This post is sponsored by Asian Language School
The benefits of bilingualism are tremendous… and when you start learning a language as a child, the benefits do really start to rack up. To start with there are the educational benefits in improving communication skills and cognitive ability. Learning another language is simply good for your brain.
But then there are the other benefits of bilingualism… the ones that you can’t see on a school report. These are the benefits of opening your mind to other cultures… learning tolerance and respect… widening your potential career opportunities… being a conscious traveller.
Second language learning
From my very first foreign language lesson in high school, I was hooked. I studied German and French for a year and then made the decision to try something different, picking up Japanese the following year. I choose Japanese for a challenge… little did I know that it would come to dominate the next decade of my life into University and beyond.
I am passionate about the benefits of bilingualism and somewhat cranky at myself for not continuing my Japanese studies beyond University. When it comes to language, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
I want my kids to develop an appreciation for language and culture to broaden their horizons. If Japanese isn’t the language they end up choosing or if they ultimately decide that second language learning isn’t their cup of tea, that’s their decision to make. As with anything to do with raising kids, I will give them the tools to forge their own path in life… what they do with those tools is totally up to them. Teaching kids another language is just one of those tools.
Japanese for kids
While the idea of an Asian language can seem quite confronting to English speakers – and while I can only speak from the perspective as a student of Japanese – you needn’t be concerned. My experience of Japanese was that it is certainly challenging… but it is a wonderful language to learn.
Living in Australia, learning Japanese for kids simply makes sense, particularly when you consider the job opportunities that learning an Asian language might bring in the future.
Asian Language School review
It was somewhat fortuitous timing when Asian Language School approached me about trialling their language lessons. With an upcoming trip to Japan, I had been trying to teach Olivia some basic Japanese… and not getting very far.
Asian Language School doesn’t just teach Japanese. They also run classes in Chinese and Korean for both children and adults. All of the lessons are run in virtual classrooms via Zoom.
We chose Japanese for obvious reasons.
Our experience with the booking process was seamless.
Once you have chosen your class – there are both private and group lessons available at various levels – and made your payment, you can book into a class that suits your schedule. Lessons are available Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm.
I received an email confirming the booking which included instructions for accessing the class. On the day of the class, I received another email and an SMS as a reminder of the booking.
If you are unsure of what level your child is at or want to check if the classes will suit your situation, you can also book a 30-minute trial lesson which is only $15.
The process for cancelling or rescheduling classes is also very simple and completed online.
To say that Olivia was excited to start her class is an understatement. She was bouncing around all afternoon when I picked her up from school asking constantly when the lesson was starting. I suppose I have done my job to get her excited about learning another language!
The teacher, Yoshiko Sensei, was very prompt for the class. She immediately started using Japanese with Olivia and teaching through conversation. In this first lesson Olivia learnt:
- Greetings used at various times of the day
- Saying thank you and giving thanks at meals
- Counting from 1-10
Yoshiko Sensei used both instruction as well as songs to teach Olivia. She kept her engaged throughout the lesson. I was quite impressed at how quickly Olivia picked up what she was being taught. Yoshiko Sensei was encouraging and patient.
The virtual classroom environment was very easy to follow along with. Once the lesson starts the teacher’s view can be made bigger by dragging the cursor around the box.
Things I would do differently
Olivia loved her Japanese lesson so much and I plan to book her in for a term of lessons to continue her interest. From this first lesson, there are two things I would do differently next time that might help you if your kids are learning Japanese online (or any other language for that matter!)
- I sat Olivia at my desk as it has a larger screen than the laptop… however, I didn’t think about the fact that my office chair is on wheels. Olivia did spend a lot of the lesson rolling about on the chair and sliding back. Next time I will sit her in a chair without wheels so she can concentrate on the lesson.
- Online classes are a brand new concept for Olivia. She sees me in meetings on Zoom all the time, but it’s the first time the Zoom has been for her! It was important that I was next to her in the class to be able to tell you all about how it went, but I think in future I will sit just around the corner out of Olivia’s sight. I was a distraction for her and she tended to look to me instead of Yoshiko Sensei. Without me to turn to I am confident that would change!
If the fact that I have enrolled Olivia in a term of Japanese for kids classes with Asian Language School is anything to go by, we loved it. I’ve also enrolled in classes for myself to brush up before our trip to Japan.
The booking process was simple and professional, the teacher was knowledgeable and patient and our experience was very positive.
I love that Olivia can do the classes from home. In between other sport and music classes I feel a little like a yoyo. With Asian Language School, she can do her classes while I do things around the house or get on with my own work. I had looked into other Japanese for kids classes and this convenience was a clear winner.
We’ll be continuing our journey with Asian Language School… maybe one day she will be passing the love of foreign languages onto her children!
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