Parents have a role in teaching English too. How can you help your middle schooler?

Often, us parents feel confused as to how we can help our children with their English.

Despite language barriers or a lack of knowledge in the curriculum, it can be surprising to know that parents are important factors in their children’s learning with English. How can you help your child?

1. Share your opinions

Often the cause of writer's block in middle schoolers and even highschoolers is a lack of personal opinion. This is detrimental, as many (if not all) Modules of the NSW HSC English syllabus require students to creatively express their own opinions. Part of developing this personal opinion falls on the role of the parents of the students. These opinions can fall anywhere between what is happening on the news, a story that your child is learning about or moral dilemmas (e.g. the Trolley Problem). 

How can sharing your opinions about things help your child's English? By listening to you voicing your opinion clearly and articulately, your child grows to appreciate the importance of clarity in communication. Furthermore, they will see how exciting sharing their own opinions can be, and are more motivated to find their values and hence determine their own opinions. Finally, by being around people that value a variety of perspectives, your child will be able to negotiate in discussions better as they can hold their own points of view!

2. Emphasise the importance of English

Part of the reason why middle schoolers cease finding English interesting is because of the attitudes around them. A child that hears their parents discuss how “English is all nonsense” is going to be less motivated than one who hears from their parents how English can teach us clarity within communication, for example. As English gets more difficult in older grades, it becomes more integral that our children can find more sources of motivation. Why not start one at home? 

3. Lead by example 

Parents are essential wells in which children draw their bank of behaviours from. It comes as no surprise that one of the most effective ways to help your child study English is to model the skills that support English learning. This includes practising varied reading, writing and oral skills within the home environment. Many opportunities exist here, even at home. For example, having a bookshelf that you draw on often, practising a passion project on writing or even a bit of poetry on the side will do wonders for encouraging your child’s enthusiasm in English. 

Overall, it is easy for parents to say that they can not do much in furthering their child’s English skills. However, children are extremely perceptive of their parent’s behaviours, and even small changes such as these can have drastic influences on your child’s English skills down the line. Consider how you can incorporate these elements at home, and watch your child excel!

P.S. Want to find out more about some problems students can have before year 12? Check out our blogs on Year 12 Regrets and School Anxiety!

Year 12 regrets:

School Anxiety:

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