My kids are enrolled in a Mandarin immersion programme at school and I am worried that I won’t be able to help them with their homework. Do you have any tips?
If you don’t know the language, you obviously cannot help them in any language related subjects. But there is no reason why you wouldn’t be able to be involved in their math, sciences, history… and so on. The language in which your child will be learning will be different, but the content is the same, or similar. Two plus two in any language is still four!
But since the language of instruction for many classes will not be your child’s native language, expect that he or she might struggle a little until they are fluent. If they have had a Chinese-speaking nanny from infancy and are already comfortable with the language, then it won’t be too much of an issue. But remember, already fluent or not, commit to having a native speaker tutor for your child. This will provide him or her with the much needed language support outside school.
Kate welcomes your Chinese language and culture questions, so pop them below the line and we’ll get our expert on the case, mama!
Kate Zhou is the founder and director of Yifan Mandarin Ltd, a company offering Mandarin and Cantonese training and Chinese culture consultation services. Yifan’s programmes include the popular ‘Mandarin for Munchkins’, ‘Mandarin for Teens’ and ‘Living Chinese’ classes. Born and educated in Mainland China, Kate is a qualified Mandarin teacher who has worked in China and France, moving to Hong Kong in 1998. She and her French husband have two young children and for their family, Hong Kong is home.