Friday, 31 May 2019

Gift of Language

I wrote this for the Mother Tongues Ireland in May 2019.

Raising multilingual children has always been a mission to me, I have gone too deep to give up.
After my second child was born, I gave up my job to give the gift of language to my children, posh Mandarin Chinese that is spoken in Taiwan.  😊  Despite challenges, with the great support of my “quiet” partner, my children are not only talking to me still, but we can discuss news in Mandarin.
Although bilingualism may come easily when children are young, as soon as they start to attend the mainstream schools, English, the lingua franca dominates their heritage languages.  It is imperative however, to maintain the reflex of using mother tongue with your children regardless what language they respond back.  At least, the listening skill is contained and there is a slight chance of passing the mother tongue to the third generation.  My children and I have this mutual reflex that we must force our brains to speak English to each other when we had to, and it didn’t feel natural.
Everyone is aware of the benefits of multilingualism.  The young generation’s second or third languages in European countries are far better than their peers herein Ireland where they spent the same amount of time studying a language. It is not only the lack of motivation, but also lack of environment.  There are significantly more learning prospects in English than other languages in the media.  Parents need to create the opportunities.
A few tips for parents based on my own experience.  I meet up with friends who speak Mandarin to their children regularly.  I read stories to them in Mandarin up to they were ten.  I encourage them to read and study the same.  I listen to Chinese songs with them.  I volunteer in their school to promote Chinese culture and language annually.  I spent time watching silly cartoons or movies in Mandarin with my teens.  I take every car journey as an opportunity to discuss current affairs.  I do not care if I embarrass them in front of their peers.  I text them in Chinese words and pinyin too sometimes.  I take them home to Taiwan as much as I can afford.  I felt that I have invested in too deep that there is no turning back.
To finish I have a few words from my husband on his perspective.
“It is fantastic that my children converse with ease and fluency in Mandarin with their mother.  It is the only language they speak with her.  Even now with them in their teens, there is no resistance to conversing in Mandarin, its just a completely natural thing for them to do having always done so.  For the most part it does mean I don’t know what they are talking about, but that can be a good thing sometimes as well”.
Evan Furlong

中文四子棋 zhōng wén sì zǐ qí Chinese Connect 4 #Connect4 #四子棋 #桌遊

四子琪可以這樣玩,學單字。也有其他玩法例如造句。如果是玩個人比賽,就印出來。如果是團體比賽,就用Powerpoint 投影。說對單字或造句就可以拿那個格子,連成四格就贏了,像Connect4的桌遊。我在2014年發明的,到現在還是很受學生的歡迎。

We are very proud to have invented this game - #Connect4 with words back in 2014 and it is still very popular amount students. Who doesn't like a bit of board game during the class?

Dublin School of Mandarin Chinese 都柏林中文小學: 中文四子棋 zhōng wén sì zǐ qí Chinese Connect 4: I am very proud to invent this game and children wants to play it over and over again!! You have to know every word to win!

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Zongzi goodie bag 粽子福袋

We can not believe that today was our last class of the academic year of 2018-19. Children have grown so much and we are delighted with their progress. To celebrate the last class of the term as well as the upcoming festival, we learned about the story and customs of the Dragon Boat Festival, tried to make & cook ZongZi and lastly made a Zong goodie bag. We appreciate the support from parents through out the year and wish you all a great summer. Remember, we are running a summer camp in the middle of Aug and places are still available.
(Photo credit to Anna Yu)

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Summer Mandarin Chinese Immersion Camp is now enrolling!

Summer Mandarin Chinese Immersion Camp is now enrolling! 12th to 16th Aug, 2019 from 10:00-15:00 at NWETSS on Putland Road, Bray.
Each year, we design a brand new theme based Summer Mandarin Immersion Camp to entertain the students and the theme for 2019 is learning all about the 16 indigenous tribes in Taiwan. We would be keeping the old tradition too as pupils love them - activities such X factor, calligraphy, Chinese painting, Chinese culinary art, arts & crafts, outdoor games and soundmapping project. Cost: €150 per week including fruits, snacks, water, lunch and all materials (10% sibling discount).  Click on the picture to sign up.