Children are sponges – they learn things so quickly!
Working in education, I hear this often. And it’s true that when exposed to the right environment, methods and materials children can learn at an impressive rate.
But it’s simply not the case that children will indiscriminately absorb language, without effort and regardless of the situation they find themselves in.
Yes, children are extraordinarily good at retaining language if they have a lot of exposure to it over a long time (for example those with parents who speak multiple languages in the home setting.) But research shows that learning via limited exposure (for example in the classroom) can be much less effective for language retention if adequate focus is not given to balance the teaching methodologies.
Children tend to learn implicitly – without conscious thought or deliberate effort. But recent studies have proven that children from as young as 8 years old also have explicit learning potential – the ability to learn analytically and with conscious effort.
This fact is often overlooked, with entirely play-based methods and resources limited to games, songs and rhymes often being the mainstay of primary-age language teaching. This is a huge oversight because it has been proven that teaching methods that encourage primary age children to engage in analysis of the target language are incredibly beneficial, and can be very successfully combined with these more playful methods.
I am very proud to say that this is exactly what the VICI Language Academy’s teaching methods are based on, and this approach informs:
The way we train our language teachers
The resources we purchase
The curriculum we use
The curriculum we use
Unfortunately, no matter how much we would like it, we can’t just expect children to soak up languages like sponges willy-nilly! As the old saying goes, you get out what you put in, and in order to give our youngest students the best possible start, we give consideration to (among other things):
Explicit and implicit learning
Analytical and memory skills
This is why drop-in kids language clubs are a great and fun resource for introducing a culture, building confidence, helping with socialisation and so on, but they can’t necessarily guarantee the best results from a learning or retention perspective. And this is also why VICI isn’t a club – it’s an educational investment designed to give your child the gift of a lifelong love of languages.
To talk more about our approach or to find out about what we can offer, just email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01635 813 273 to give your child the best possible start on their linguistic journey.