“So what did you do in language club today, darling?”
“Nothing” says your child, as you bundle them into the car. And any further attempt to elicit any form of foreign contribution to the conversation is met with a blank stare and … silence.
I have been there myself with my own children. And I apparently did it to my German mother, particularly when I started school.
If this sounds familiar, let me assure you that the SILENT period is a perfectly normal stage in second language learning.
Over the many years that I have been teaching languages to young children in Australia and other parts of the world, I have come across many parents who wonder if they are doing the right thing by introducing their child to a second or third language….or, heaven forbid, maybe even damaging them.
The more they expect to come out of the child’s mouth, the more silent they become.
Language learning at any age can be affected by the child’s temperament and motivation but there are four defined stages of language learning.