Will ESL Students Forget Their English When School Is Out?

will ESl students forget their English when school is out
Will ESL students forget their English when school is out? Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst.

As a parent whose children are learning English as a second language, perhaps you are wondering if your child would lose any of her English over the summer. You wish she would keep studying, but you don’t want to take away from her vacation time either. So, will ESL students forget their English when school is out?

Probably not. In fact, a friend who moved to this country when he was 10-years-old did not say a single word for the first year. His classmates thought he had a speech disability. After summer was over, my friend surprised all of his classmates by speaking to them in English.

So, what happened? He was absorbing information during his first year. Observing, listening. Then he rested over the summer and played with other children. I suspect the time of observation followed by a time of relaxation gave him the space to integrate the language at his own pace.

Each of us learn differently. And that’s beyond learning styles. If you take into consideration the child’s natural inclination, you might find a clue to helping her maintain, even further her English learning during the two months off from school.

One of the subjects I dreaded as a new learner of English was writing. I knew how to construct sentences. My grammar was good. Spelling, perfect. Yet, I was not able to grasp what teachers were looking for. I see in many of my students a writing style that’s substantially different from what American teachers consider as good writing. Getting back to my story…I enrolled in summer school for a writing class when I was in 8th grade.

It wasn’t the most exciting class. In fact, we did the same thing everyday. But the teacher was very insistent about one thing–to bring our description to life. So, everyday, we would write a short essay. The next day, we get the essay back, with suggestions to improve. And we would spend the class revising our writing based on his feedback. And that’s how I became better in English over the summer.

The article How ESL children can improve their English over summer vacation offers some ideas on helping your children increase their speaking and listening skills.

If you find this blog helpful, here is one on How to make cultural adjustment easier for children.

Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking.    To schedule a session with her, please email support@englisharoundtheworld.com

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