Teaching Aishah English: 5 ways!

June 17, 2017

Assalamualaikum w.b.t,
Second entry in the month of Ramadhan and I think I have to respond to some of my friends who have been asking me how do I train Aishah (my 5yo daughter) to speak all English. Don't get me wrong friends, Aishah is not speaking 100% like British, but I can say, she can talk in English. It was not the aim to train her to speak like British or American. To me, as long as she can speak and understand in different language, it's already something good for her. I'm neither training her to be a debate speaker or whatever. I just want her to be like other kids who can speak English. What I did is not big anyway, it was just simple training and practices. Knowing that me also is not that good in English, so what I can do best is to train according to my ability.

1) Familiar her with English since the first day she was born

Since Aishah was first born (Feb, 2012) I already determined to converse in English with her. I spoke English for every important term, and it continues. How did it works? At the time, when I mention English term/word, she already understand. Example, "pillow", "eat", "drink", "milk", "food", "look", "smile", "yes", "no", "hold", "take", "put", "go", "come", "faster", "hurry" and all the daily words we used in our conversation. She couldn't speak just yet at the time, but for the first start, she already understand the words. It has to be continued everyday, don't ever stop. Because practice for perfection needs to be consistent and ongoing. 

2) Train her to speak only English

Yeah, it sounds arrogant, but I did. I asked my husband to only speak English when with her. Because my aim was clear, Aishah has to speak English. Everywhere we go, be it shopping mall, restaurant, field, playground park, visiting friends and relatives, my practice was speaking in English. I don't mind if people heard me speak very "broken English" or it sounds like very Malay English (without British accent)  because my aim was clear, to teach Aishah speak English. Who cares with the accent isn't? When in shopping mall, it's common if you see parents nowadays are speaking English with the kids. Some were in perfect English and some were in very simple English. To me, I see the changes in our parent's society nowadays. Everybody knows that English is important, very essential language for our kids to survive in the future. We lived in the new era which is different with our last times. Our times, kids don't speak English. Today is another era, where every small kids speaking English. So I think Aishah should be in the league too, while her parent is actually capable of training her. 

The latest video where Aishah was mad at "Boss Baby" for being naughty. She said she doesn't like boss baby anymore, she likes her brother. she also mad at "Boss Baby" for eating her ice-cream strawberry. She said she will tell "Boss Baby's brother" too. So dramatic!

 3) Don't be shy when you make grammatical mistake

To mom out there, don't feel shy to speak English with your kids, ignore all the grammatical mistakes, no one going to vet us. Be confident! Ignore those people who looking at you weirdly because you speak English with your kids. You know why? Because they will not be responsible if your kids cannot speak. I used to make grammatical mistake when talking to my kids. Example "Aishah I'll bring you to the dentist". Ofkos it was wrong, I supposed to say "Aishah, I'll take you to the dentist". But I don't care, later I can change as long as she understand that I wanted to take her to see the dentist. 

4) Get your spouse to join you

Actually, the key point is  consistency and full support from the people surrounding. Some of you may already train kids speak English when at home, but when at school, teachers speak bahasa. So when your kids get home, you will be surprised that they are no longer practice English that you have trained them to. Don't blame the teachers. We are not living in English speaking environment. We have to consistently tell them to always practice. Aishah does speak in bahasa too sometimes. Surely lah, as she is Melayu. She has to know her mother tounge. It just when I heard she shows no sense of speaking English, I will remind her especially when she is talking to her brother. The truth is, when your kids know English, they will speak when they think they need to. Don't force, they know the perfect time. Normally, my husband is hard to speak English with Aishah too. I need to remind him many times, "please speak english with her, otherwise my efforts all these while are all vain". Either father or mother, we have to be istiqamah orang kata, consistent all the way, then your kids can survive. Belasah lah kalau salah pun, nak ajar bercakap jer pun, bukan nak ajar masuk debate pun lagi.

5) Sometimes, kids learn themselves through video!

Don't deny when I say kids learn English perfectly from the video they have watched. Don't you notice? I have to agree that Aishah is practicing her pronunciation  from the Youtube video a lot. I heard Aishah say the word "smile" with "smayel". Normally, we say "smail" right? Same thing to "crocodile", Aishah pronounced it as "krokodayel". She learned it  through video. I don't use accent too much with Aishah. It's unnecessary to me. But the point here is, video helps them understand and speak better. Your kids can be a good story teller though! Let them be, but put certain limit as attached with the gadgets for long time may harm their health too. 


Mummy Aishah!

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