Children from multilingual families face great opportunities and challenges in the German Department. These children are already accustomed to switching from one language to another and thus have good prerequisites for taking a bilingual school-leaving certificate like the German International Abitur. On the other hand, children who grow up speaking several languages are not firmly rooted in any language in the same way that children from families that speak only one language are. That is why school and parents must work together closely in order to meet the special learning needs of children from multilingual families.
In Hong Kong our pupils grow up in an environment that is strongly influenced by the English language and offers numerous opportunities to use English outside school. The situation is different as far as German is concerned, as this is a language that children only rarely hear and speak outside school and family. That is why a special coordinated effort is required of parents and school when it comes to learning German. It is basically true to say that
What does this actually mean? How can you help your child to gain the best possible command of German? The German speaking parent plays a key role, serving as a language model, but the non-German speaking parent can also provide lasting support for the language learning process by showing an interest in and appreciation of the German language and culture.
The following tips and recommendations are intended for families with children in all age groups. Please select those ideas that apply to your family situation.
In the family
Other German speaking families / German speaking institutions
Contact with German speaking countries
School and parents