As a parent educating my children in the Japanese school system I was thrilled to attend the `Educating Your Child in a Non-Native Language` seminar at the Tokyo American Club. This seminar organized by Betsy Rogers, an American longtime Japan resident with experience of school systems in the US and Japan and raising her children bilingually, was educational, informative and eye opening.
We`re learning more and more about the benefits of bilingualism; exposure to more than one culture, leads one on a path to global citizenship, opens doors to more employment opportunities and its seemingly protective effect on cognitive decline. The seminar with panelist Marsha Rosenberg, Yoshihiro Odagiri, Patricia O’Keefe, and Betsy Rogers addressed parent concerns, personal stories and resources for raising a bilingual child.
*** Educating Your Child in a Non-Native Language ***
Notes from the seminar:
- If there is a delay in your child`s first language there will be a delay in the 2nd language. They need to be strong in the 1st language in order for the 2nd language to develop well.
- If your child is attending a 2nd language school `is your child happy?` Parents need to be aware of how kids feel. Watch for signs of stress, unwillingness to go to school, stomachaches, etc.
- If your child begins to struggle in reading and writing in their native language give them extra support and tutoring. If they are still struggling take them out of their 2nd language school. They need to be strong in their native language.
- Every child is an individual. What may work for one child may not work for another. Find the right school and the right fit for each child.
- Discuss topics learned at school in your mother tongue (e.g. if your child attends Japanese school review at home using English/your native language. If your child attends international school review at home using Japanese/your native language).
- Use complex, sustained conversations in your native language at home so your child gets that input.
- Provide native and second language speaking opportunities for your kids outside school through playdates, tutoring, calls to your family, trips to your home country, etc.
- If planning on attending Japanese school then transferring to international school your child must test at grade level for reading and writing.
- Being raised bilingual you are twice as likely to get into college overseas. U.S. college admissions will notice an overseas education.
- End Goal is to raise global citizens, to open more doors to employment opportunities, to get out of ones comfort zone, communicate with family, friends and community.
I hope it helps.
P.S. Visit our Educating your Children in the Japanese School System posts
Educating Your Child in a Non-Native Language at the Tokyo American Club