Arts & Lifestyle Lockdown a great time to teach kids a new language

Lockdown a great time to teach kids a new language

Kids can learn a new language during lockdown

Port Elizabeth teacher Antionette Kleb says kids can learn isiXhosa from home during the national lockdown

Many parents are racking their brains as to what to do with the kids during lockdown until they can eventually return to the classroom. 

A veteran Port Elizabeth IsiXhosa teacher has a suggestion and is encouraging  parents to use the time as an opportunity for kids to learn a new language, HeraldLIVE reports.

Antoinette Kleb, who teaches non-Xhosa speaking children and adults, says she uses  the art of storytelling to teach isiXhosa in a relaxed manner.

“When teaching a new language, a young age is best because it’s easier for them to grasp it and I have found that kids love stories, so what better way to teach them a language than through what they love?” Kleb said.

She has uploaded several videos of herself reading story books in Isixhosa on her YouTube page and provides English subtitles to help viewers understand better.

“The thing about learning a language through reading is that sometimes you struggle with pronunciation but when you have someone reading and translating for you then you are able to learn both spelling and pronunciation,” she says. 

Kleb has also published several IsiXhosa workbooks and a teachers’ handbook to be distributed to schools. 

She will  upload more visual content of herself reading from her own books, she says.

“I’m working towards getting the books into schools and doing readings online but I’ve had to put a lot of my plans on hold due to the lockdown.

Antoinette Kleb

“As soon as we’re all able to work again, I will be shooting videos with a Xhosa-speaking colleague to upload online as soon as possible,” says Kleb, who has been teaching the language for more than 40 years.

Kleb focuses on communicative language to  be used in daily conversations.

She encourages parents to explore  virtual platforms such as online or TV to teach kids a new language from home.

“Those who want to start with IsiXhosa can watch me on YouTube where I have about 20 books that I’ve read, with subtitles,” Kleb says.