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How to help a child deal with the burden of studies?

Q: I had shifted from India to USA last year. My elder daughter who is studying in VIth standard, was in a Gujarati medium school. She was good in her studies in India. Here she has to study in an English medium school. She was not able to cope with the load of the new language. She has completed her Vth standard, last year. Please advise me how to teach her so that she can understand the subject properly with cramming and also take the interest in the subject. It is not possible for me to go back to India or send my family back.

A:It is not easy for a child in Standard V or VI to change from Gujarati to English medium and to perform well straightaway. She needs some time to hear the language spoken and to speak it. Allow her to watch childrens TV programmes like Sesame Street. Let her make friends and play with children of her own age. If you can, please find out if there is a Gujarati family in your area, where your daughter can visit and pick up some idea of what is expected of her in school. She will surely become more comfortable with the new setting in another year. However, cramming will not help. The school will expect the children to understand what they are reading and writing. There are no short cuts. But if she starts reading childrens books, even those written for children of 6 and 7 years, she will pick up the language. The secret to confident use of a foreign language is to read a lot (for the sake of the story, at least) until the language becomes familiar. May be in the summer, she can have reading lessons for a couple of months, from a person who is patient, good natured and competent. Your daughters problem is temporary, and it is good to handle it gently and without strict rules or threats.


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