Rabu, 6 November 2013

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Parenting

Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Parenting

Chinese a hot subject in Spain


In Spain, even toddlers learn Chinese for job hopes.

"XIANG jiao! Banana!" says Fu Huijuan, beaming as she waves the fruit in front of her three-year-old pupil, Leon, at a Madrid nursery school.

He and his four classmates have barely learned to speak even in their native Spanish, but already they are absorbing Mandarin Chinese – as are many adult Spaniards concerned for their job prospects.

"Xiang jiao," Leon replies in a tiny voice, grinning as he is rewarded with a bite of banana and a sticker. "Xie xie. Thank you."

Fu's class – offered free for the first month – is the newest after-hours activity for children at the TEO private nursery, whose parents hope it will pay off later in life.

Numerous schools and language centres in Madrid have started holding such lessons as Spaniards look to China's fast-growing economy for opportunities after five years of on-off recession in Spain.

"Chinese seems to me an essential language in today's world, and the best way to learn it is from an early age. Learning it as an adult seems much more difficult," says Leon's mother, Sara Vergara.

Looking long-term

"It is a long-term strategy, for his job prospects in the future," adds Vergara, a 33-year-old housewife, arriving to pick Leon up from the class. "And I think he is enjoying himself."

Pilar Alvarez, director of TEO, says the nursery launched the after-hours Chinese lessons after seeing that many other schools in Madrid were doing so.

"After the second or third class, the kids start really getting into it," she says. "We are considering introducing it bit by bit for all the children during normal school time."

Regional governments in Spain are also expanding Chinese courses in their subsidised language centres, while some public schools are offering them as an after-school activity.

A programme of free classes jointly funded by the Andalucia government and the Chinese state has seen enrolments nearly double since it started two years ago, to 1,200 for this school year, the regional education ministry says.

It estimates that 30,000 people are currently studying Chinese as a foreign language in Spain. No such figure was available from the national education ministry.

"China is expected to be the leading world power in a few decades," the Andalucia ministry says in a statement. "This is driving a boom in the number of people studying its language and culture."

Madrid's network of official language schools has taught Chinese since the 1960s but demand has surged recently, says Maria Jose Garcia-Patron, head of secondary education and professional training in the regional education ministry.

"Demand for these lessons was stable for 40 years, with about 80 or 90 students enrolled, but over the past 10 years the number has grown markedly and has reached about 300," she told AFP in an e-mail.

The recent crop of students in Chinese seems undeterred by its alien systems of intonation and writing that many see as challenging for Western learners.

"It is a bit hard to write, but I think it is easy to teach children to speak," says Fu. "Children have good memories."

Angela, four years, attending a Chinese lesson at TEO 2 kindergarten in Madrid. - AFP

Angela, four years, attending a Chinese lesson at TEO 2 kindergarten in Madrid. – AFP

Fu, 25, came to Spain six months ago and applied for the teaching job with Bambu Idiomas, a private company that organises classes for schools and individuals of all ages.

"There are lots of opportunities in Spain. Lots of families are looking for Chinese teachers, and now lots of nurseries too," she says.

Set up in 2011, the family-run company had 87 pupils signed up last year. This year, the number surged to 235, says one of its Spanish founders, Ruben Camarero.

"It is an important language for the future," he says. "We decided it was a language that would interest people because Spain is in an enormous economic crisis and China is drawing a lot of interest worldwide."

In the classroom, Fu plays from her laptop the nursery rhyme known in Europe as Frere Jacques, sung in Mandarin in a version well-known to Chinese children.

As she repeats the names of fruit to the five toddlers, correcting their intonation, four-year-old Angela jumps around excitedly, her long brown hair whirling.

"Banana!" she yells. "Xiang jiao!" – AFP

Going the e-book way


Number of kids reading e-books has doubled.

A STUDY revealed that the percentage of children who have read an e-book has almost doubled since 2010 (25% vs. 46%).

A Scholastic research shows 72% of parents are interested in having their child read e-books and from these figures, 80% of kids who read e-books still read books for leisure primarily in print.

The study, Kids' Reading in the Digital Age, was conducted in the United States across 2,090 children and parents, which studied how e-books were affecting reading habits among children.

The study also underlined the importance of parents in helping their children developing an appetite for reading: 65% of parents of six to eight-year-olds read to their children at least weekly with 37% of parents reading with their seven to nine-year-old children. It was discovered that parents who read to their children had a longer lasting impression, as these children will reflect upon the experiences in their adolescent years.

"Reading is more than just acquiring knowledge, it maximises the ability to communicate and the capacity for imagination and creativity. It expands vocabulary, improves grammar, and helps understand the varied experiences of life. The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity; finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read. It is heartening to know that the demand for reading amongst children is gaining prominence regardless of the reading material," added Dr. Duriya Aziz, Vice President, Education International Group, Scholastic Asia.

Themed "Reading Expands Your Knowledge", Scholastic's READ2013 recently worked in partnership with the Ministry of Education's reading programme which saw the participation of over four million students nationwide. Playing its part, Scholastic donated 125,000 books to schools that participated, to add to their reading resources. Through the years, the campaign has worked in collaboration with the Ministry of Education in the shared cause for inculcating the reading habit.

> For more information on READ2013, visit www.readtogether.com.my.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan


The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved