Toddler M is taking German class once a week, as of last Friday. The Frau is not sure if it will be effective or not (is three hours once a week enough to learn a language?), but she had to at least try one session for the sake of her daughter, since she knows first-hand how painful it is to try to learn a language when you’re old.
Toddler M’s summer German class is held in a park near a beautiful brick building with a clock tower. If the setting didn’t come complete with parking spaces the size of some small European countries, it could almost pass as Swiss.
Anyway, The Frau sat in on the first 20 minutes of the class because Toddler M didn’t want her to leave. While the teacher spoke German most of the time, she would still switch to English to discipline or tell the children to be quiet when someone else was speaking.
The Frau found all of this English unnecessary, but maybe this is because she is used to the real-deal-throw-your-daughter-into-a-Swiss-German-world-at-six-months-old-and wish-her-the-best-while-you-go-to-work method. And she has to say, this method works.
Because after class, the teacher reported that Toddler M knew a lot of German already and had a lot of potential. It was good to hear that her first three years in Switzerland had some impact and also that the YouTube videos in German that The Frau makes her watch are most likely helping too.
But in general, The Frau still wonders: How does an average American child learn a foreign language? The answer: They don’t.
American culture still seems to believe that learning a second language is either for poor immigrants in an ESL program or a luxurious pastime for rich kids. Language learning is not a serious undertaking supported by American tax dollars nor are there many programs for complete immersion even if you are willing to spend half your salary on them. It’s too bad because The Frau believes a second language for all Americans could be the key to a better understanding of the world for our citizens.
Not to mention, language learning is fun, at least if you ask Toddler M. After the class she said in a very happy English, “Mommy, I really love German!”
So needless to say, it was all worth it.