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The Biggest Secret to Learning English

Viewed 1757 times 2018-9-19 10:41 |Personal category:Education|System category:News

A student just showed me a study entitled,

'The Number One Benefit For Chinese Students in Learning English.'

Not surprisingly, it was language immersion. Of course, most cannot travel abroad and their Chinese English teacher is often teaching English in Chinese; not English.

So, what is a parent to do?

The study said that parents need to find a way to get their child (as young as possible) into an immersive English classroom environment. The study showed that the average time spent in the Chinese language environment for a Chinese child is at least 5,400 waking hours a year. By the time they start to school, that equals to more than 32,000 hours.

The study also showed that the first 3-4 years (more than 20,000 waking hours), the child is primarily learning the common sounds of Chinese (phonics). The study further suggested that phonics learning is an imperative part of the natural process in learning any language.

For the first 3-4 years after a baby is born, they are mainly learning sounds and not actual meanings of words. If the child does not have at least two years of a strong phonics foundation, then, they will struggle with English (or whatever language they are learning) the rest of their academic lives.

If a child gets into an immersive English classroom environment by the time they are 8 years old and attend class for 2 hours a week, then they will have spent about 80 hours in an immersive English environment in their first year (considering time off for holidays and summer vacation).

Each year after that equals to about 80 hours a year in an immersive English environment. In ten years, they will start to high school and they will have spent 800 hours in the immersive English environment. That is equal to 53 (waking) days in that environment.

The study asked, "How can a baby learn a language in less than two months?" The final answer is, 'it isn't possible.'

The solution is, get your child into an immersive English environment as young as possible. Make sure that, in that environment, they aren't being taught things like grammar and words in isolation (lists). Make sure they are hearing proper English pronunciation and learning sounds. This foundation is essential to grammar, spelling and oral fluency. This is the only foundation in which they can build upon that will be successful in their future.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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MichaelM

Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.

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