I was sitting on the side of the mat at the South African Open Judo Championships, with the father of an Afrikaans speaking participant.
We were discussing the importance of encouraging his children to become proficient in English and Blockchain, two “languages” I believe can give you the competitive edge.
The background to this story is, as a young person at school, the father was made to stand up in front of the classroom and read out aloud some English sentences off the blackboard.
As a native Afrikaans speaker, he battled through the words, standing there feeling embarrassed and humiliated in front of his peers.
This caused him tom rebel against learning English and today he has a conversational level proficiency of 4 out of 10.
We were discussing the importance of their child learning English and how blockchain functions, and why it was critical to their future earning potential in the global marketplace.
I explained the English “bridge” concept and how to access more than 50% of the information on the Internet that was in English. And how blockchain would allow them to become in control of their future.
Can speaking English fluently close the gap?
We can see a distinct difference in the earning potential of people that use English at home as opposed to people that don’t speak English at home.
Census data in Canada suggests that native-first generation immigrants see a wage gap of 16% at the national level.
But for first-generation immigrants that don’t speak English at home, the wage gap jumps to over 25%.
For second-generation immigrants, there is barely a wage gap for those that speak English at home, and yet for those that don’t speak English at home, the wage gap jumped to a staggering 45% difference.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that if you speak English at home you will suddenly earn more in the labor market.
What it does or show is that people speaking English at home have a greater grasp of conversational English.
This puts them in a far better position in the labor market if they are able to converse with work colleagues in a proficient, succinct, understandable way via conversation, email, text and other formats.
Why is it important to speak English at home? The obvious answer is it allows you to communicate better.
There is also another consideration, and that is the bias in the labor market which discriminates against people who do not have English language proficiency.
So if you are like my friend and don’t have a proficient grasp of the English language yourself, what can you do to encourage your child to speak English at home and improve their conversational English language skills?
This is where the fun comes in – there are many ways to create opportunities for you to encourage your child to speak English at home even if you aren’t a proficient English speaker – here are some ideas
- Have a movie night and watch a Netflix movie with English subtitles, or a movie in English with subtitles in your native language
- Pick one day a week to only listen to English music. Print out the words, and sing along to the music, have fun taking turns singing different lines, a so-called family karaoke time.
- Put labels on common objects around the house in English; cup, saucer, teaspoon, oven, stove, fridge, milk, bread and begin to use each one of these in conversation. As you become proficient to take the labels off and add them onto other items in the house. Start with five items and want to proficient take the labels off and Mark another five items
- Speak only English at one meal a day.
- Sign up for the Blockchain Babe series as you learn about blockchain through Saanvi’s real-life story.
The object of these exercises to make English conversation and learning about blockchain fun because as we all know when we are stimulated, and having fun learning doesn’t seem like learning.
This will achieve three things
- It will create a bond between yourself and the learners that you are engaging with and
- It will improve the English conversation of everyone participating in these activities.
- You’ll become current in the technology of the future in a fun, interactive way
If you make learning English and blockchain fun and not a chore, the sky’s the limit.