Sunday, February 26, 2017

Weekly Favorites 2/26

Hi everyone. Not a long list of articles this week but hope you'll find something interesting.

I've recently come across a podcast called The One Thing, which is actually based on the book of the same name. I haven't had a chance to read the book yet, but this podcast is awesome. By teaching you how to focus on ONE THING, it helps you boost your productivity. I used to have a big problem with number one of the six myths (namely, "Everything matters equally") in this article  Do You Believe These 6 Productivity Myths? , but now I'm learning how to prioritize better. I feel like I've done more meaningful things lately than a few months ago and been heading to the right direction. I can't wait to read the book as well.

I'm peronally not too interested in VR, but if VR helps learning a language in a more natural way, I can see a huge potential: Mondly’s VR language-learning app is the closest thing to actual immersion

One of the issues many bi- or multi-cultural parents face would be what to name their children. Should we select a name that's more common in the community language? Or should we honor the minority culture side? Many of the people I know select each for first and middle names but there still remains a question which one you'd want to use everyday. Although this article After being James, Peter and William, I decided to stick with my Chinese name is not about multi-cultural families, I still found it interesting.

If you liked these stories don't forget to follow me on FacebookTwitter, PinterestFlipboard to get notified as soon as I share them. Have a great week!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Weekly Favorites 2/12

Hi everyone. I've started a teacher training program at a local minority language school so I have been reading and thinking a lot about how to become a good teacher. Even though this is only a once a week school, I'd like to offer my best to keep the students' heritage language. Here are a couple of articles that got my attention: 

In Teachers can use drama to bring writing to life for children I was sad to learn that a lot of children don't enjoy writing anymore because so much emphasis is put on grammar, punctuation and spelling. I think this might become an issue even more when students have to write in their weaker language. It was a good reminder for me to put an emphasis back on the content when I give writing assignments.  

In a similar vein, My Kids Are Straight-A Students And They Know Nothing  tells how context is important for actual learning to happen.

This article Should we share learning objectives with pupils?  actually surprised me because my training manual stated that sharing today's learning objective at the beginning of the class is important, and I thought that would definitely be true. It seems that in some occasions, having the students figure out what they are learning is a useful technique to implement in a lesson. I still have so much to learn!

My son started to learn about continents at his school so I thought this activity will complement what he's learning at school:
7 continents of the world: matching activity for preschoolers/kindergarteners

And speaking of preschoolers, this explains why my son became more sociable, confident young boy since he started his school: Preschoolers' Personality Traits May Be 'Contagious' Among Peers 

I've also been sorting out our personal finance situation. Here are a couple of articles and a podcast episode that helped me:

Since I hit that (dreadful) number 40 last year, I feel like I have to intentionally watch my health or I won't feel good. So regular exercise has become my priority: This Is the Type of Workout You Should Be Doing, According to Your Age

But the other day, I think I overdid my exercise and felt really sick with some pain after my workout. It only lasted about 20 minutes but I wanted to know why. You know, exercise is supposed make you feel good! Here's what I found out: Here's What You Need To Know About Feeling Nauseated After Your Workout 

Japanese Language
I was pretty skeptical of those translating apps but this one seems practical enough and promising. I think even my husband can get around Japan with this app. Next time we are able to visit we'll definitely give this app a try. Some of the translations are pretty funny though.
Just how good is Google Word Lens at deciphering Japanese?

If you liked these stories don't forget to follow me on FacebookTwitter, PinterestFlipboard to get notified as soon as I share them. Have a great week!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

On Bilingualism

Now that I have set my routine and secure some time for more or less regular blogging thanks in part to bullet journaling, I can finally write about something that is dear to my heart: raising a bilingual/multilingual child. I have wanted to write about this topic for a long time, but just couldn't get around to do it for various reasons.

I have always been interested in the process of learning/speaking different languages. I even study the subject for my postgraduate degree. I LOVE reading and talking about anything linguistics (my husband can tell you how many hours I have bored him with this linguistic stuff, haha).

So I had known a thing or two about how to raise a bilingual child even before I had my son . I knew there would be some issues ahead of us but in theory it seemed straightforward enough. I speak the minority language to my son. My husband speaks the community language (English) to him. We could do this.

Of course, just like any other parenting matters, the things that seem straightforward in theory often turn out to be anything but, and raising a bilingual child was no exception for me. I'd like to write about the issues I had faced in the past in a separate post but suffice it to say I'm terrible at this. My 4-year-old son's minority language skill is, I have to say, not as good as his friends of the same age (his English is perfectly fine). But I haven't given up.  Thankfully, where we live now has a Saturday school that teaches in my son's minority language and has been a tremendous help in the past year. And this year I'd like to make more conscious efforts to teach him his minority language. Then I thought one of the ways to make it more conscious is to write about our journey. I have always wanted to write about bilingualism so why not just go ahead and write about it, right?

As a start, here are my 3 personal reasons why I have chosen to raise my son in 2 languages (hopefully more) that can keep me personally accountable to my family's language goals (this prompt was given by Bilingual Avenue podcast episode 152).

  1. To be able to experience his other culture directly without relying on translations: I believe that speaking the language helps people understand the culture at a deeper level, and I want my son to experience this.
  2. To be able to better communicate with his family members: actually my own parents speak good English so probably this is not a strong enough motivation for us but still I think it's better if my son could speak his minority language fluently.
  3. To know that there is a bigger and exciting world out there: even if my son didn't end up speaking his minority language fluently, I think it's valuable for him to learn that people speak different languages and none of them is better or worse than another. 
I think we're in a pretty good position regarding 3. My son tells me excitingly who speaks what language at his school and seems proud that he could "speak" English, Japanese and Spanish :)

What are your 3 reasons? If you're raising a multilingual child or planning to, please let me know in the comment section.