Saturday, December 29, 2007

Teaching/Learning Foreign Languages

This goes for moving to any new place which requires learning another language, not just Hebrew in Israel.

There's a lot more I want to write about the subject, but I don't have the patience to sit here in this freezing den. Let this suffice for now. I'd like your comments.

On Shabbat I read an article in the Jerusalem Post about the difficulties young English-speaking immigrants have, because they're not taught Hebrew properly.

First of all, I'll quote a friend who make aliyah (moved to Israel) about twenty years ago:

"Anyone who thinks that it's easy to come with with young kids hasn't tried it."

The time, whether a few weeks, months or years, it takes for a kid to learn Hebrew well is Hell for all. But not all the blame should be on the Israeli establishment.

  • Attitude is crucial. When parents stress to kids that they want them to continue native-tongue functioning in the "old language," the child won't work as hard to learn the new one.

  • Put away all the old movies, cartoons, etc and get Hebrew only versions.

  • Even before aliyah, train your children, and yourselves, to memorize: poems, songs, famous speeches. This talent/skill is needed to learn a new language.

  • Attitude: Make it clear to all in the family that language skills are the key to a happy life. Work together to perfect Hebrew.

Anyone can learn a foreign language. You don't have to be a genius. The more languages a child is exposed to at a young age, the easier it will be later to learn additional languages.


Pesky Settler said...

I was just wondering if you heard about 7 girls from the Ulpana in Maale Levona being arrested on Tuesday at the outpost in Beit El.

As of right now, they're still in prison having refused to give their names since one of them was already arrested in the past.

They joined another girl from the school already there for over a month.

Batya said...

I don't know, but I just sent your message to the Shiloh yahoo list.

Batya said...

WIG sent out this:

Pesky Settler said...


Batya said...

Now I'd like to find out what happened at court.

Commenter Abbi said...

I read that article too. I really didn't understand that poor family who moved to Kfar Saba and had a very hard time getting ulpan services. The father acted like their fate was sealed and it was impossible for them to move 3 km away to Ranaana that clearly has much better services for new immigrants. I just thought it was strange- you see your children struggling, so why not just move down the road and get better services?

Batya said...

Also, the tutoring by the soldier could have been group help. And it would have been much more successful if the kids had been together. The Russian and English speakers would have learned more speaking Hebrew between themselves.

Miriam said...

this so true! At least my experience has been that I haven't had problems with Ulpan. (small problems is that I dont always enjoy the subject matter they teach with: someone got killed from a missil or holocaust issues, etc).

I used to get irritated when my daughter tried to speak Hebrew that she learned in her gan (she's 3) at home. Because I didn't understand it.

One day, I had to go to a mesiba (??/) party at the gan and I was so PAINED beyond words at how she was struggling with the Hebrew. Sigh. It still brings me to tears. So now, needless to say, I don't bother her when she tries to speak -practice- Hebrew at home. In fact, with the bit of Hebrew I know I practice with her. We also try to watch some YouTubes in Hebrew but I need to find more interesting ones.

Batya said...

You can ask her to teach you what she has leaned. There are lots of children's dvd's for Chareidi kids in Hebrew, so they're clean. Get some.