Thursday, September 4, 2008

Language Development & Movies

I love all the wonderful resources there are for language learning! Since I am not a native speaker, I want my children to be exposed to the "perfect" pronunciation of things. I am always looking for more videos and TV shows that my children can hear that will help them have better pronunciation.

After reading, The Bilingual Edge (which I highly recommend), I learned that books are the most important thing for language development. Some parents want to expose their children to other languages so they buy CD's and movies of languages that the parents cannot speak and the children will probably not speak with any other human being. What children need, according to the book, is a real living, breathing person talking to them in this language to learn the language. It makes sense. Why would we want to speak what we only have heard from a TV screen. Communication and interaction with other people is the key to learning any language, even our first language.

For the past two weeks, we have only watched one hour of movies on Thursdays with my girls. This is the total TV time they have had all week. The rest of the week they talk about it and pretend with their dolls that they are rescuing animals like Diego. I think we could watch a little more, but it has been neat to see them speak more as they play and talk with me than just sit down and watch TV. I do think movies are a wonderful resource for pronunciation and exposure, but it should not be the focus on language learning. The Bilingual Edge suggests talking about the movies, puting it on pause to ask questions and do similar activities after the movie. Sometimes my girls just watch it so I can get some things done, but I have been trying to talk about the movies more to get the most out of them.


We are Little Amigos said...

Hola Tati!

I totally agree with you on this subject. Human interaction is crucial for acquiring one, two, three... languages. That's why I firmly believe that the time to introduce a 2nd language should start at birth, and the 2nd language learning should be a family affair.
That's what I tell the parents of my little students. I tell them upfront not to expect their child to become proficient in the new language just from attending my weekly playgroup. For young kids, the language needs to be spoken in their everyday environment for true acquisition. Monolingual parents can do it!!!! It just takes a little more effort on their part.

Jessica said...

I agree as well.

My family rely on Spanish kid shows and movies because we learn the rhythm of the language, vocabulary and pronunciation. My girls feel a sense of accomplishment when they recognize words and phrases in these shows.

As a monolingual parent teaching her children Spanish, I also believe that personal, real life interaction is key in making the language stick.

It's not easy, but there's so much that monolingual and bilingual parents can do to weave Spanish into their everyday lives.

Tati and Ginny, I enjoy reading your blog and wanted to tell you that there's an award waiting for you at Spanish Lesson Plans for Children.

Tam said...

Tati - Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog and a link to yours! It is so neat to see how you are teaching your kids. I am also a 2nd gen. homeschooler. Your welcome to check out my parents blog, they have a lot more great information!