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How to Teach Children Chinese: Listening and Speaking

Chinese people living abroad all consider Chinese as their mother tongue. Teaching their children Chinese is a top priority for their education to ensure that their children never forget Chinese culture. Sinobus is an online education platform for advanced 4-16 year old overseas Chinese children, providing 1-on-1 guidance to improve their listening, speaking, reading, and writing abilities and to cultivate their Chinese cultural knowledge.

Use language that children can easily understand

We believe that to achieve language acquisition, it is necessary to ensure that the language input is understandable. You must communicate with your child in language that they can comprehend. If you only use news jargon or classical Chinese with your child, they will have difficulty understanding.

Therefore, when communicating with children, it is important to use high-frequency words and avoid using frequent words that are too formal or rarely heard.

Encourage children to express themselves with complete sentences

As listening and speaking require both input and output, we hope that children's output will be understood by all. Therefore, we encourage children to use complete sentences as much as possible to express themselves.

Avoid mixing Chinese and English when communicating with children

Although children will transfer languages after going to school, we must instill a habit in them when they are young: when they can speak Chinese, we hope they will only use Chinese to express what they want to say. If they use English, they should try to express the sentence completely in English, without mixing Chinese and English. Because in this way, neither language can be expressed completely.

Inspire children's interest in Chinese language classes

We must instill in children's minds early on that Chinese culture is interesting and take them to appreciate the rich and beautiful Chinese culture and language. Once children have resistance, it is difficult to remedy the situation. To make them interested in learning Chinese, we must start from a young age and make them feel that Chinese is interesting and easy to learn. We can also use audio-visual materials such as cartoons and storytelling machines that expose children to the Chinese language and make it fun. For example, we can show them the Chinese version of Peppa Pig. Watching cartoons is also a way of learning. Activate their interest in this area for a little bit every day, such as half an hour, which can also help maintain their interest.

Specific methods for different ages

  • Ages 0-3: Encourage children to practice from vocabulary to phrases, and then from phrases to sentences. Parents can achieve language development and improvement by repeating some things or asking them to describe something.

  • Children over 3 years old: Parents can ask children for their opinions, such as why and how things happen.

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