Your Child’s Language Learning Bank Account

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By Mary Clements

In Dr. John M. Gottmans book, “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” we learn that the difference between happy and unhappy couples is how they manage their Emotional Bank Account. While this research was conducted with the purpose of creating lasting and fulfilling marriages, this principal can also be applied in creating a positive and fulfilling relationship for your child towards language learning.

We all know about regular bank accounts, but what about an emotional bank account? An emotion bank account represents the positive and negative balance in your relationship, the best couples maintain a high balance and couples who break up are usually in the red. You make deposits through positive interactions and withdrawals through negative ones. What does a deposit look like? It’s a simple act of showing your partner that you care and support them with actions like sending them a text before a big meeting or preparing a meal at the end of the day. By paying attention and acknowledging these actions with a simple thank you for example, creates a flow of positive deposits. A withdrawal is either hurtful behaviour towards your partner or ignoring their invitation to connect.

Withdrawals and Deposits Do Not Have Equal Weight 

Gottman observed from his research that it takes 5 positive interactions to make up for 1 negative one. Happy couples maintain at least this 5:1 ratio. If you make constant deposits and keep your balance high, you are saving up for when you will need to cash in on that goodwill on a rainy day. Gottman notes that small daily deposits, like asking your partner how their day was, is far more important than the occasional over the top romantic gesture.

Your Child’s Language Learning Bank Account

Borrowing this concept, we can see how some children succeed at becoming second language learners while others do not. Has your child had the opportunity to have more positive deposits into their language learning bank account than negative ones? As parents and teachers, how can we show our students that we support and care for their stages of learning, especially when their marks may not be where we envision they should be, they aren’t speaking French 100% of the time yet, or they don’t yet see the purpose or demonstrate internal motivation for language learning.

Positivity Leads To More Positivity

For us, the purpose of all our programs is to help children grow their language learning bank account for the school year and beyond. All our decisions are made from the goal to increase their confidence and goodwill towards language learning because this is what will see them through when times inevitably get tough. Language learning is a long road where the child will eventually have to choose to walk on it themselves and here at Les Petites Pommes, we want to give them all the tools and advantages they can to walk down that road with as much ease and confidence as possible!

Next week we will look more specific and easy examples of how to make positive language learning deposits!  In the mean time, if you have examples of strategies and habits in your family or child’s school, we’d love to hear them! À la semaine prochaine! 🙂