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ABC kids’ Mandarin learning: Patience and persistence matter greatly

A family, particularly the parents, needs patience and persistence with their America-born Chinese (ABC) kids in overcoming linguistic and cultural hurdles when learning Mandarin, Ya-Ning Hsu, a professor, researcher and scholar at Teachers College Columbia University, told a seminar this weekend at Columbia University.

For ABC, Mandarin learning is a long and enduring mission, in which anxiety plays a negative role and rushing to the goal can produce nothing good, said Hsu.

Mandarin may be the first language for Chinese American parents, but not their ABC kids. Therefore, both parents should participate in their children's learning process and help them maintain and build their ability to grasp the language, until they themselves establish an inner drive to get the job done, said Hsu.

Another point insisted on was that it is never too late to learn Mandarin.

It is okay to start at any time, but of course the earlier the better, said Hsu, adding that patience and persistence are the decisive factors rather than starting time.

Understanding Chinese culture will also provide a great impetus for ABC kids to learn Mandarin, while mixing the language into daily life and conversation will enhance their confidence and curiosity, local Chinese media World Journal quoted Hsu as saying.

What's more, it is better to learn Mandarin and English at the same time, as it will create dual tracks, said Hsu, who has been a professional bilingual teacher for decades and served the college for nine years.

The US-China Strong Foundation said that in mid-2017 some 400,000 American students learned Mandarin before they entered college, doubling the number in 2015.

Former US President Barrack Obama once set a target to propel the number of Mandarin learners in US kindergartens, primary, middle and high schools to one million before 2020, in order to enhance American kids' global competitivity.

Source from CGTN

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