This story is not mine.
It was translated from a FB post in Hebrew.
Written by a mother I have never met, it made me cry.
“Sixty seconds about learning English in Israel, and at the end, a warm recommendation for something I had been looking for for a long time in Israel: a fun and effective way to expose the kids to English. Especially grammar.
I don’t know how it is with you, but these were my initial circumstances:
* Children who are exposed to English at home from age zero, though not as a mother tongue.
* Children who are super-fast at language absorption. (The older one, for example, began speaking in complete sentences two years before his peers did, and he started to read at a really early age, too.) Seems like they would have had the best advantages for language acquisition.
When my son started school, he had three years of learning English in the Tel Aviv system, which is watching films and music in English, sometimes downloading cute apps in English. No reading, no tests, no grading – a lot of fun for children. Some of the teachers were well loved. But language learning? We could not really know.
Another factor was my lack of involvement in my son’s progress, letting him find his own way. It would work out on its own, I told myself.
By the fourth grade, I realized that there had been no real learning, except for a little growing vocabulary (acquired mostly from computer games). I’ve noticed that he learns language through reading rather than hearing, a dramatic difference in learning style that conflicts with the system’s desired learning methods.
In the fifth grade – bang.
We moved to a new place where English was taught the traditional way: copying from the board, reading aloud and analyzing texts, advanced syntax and more. For the first time, we realized that the boy had not really studied English in years. For the first time in his life, this boy, who learns everything quickly, before everyone else, came home frustrated and shocked. He just did not understand anything in his English lessons. And then the worst happened (for me) – he developed an anti-English resentment, anger, and despair.
So, of course, it became a complex family project, which included a lot of quality time with the parents (in English). After a month and a half, the child made a leap of about a million steps and started coming home happy from English lessons. When he got a test in English, he was challenged. He went happy and returned happy. Now he looks forward to these tests because they help him place his progress in a language that he understands – a quantitative and defined language.
I am telling you this to give you another important angle to the educational concepts of the New Age in Israel, which are not always applied in a way that benefits the children – and even when they are, certainly not for all of them. Also, to share my pride for my amazing and powerful child, who has learned not to run from difficulties.
I also want to tell you about one really cool and amazing tool we’ve found almost by accident, and it’s highly recommended!
In the attached picture, there are several different games shown, each coming in their own box (quartets, memory games, and more). In my opinion, they really help things click into place.
I came across them in a wonderful store at a local teacher’s college (Oranim) where English teachers grab these games as soon as they hit the shelves . . . I think they can be ordered from the website.