How can I make a language plan? What should be in it?
A family language plan can help you consider all your options and further prioritize what you need to have in place in order to achieve the language goals.
You may be on board with the idea of creating a language plan but are wondering what exactly should be in it! If that is the case, don’t worry I have got you covered.
We work on language plans in detail inside the Bilingual Avenue Members’ Club and I can share with you the general framework that we follow so that you too can create your own plan at home.
We start off by getting into the right mindset!
I believe it is critical to set your intentions of what you want to accomplish through the plan. Parents need to identify what is currently working for the language learning process as well as what the setbacks have been so far. This is also an opportunity to dig deep and figure out your reasons for wanting to raise bilingual children as well as the vision that you have for your bilingual family.
Then it is time to dive into the mechanics!
There are so many things to sort out here so it is best to take one step at a time. Reflect on what goals you would like to set for your children. Do you want them to be able to just speak the language or is reading and writing also a requirement? If so, you will want to take a note of it because different goals will take you on different paths and you will be required to plan accordingly.
You will also want to spend some time documenting and reflecting on the language policy that will work best for your family. You can learn more about language policies here. But a language policy is really just the start where the real work comes in will be understanding how family and non-family role players can help to add more need and exposure to the target language. I encourage you to do some thinking around how you can leverage folks around your children’s life to support the goals you have deigned.
From mechanics, I recommend assessing where your kids are at on their language journey.
This will be helpful as you sort out your next steps are. That may feel really daunting so let’s break that down and give you a few tools so you know how tackle this part of the language plan. The first thing you want to do is to reflect on how much exposure your children are in fact getting in the target language. I don’t want you to guess I want you to actually reflect.
In the Members’ Club, we have a language exposure self-assessment where members take an entire week to observe their kiddos and use the self-assessment to document how they are doing in specific categories. Everyone that has gone through it has found it really helpful and many parents have made adjustments to their routines after noticing that some areas they thought they had covered were actually being overlooked! So take a look at your exposure and your need to use the language. Creating a need is always more challenging for parents so be careful not overlook that!
Once you have done some reflecting, move on to assessing where your kids are in their speech and language development. Now a word of caution! Do not let milestones take over your life, these are just meant to be used as a guide. Children are all going to be on a spectrum and these are just meant to be used as a guide. I personally find them helpful so I like to use them just to get a sense of what each stage can bring as my own children get older. If you are looking to get a better sense of what speech and language milestones you may experience on the language journey, click here.
Inside the Members’ Club we also take a look at our children’s language progression and address some of the most common obstacles that bilingual families make. You will know your family best and so I invite you take a look at some of those obstacles and be intentional about how you address each one of them.
Last but most certainly not least…
Make sure that you identify some ways to hold yourself accountable as you execute your plan!
Motivation is a muscle and you have to work at it so what can you do to keep yourself going through the language journey. My question for you is what personal and external accountability can you build into the process so you follow through on the goals you have set for yourself. Spend some time thinking about how you can create some systems so that all the hard work and energy you are investing into the process is not for naught.
I know I just covered a lot of content and that it is a lot to manage at once. If this is something that you are interested in, and I really do believe it’s worth your while, but you need a little bit more help we do have a course inside the Bilingual Avenue Members’ Club that walks you step by step what you need to do to craft the plan. There are daily mini lessons that guide you through each of the steps so that you can walk away with a comprehensive plan that takes things to the next level for your family.
However, you do it, just do it! Draw a line in the sand and get a language started for your family.
HELP US SPREAD THE WORD!
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