In Singapore, learning one’s Mother tongue is as equally as important as learning English as our mother tongue is what keeps us close to our roots and culturally, it has much significance which unites Singaporeans on the basis of diversity. With the progression in terms of education and lifestyle, Singaporeans have somewhat “anglicised” themselves and have forgotten about the importance of teaching children their Mother Tongue from a young age. The main mode of communication between families has become English and children these days prefer to pick up an English novel to read rather than a book written in their mother tongue.
Our Mother Tongue certainly keeps us close to our roots…but unfortunately, young parents have forgotten about the importance of sowing the seeds of their language in the hearts and minds of their young ones.
Source: Becky fine fire sheets
>Why is the Chinese language known to be challenging?
Chinese language, especially, is known to be one of the toughest languages. To begin with, the writing system is difficult for anyone used to Latin alphabet system. The tonal nature of the language makes speaking it very hard as well. Children need to be able to memorise thousands of characters to master their reading and writing skills and moreover, pronunciation has to be brought to perfections because one word can mean different things based on how it’s being pronounced.
This is essentially the reason why parents choose to send their children for Chinese tuition in Singapore because they start to realise the importance of learning the language much later and also realise the detriments of not educating the language for their child from a young age.
SELECTING A TUTOR
What are the challenges of finding the right tutor?
>Will the tutor accommodate my child’s needs?
>Will the tutor be patient in dealing with students?
>Is the tutor an expert in what he or she does?
>Will the lessons be enjoyable?
>How long will it take for my child to make progress?
These are natural confusions that parents might have about their child’s tuition teacher and there are so many factors to consider when choosing the right tutor.
So, here are some handy tips that can be followed to choose the best Chinese tutor…
TIP NO.1: LEARNING NEEDS
You would be able to gauge how well your child is and according to that, you need to choose a tutor. If your child is weak in both communication skills and in writing, he or she certainly needs an experienced tutor who knows how to handle students who have a long ride to embark on in order to progress and perform well.
The tutor should be up-to-date on recent news, new trends, songs, movies, and so on, so as to relate with students and that way lessons will be much more enjoyable as well!
TIP NO.2: AN ACCENT
The downfall of having an accent is the problem of understanding that comes with it. If tutors tend to have an accent, even if they try to avoid it, it will transcend into their communication maybe even unknowingly. This may be problematic because, for children who are learning the basics in Chinese tuition, they need to be able to understand instructions and what is being taught to them clearly.
Learning Mandarin Chinese with a tutor who doesn’t have an accent will prevent your child from picking up a local accent, and it will help with mastering the correct pronunciation of words.
TIP NO.3: SPOTTING WEAKNESSES
Every student has specific areas of weaknesses and a good Mandarin tutor is needed to spot the error to guide them through.
For example: Many Chinese learners have trouble pronouncing the consonants “zh” properly, so they tend to mispronounce words like “只 (zhī),” “着 (zhe),” and “中 (zhōng).”
A good tutor will be able to teach students how to differentiate the sounds and they will train their students till perfection is achieved. When teaching a young Chinese learner, a good tutor should incorporate games, songs, and interactive activities as well so that at no point during the lessen the students feels insecure or unequipped.
A tutor should encourage students to be vulnerable and bold enough to not fear to make mistakes; as the saying goes, “An expert was once a beginner.”.
There is certainly no need to fear! There are online options and tuition agencies that are present to scout the best tutor for your child; the one who would be equipped enough to guide your child to succeed in getting an ‘A’ grade. All you have to do as a parent is to commit yourself to assessing your child’s needs and understanding what kind of tutor is required to provide the best assistance!