The kids won’t answer me in English!


Maria Jose just wrote in to ask:

Although I only speak English to the children and I try all kind of challenges to make them answer in English it’s really hard, and this sometimes is really frustrating. How can I get them to try harder?? Thanks a lot in advance!

Well, you don’t have to get them to try harder, Β you just have to be stricter! πŸ™‚

So we use what we call “selective deafness.”

If they say something in their local language that they know how to say in English, quite magically you lose the ability to hear it!

You just say to them “sorry, what was that, I didn’t quite hear you!”

Play it up and make it fun and they’ll soon catch on!

Zero Tolerance

As with all theΒ discipline techniquesΒ Β the key is zero tolerance, when the rule is set, it’s set.

Once the kids know you are serious they’ll start respected the new rule.

And of course if it’s anything they don’t yet know how to say in English, then of course do listen to them in that case.

(And make a mental note to add that particular phrase to your curriculum.)

Ninja Tip: Β This also works if you are bringing your own kids up to beΒ bilingual. Β  The difference between families who uphold this rule and thoseΒ that don’t is astounding!

How much English should you speak?

Plus of course don’t only speak in English to them, Β make sure you use the right amount at the right time!

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

4 Responses to “The kids won’t answer me in English!”

  1. Kamila

    Richard is right!
    I did that few days ago unconconsiously and the kids really switched into english
    I was amazed though I wasnt sure about it

  2. Margit

    “This also works if you are bringing your own kids up to be bilingual. The difference between families who uphold this rule and those that don’t is astounding!”

    Sorry~ I belong to the ones that don’t. But I think there are many many other components involved when it comes to this point. So I would not mix this topic into teaching a language.

    Don’t go into depth here, as it would make a little book.

  3. Mhari Sak

    I completely agree with you Margit, but as you say it’s a completely different can of worms!

    I’m thinking of zero tolerance with my 4th graders. Does anyone have any ideas for suitable forfeits for speaking in their mother tongue?

  4. Elvira

    It really takes time for them! I simply evaluate the results from time to time making a revision of how much they were able to speak in the beginning and what they manage to do now. It’s so cute to watch! Especially here, where practically nobody speaks in English! I don’t press them, only slightly pushing sometimes, knowing they’ll make English their good friend!

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