The Fun Way to Learn a Language
By Bill Handley
I have always been intrigued by the idea of learning another language. Long before I ever went to school I wanted to be able to speak in a language that none of my friends or family could understand. I saw it as a means of secret communication.
When I discovered that the girls who lived next door learnt French at school I begged them to teach me French. They were only too happy to "play" school in the back yard and give me lessons. They wrote the lessons on a blackboard and gave me written notes although I was too young to read. I retained what they had taught me up until the time I started high school and took my own French classes.
Since I left school I have learnt more at night classes and with home study courses than I ever did at school. I have come to the conclusion that I could have learnt the equivalent of six years' school French in just six months by myself. I would have probably spent less time per day studying the language than I did in high school. Since leaving school I have learnt some 15 or more languages by myself.
Tips for Teaching a Language or Learning At Home
Learning is Worthwhile
Learning a language can broaden your child's outlook and interest in the rest of the world. It can be exciting to read documents in the original rather than a translation.
For me, learning a language is a way to really get to know a people. I enjoy sitting on a bus in a foreign country conversing in their language. I am part of their environment. I am not just an observer. I remember sitting in a streetcar in Poland discussing politics with my fellow travellers and thinking I am getting first hand insight into the way the people think. Sitting at the table with families in East Germany discussing religion and politics are some of my great memories of the country. I think of the times I was invited to picnics and spending time with families while we lived in Europe and I realise that this could never have happened if we didn't speak the language of our host country
Learning someone's language is an act of friendship. It gives you insight into how they think. There is a thrill that comes with your first successful attempt to converse with someone in their language, when you first discover you are thinking in their language.
Bill Handley is an inspirational teacher, educational adviser and published author of children's books including 'Speed Mathematics', 'Speed Maths for Kids: Helping Children Achieve Their Full Potential' and 'Teach Your Children Tables'.