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When I first started out at BYU I wasn’t sure what I wanted my major to be. For a while I thought I wanted to teach Spanish in high school (until I found out what the salary for a first year teacher in Utah was-yikes!). I took a couple classes that stressed the importance of teaching your students using only the foreign language in the classroom. This class offered some great tips that I believe apply to bilingualism in the home as well.
This was my take away:
- The key to keeping the class in Spanish lies with the teacher, or in this case the parent. If you break down and use English they will do the same.
- If you are using the method where you will be speaking both languages in the home, pick a couple days a week where Spanish is the only language you speak that day (works especially well with older children)
- If they express something in English that you know they can say in Spanish don’t accept it. Insist that they say it in Spanish as well.
- Consistency! Avoid picking and choosing Spanish days at random. Your children will benefit from regular use of the language. Whether it be 3 days a week, only at dinner, at bedtime, or whenever, just be consistent!
- Full immersion is really the best way to learn a language (however, depending on your home life, it may not always be the most realistic)