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English As A Second Language


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We have a Thai boy in our pre-school who has been with us since last September. He speaks very little English, usually only one word answers and speaks very quietly. Most of the time he likes to be with an adult. He likes you to read to him, is very good at puzzles and very competent using the computer. At home his parents only speak to him in Thai, though they do know English. His older brother, who came to our setting and could speak English by the time he left us, appears to be the only one to speak English with him at home. When I spoke to his mother about our concerns, she said that she wanted him to retain his ability to speak Thai and wasn't particularly concerned with his present level of English as he would soon learn it once he went to school. Apparently the older brother does not use Thai anymore.

We feel that we should be helping him to learn English, but don't know what to do next. He will be with us for another year. He doesn't usually play with the other children.

 

Anita

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hi - if he was my child I would say his next step would be is to use body and facial expression to communicate and with other in his play - once he begins to make relationships I am sure his language will follow - I have a child similar although he does have knowledge of English he is finding it difficult to use the concept of english language in understanding with other children. We have also had children with no english and they have left pre-school fine - i think it is lovely that mum wants to ensure he keeps his language = I wonder if she can get you some thai books that would be really great.

 

Dot

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Hi - he will be absorbing English in the setting through basic interpersonal communication and that is the development stage he is at - I wouldn't be worrying really. If his development in Thai is normal then he doesn't have a problem. He will use English when he needs to and when he is more confident to. Mum is right to ensure he is fluent in his own language - when he does develop English on top of this he will have the cognitive understanding of how language works and will be fluent by the time he leaves school. It can take more than 7 years to develop fluency in a second language so he is very much at the start and won't do it all in the next year! supporting his home language would be my chosen path of support and continuing with the types of things you are doing already which sound just right! As for the parallel play - many children do that so it's not just because of language. What's his PSED stage of development?

 

Cx

Edited by catma
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I agree with the other replies, he will be absorbing, taking it all in then will proabably blow you away with an incredibly long sentence, I have had a few who have done this. In our setting about 80 - 90% of the children have EAL. We use Makaton with all the children which is very useful until the day they blow you away. SALT recomend one face one language so I agree with the parents only speaking Thai to him. Keep supporting him, if he is at a 'normal' level of development in his own language and you have no other develomental worries then you'll just have to keep inputting and wait patiently for the outcome!!

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I agree with those replies. The advice from our ey advisory team is that it is best for parents to speak to their child in their first language.

I would begin to use some makaton signs and also find out keywords in Thai - it may be a lack of confidence in using a different language and these tools may support him

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There is a very good booklet called 'Supporting children learning english as an additional language' ISBN 00683-2007BKT-EN. Go the the Standards site and do a search. It is early years focussed.

 

It too advises us to encourage families to talk to their children in their first language. Firstly because this values the language and second because they will inevitable speak english with an accent and then the children learn this accent too.

 

Gruffalo2 :o

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Thank you everyone for your advice. It seems that our Thai boy is working through the various stages of acquiring a second language. Thank you Cait for the link, which was very interesting. I'll also look for the book mentioned by Gruffalo 2.

 

Anita

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