Return PolishForums LIVE
  PolishForums Archive :
Archives - 2005-2009 / UK, Ireland  % width 96

Friend told "just allow your son to forget Polish" by school.


Kapusta 2 | 66  
25 Jun 2009 /  #1
I am a little bit disturbed by something a friend was told by her sons school in the UK. She was advised to let him forget the Polish he knows, learn English and then relearn Polish when he is a bit older, like 10! He's 5 now.

His English is very good but his Polish does falter, he's been here for a couple of years now. His parents have good English and will talk to him in English at home to encourage him. I just think it's wrong for a school to tell his parents that he should forget Polish and relearn it later. They visit Poland often throughout the year for long weekends or holidays and some of the people back home speak no English meaning he wouldn't be able to communicate with his own grandparents if he forgot Polish.

My advice to my friend was to continue with his learning Polish and English. The school couldn't give a good reason for the advice of forgetting Polish.

Does anyone have any opinion on this? Like why the school might give this advice.
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
25 Jun 2009 /  #2
Like why the school might give this advice.

There are ignorant ppl running UK infant/junior schools who are worried about only ONE thing and that is LEAGUE tables.
My advice would be for your friend to ignore this nonsense completely.
In fact she could make an appointment with the head to ask what on earth this teacher is thinking of. His first language is of paramount importance.
Cardno85 31 | 976  
25 Jun 2009 /  #3
I remember reading somewhere that the best thing to do is to encourage the child to speak english at school and with friends, but only speak to him in Polish in the house and with family.

Supposedly if you speak a second language to your child they are likely to pick up on any mistakes you make. So it is better to speak your first language with the child.
Torq  
25 Jun 2009 /  #4
Like why the school might give this advice.

Maybe they felt that his progress in English may be slower if he learns
both English and Polish at the same time? It is possible but there are many
cases of bilingual kids having the same level of fluency in two languages.

If your friends are going to stay in UK permanently and their son is having trouble
learning both Polish and English at the same time then it's probably better for the
kid to concentrate on English.
mephias 11 | 304  
25 Jun 2009 /  #5
I think it's a silly suggestion, As far as I know it's easier to learn a language in early ages but there may be a logical explanation.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,386  
25 Jun 2009 /  #6
Does anyone have any opinion on this?

I'd ignore it. But it really depends on the child's ability to learn. the only people who matter in the equation are the parents and child.
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
25 Jun 2009 /  #7
There are ignorant ppl running UK infant/junior schools who are worried about only ONE thing and that is LEAGUE tables.

Actually they are struggling like mad trying to teach kids English, when in fact kids should already speak English before they start school, after all they do live in England, if people want to live here then they should learn English! If I had my way, schools wouldn't admit children who are not fluent in English.

Schools have a right to want to be the best and league tables show this, how many people just move house in order to secure places at schools which are doing well? Who wants to send their child to a school thats shows poor results in English and maths? I certainly dont!
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
25 Jun 2009 /  #8
if people want to live here then they should learn English

yes of course......

league tables show this

League tables have done untold damage to primary education, in my opinion..:)
Lir  
25 Jun 2009 /  #9
Ok, well I was brought up to be bilingual. I was born and raised in UK with both parents being Polish .

We all spoke Polish at home all the time. I learnt English at School. I went to Polish Saturday school for Polish lessons.

It should work alright so long as the parents speak Polish at home. If they don't then the child <in my opinion> will struggle to maintain the Polish language. In that case, he would be better to study it again when he gets older.

If his parents can speak Polish to him at home most of the time, and he can attend a Saturday School <to learn reading and writing in Polish> then he should be fine with both languages.

Just depends what the parents want to do really. Because my parents never spoke to me in English, I never developed their accents, as your parents will have an accent obviously<when they speak English> if they come from Poland in the first place.

:)

when in fact kids should already speak English before they start school,

I didn't know one word of English when I started school . Children soon pick it up so long as they are not in a classroom full of Polish children!

:)
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444  
25 Jun 2009 /  #10
The teacher has absolutely no right to suggest that to the parents. She/he seems to be an ignorant about how children learn languages. They are like sponges and there is no way one language interferes with learning another. I have never heard such rubbish before.
lexi 1 | 176  
25 Jun 2009 /  #11
Supposedly if you speak a second language to your child they are likely to pick up on any mistakes you make. So it is better to speak your first language with the child.

Absolutely I agree with this. It is the same if a child has bilingual parents they must always speak their native language to them. ie if the father is spanish he should speak spanish and if the mother is english she should speak english to the child, that way the child learns each distinctive language properly.

I do not want to sound condecending but this is really best for child.
Mister H 11 | 761  
25 Jun 2009 /  #12
My advice to my friend was to continue with his learning Polish and English. The school couldn't give a good reason for the advice of forgetting Polish.

I think it depends on how quickly the child is at learning. He's only five, poor lad, so he shouldn't have too much pressure at such a young age.

I'm all for someone in his situation being kept in touch with his roots and all that, but his parents decided to bring him to another country, so they must have thought something like this would happen ?

His English skills has to be given priority at the moment (in my opinion), so he doesn't fall behind his classmates and end up feeling left out at school.

I can appreciate it's a difficult balancing act.

They visit Poland often throughout the year for long weekends or holidays and some of the people back home speak no English meaning he wouldn't be able to communicate with his own grandparents if he forgot Polish.

There are pros and cons of emigrating and something like this is on the 'con' side.

Surely these parents you speak of are not surprised that this is happening ?
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444  
25 Jun 2009 /  #13
Supposedly if you speak a second language to your child they are likely to pick up on any mistakes you make.

not true. Children learn not only from their parents but also from TV, school, peers and so on. They will have more exposure to English then they will have to Polish, so I a think that the teacher is being unreasonable.

Unless the child has some problems with learning English, in that case it needs to be looked at closely.
If that is the case, there can be many factors contributing to that and it is NOT him/her speaking Polish. LOL
I learn something new on PF everyday:)))))
Mister H 11 | 761  
25 Jun 2009 /  #14
It is the same if a child has bilingual parents they must always speak their native language to them. ie if the father is spanish he should speak spanish and if the mother is english she should speak english to the child, that way the child learns each distinctive language properly.

Sorry, but I don't agree with this.

The parents should be learning English along with the child, so they're all speaking it to a such a level that it eventually becomes their first language.
lexi 1 | 176  
25 Jun 2009 /  #15
There are pros and cons of emigrating and something like this is on the 'con' side.

No on the contrary Mr H this is a pro side. Children, unlike adults can become fluent in 6 months, without any accent. This is the best time for a child to learn a language when they are young, there is such a hugh incentive to learn, this is really the best time,

In england unfortunately, we do not expose our children to any serious language at an early age, and then expect them to learn it all in a couple of years, unless one pays for private tuition of course.

Children need to start a foreign language in nursery school, that is why the british are so crap at languages.
Mister H 11 | 761  
25 Jun 2009 /  #16
In england unfortunately, we do not expose our children to any serious language at an early age, and then expect them to learn it all in a couple of years, unless one pays for private tuition of course.

Children need to start a foreign language in nursery school, that is why the british are so crap at languages

I do agree with you on that point and don't think that this kid shouldn't be learning Polish, just that the emphasis should be on English as that will, ultimately, be his first language.

If he can manage both in tandem, then fine, but he seems he is having a few problems.

If he is struggling with his Polish, then they should but the brakes on that for a bit and come back to it later. I would be saying the same the other way around if he was being brought up in Poland by English parents.
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
25 Jun 2009 /  #17
on the contrary Mr H this is a pro side.

that's right, the kid has a chance to be truly bilingual which can only be an asset in their future.

Children need to start a foreign language in nursery school, that is why the british are so crap at languages.

yes, but it needs to be taught properly...for example my own children have been "learning French" since Year 2 off and on (goodness knows why French....?) and don't know any word of it, since each lesson just repeats the last one...numbers to 10, colours. A lost opportunity.....
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444  
25 Jun 2009 /  #18
yes, but it needs to be taught properly...for example my own children have been "learning French" since Year 2 off and on (goodness knows why French....?) and don't know any word of it, since each lesson just repeats the last one...numbers to 10, colours. A lost opportunity.....

teach them yourself and learn with them :)

I am an optimist:)
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
25 Jun 2009 /  #19
teach them yourself and learn with them :)

oh yes, they can swear very well in Polish..:)
lexi 1 | 176  
25 Jun 2009 /  #20
I do agree with you on that point and don't think that this kid shouldn't be learning Polish, just that the emphasis should be on English as that will, ultimately, be his first language.

Mr H the emphasis should not be on english, he will pick this up naturally. Maybe the parents are expecting too much of the child. The school does not sound good when they are saying the things that they say. Maybe the school is in some inner-city somewhere.

Children pick up languages naturally, and they don't carry the stress that adult do.
Switezianka - | 463  
25 Jun 2009 /  #21
Maybe they felt that his progress in English may be slower if he learns
both English and Polish at the same time?

Teachers at school in a multi-ethnic country shouldn't be that ignorant.

If your friends are going to stay in UK permanently and their son is having trouble
learning both Polish and English at the same time then it's probably better for the
kid to concentrate on English.

The process of learning languages are different in children. Adults and older children have to put some effort into learning languages, so learning 2 languages intensely can be too much for them. In case of a kid at the age of five, this is a natural, effortless process. The child just picks up the language. Making a kid pick up 2 or 3 languages simultaneously may seem straining but in fact it is not. Later, the brain loses the ability of that kind of learning (called language acquisition), and learning languages becomes something hard and time-consuming.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,444  
25 Jun 2009 /  #22
oh yes, they can swear very well in Polish..:)

I had French in mind LOL

Mr H the emphasis should not be on english, he will pick this up naturally.

agree 100%
mbiernat 3 | 107  
25 Jun 2009 /  #23
There is no downside to learning more than one language when you are young. None. Languages make your brain elastic, look at all the Nobel prize winners that are bilingual.

poland-claritaslux/blog/category/being-bilingual/ Mark
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
25 Jun 2009 /  #24
Maybe the school is in some inner-city somewhere.

inner city schools would not be saying stuff like this to polish parents, that is for sure.
ShelleyS 14 | 2,893  
25 Jun 2009 /  #25
I didn't know one word of English when I started school . Children soon pick it up so long as they are not in a classroom full of Polish children!

Some do and funnily enough it would seem Polish kids do the best, I was recently having a conversation with a woman who works at a school which has predominently african and asian children and they cant speak either English or Arabic or whatever asian language and struggle terribly, but she has a friend at a catholic school and aparently Polish children are pretty much fluent within a matter of months.

League tables have done untold damage to primary education, in my opinion..:)

You still cant get away from the fact that schools that do better attract better pupils and schools that are failing miserably attract those who are the bottom of the pile. Resources being spent on interpreters is an obvious drain on a schools budget and there must be some price to pay for kids that are native speakers.

Teachers at school in a multi-ethnic country shouldn't be that ignorant.

Of course we should cater for everyone that wants to come and live shouldnt we? We should spend more unnecessary tax payers money on teaching people the language of their host country? Silly me!
OP Kapusta 2 | 66  
25 Jun 2009 /  #26
There are ignorant ppl running UK infant/junior schools

This crossed my mind.

My advice would be for your friend to ignore this nonsense completely.
In fact she could make an appointment with the head to ask what on earth this teacher is thinking of. His first language is of paramount importance.

I would ignore it and I think my friend will too, well I know she will or else her son loses contact with his family back in Poland.

I've already told her to go higher with this to the head teacher or above so I hope she will. I'll push her.

The parents should be learning English along with the child, so they're all speaking it to a such a level that it eventually becomes their first language.

All their English is very good. They have no troubles when out with English speaking friends, nothing is missed. None of them need to learn English.

I'm all for someone in his situation being kept in touch with his roots and all that, but his parents decided to bring him to another country, so they must have thought something like this would happen ?

They are surprised that this happened, I am surprised that this happened. I have never before heard of a school tell a parent to forget his native language. I suppose it happens if the child has a mental or physical disability and it's too much to live with both languages at the same time but for a boy who speak English very well, who writes English well to be told this I am genuinely surprised.

after all they do live in England, if people want to live here then they should learn English! If I had my way, schools wouldn't admit children who are not fluent in English.

Well, actually they are not living in England. They don't need to learn it, they already know it and very well.

that's right, the kid has a chance to be truly bilingual which can only be an asset in their future.

I completely agree with that. Being bilingual is only an advantage.

Teachers at school in a multi-ethnic country shouldn't be that ignorant.

Absolutely. I agree with this.

Actually, my point is, if is English is very good, which it is, then why are they advising that he stop his Polish?
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
25 Jun 2009 /  #27
aparently Polish children are pretty much fluent within a matter of months.

yes, Polish kids are smart, certainly.
lexi 1 | 176  
25 Jun 2009 /  #28
inner city schools would not be saying stuff like this to polish parents, that is for sure.

I know that they should not, but sometimes they are staffed by unqualified teachers because noone wants to work there. Sad but true.
niejestemcapita 2 | 561  
25 Jun 2009 /  #29
unqualified teac

you're right, there may be underqualified teaching assistants, possibley giving out nonsense suggestions. However I really don't think unqualified teachers are employed....anywhere.
Mister H 11 | 761  
25 Jun 2009 /  #30
Mr H the emphasis should not be on english, he will pick this up naturally. Maybe the parents are expecting too much of the child. The school does not sound good when they are saying the things that they say. Maybe the school is in some inner-city somewhere.

Children pick up languages naturally, and they don't carry the stress that adult do.

You seem to be getting the impression that I'm saying he shoudn't be taught Polish at all and I'm not saying that.

All I am saying is that if the child is struggling, which you seem to be saying he is, then they should concentrate on his English.

The English he is learning is not something to be "picked up naturally" as you put it as though it's happen through some kind of osmosis, he needs to be taught it both at school and at home.

I agree that the parents are expecting a bit too much and it probably is some inner-city school where about 50 odd different languages are spoken and the teachers have to try and do their best by everybody.

Do you think that Polish parents are the only foreign parents that this teacher has to consider and try to accomodate ?

What do these parents want ? Everyone else to learn Polish so that they and their children can be understood properly, because they're finding managing both languages a struggle ?

Archives - 2005-2009 / UK, Ireland / Friend told "just allow your son to forget Polish" by school.Archived