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How to demotivate your child from learning English.

How to demotivate your child from learning English in 4 easy steps: a guide for parents and teachers

STEP 1: Make it as unfun as possible.

Children must sit still and have their hands in front of them at all times. No moving is allowed during the entire lesson. If at any point a child laughs, you are doing something wrong. No games, no songs, no breaks. Written exercises only! If you are a parent, make sure to never listen to anything your child has to tell you about the lesson, nor look at anything they try to show you. Focus on failures and formal parts. Especially effective for preschoolers!

STEP 2: Mistakes = death.

Every time a child slips up when trying something new is an opportunity to teach them to fear trying! Make it painful and scary to do anything they are not 100% confident in. Hit where it hurts: they are talentless, they are not trying, they are lazy, they can never do it, depending on what this particular child would find more devastating. Particularly focus on any time they volunteer the answer or go out to the whiteboard! Initiative is punishable, after all. If there is any reward/punishment system in effect, gear it towards results, not towards effort. Actual parent-issued punishments help, but yelling, lectures or cold treatment are just as good, really. Public mockery in group lessons is also an effective variation.

STEP 3: Make an emphasis on natural talent.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who can do everything from the first try effortlessly, and those who can never do anything no matter how hard they try. This applies to languages most of all! If your child finds English fun and easy, emphasize how this is an innate trait, not a result of effort, and how much their worth depends on it. Praise them for being smart and talented, and dismiss any struggle they might have as impossible: either they are being lazy and not trying at all, or it means they have no talent to this particular part and might as well give up trying. Either strategy works! For children who do not find English easy, assure them it is supposed to be easy, and struggles mean there’s something wrong with them. Tell them that they don’t have a head for languages, that lack of early success dooms them to a lifetime of failure. Make sure they never even think of trying learning any other language ever again.

STEP 4: Expect instant mastery.

An explanation that is good for an adult is just as good for a child, and should be memorized instantly. If you have to explain again, just repeat the same things you said last time, but in a more annoyed tone. And of course, if the child has started learning English, this means they must be able to hold conversation in it! There is a very good early window for this: before the child has actually gotten used enough to English and learned enough vocabulary and grammar to construct sentences, stop using their mother tongue altogether. Any task you give them is now in English, and if they don’t understand what’s required to them, too bad. Any time they want to tell or ask you something, require they say it in English completely. This is important: no hints. If they can’t say it, they can’t say it. Move on. Make communication frustrating, or better: impossible altogether, by using vocabulary they are completely unfamiliar with.

Follow this easy guide, and give your child a lifelong hatred of language-learning that they might just pass on to their children as well!

Hanna Borodina


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