spanish, I’m going to immerse them in the language. Not only in class, but around the house.
I noticed the Dish Network has a satellite package called “Dish Latino.” This package has tons of channels that are both translated into Spanish as well as Spanish in origin. Why am I interested in this service? Looking at this service and what’s available as far as family friendly programming, it seems that watching certain shows and talking about them with the kids about them is a great way to help them retain everything that they learn.
I remember how hard it was for me to retain this information and let’s face it, our nation is becoming a nation in which it is very useful to know both English and Spanish. If I can get the kids immersed in the language, then I may save them a ton of headache down the road as well as offer opportunities for them later in life.