Ways To Improve Your Domestic Helper’s Language Skills
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Ways To Improve Your Domestic Helper’s Language Skills

Date Posted: 06/10/2020


Communication is the key to all relationships. That includes even the employer-employee relationship. Allowing your helper to adjust and develop her language skills is very vital for a good working relationship. This will avoid misunderstandings in the future and save you from conflicts and tension.


Developing a new language is very beneficial as this will help her understand the culture more. It also enables a person to be more independent when they are in a place where not everyone can understand their mother tongue.


The language skills of your domestic helper will also be advantageous, primarily when your child interacts with them daily. Imagine that if the helper’s language skills are not developed, your children might be exposed to it and they’ll be able to pick up language mistakes.


Here are a few tips that you can do to help her improve her language skills:


1. Supporting her throughout the learning process:

  • She must get to practice whatever she is learning. You have to remember that domestic helpers spend most of their time inside. They only have limited exposure outside where they can get opportunities to learn more about the language and at the same time, practice it. These factors are crucial when it comes to being more familiar with the language.


  • To practically help her, you can teach her a new word every day and ask her about the other words she’s been learning and review her. If she has already learned vocabulary, it is encouraged that you practise together as often as you can through discussion.


  • You can also do this through engaging in a casual conversation such as: how was her day, how were the kids throughout the day, what was she doing before she got to Hong Kong, etc. Tell her to reply through the target language and be patient with her pace as well.


  • Another thing you can do is to involve her in language exchanges. Ask her if she will be okay with it because it might be intimidating at first, but this would help her expand her vocabulary through interactions. There are many online platforms like InterPals and My Language Exchange or even Facebook groups to practice the language without a cost.


2. Provide the right tools

  • There are a lot of offline and online tools that are designated to facilitate the immersion of learning a new language. That is why taking advantage of technology is very important. Here are some other apps that you can explore:


  • AnkiApp and Memrise are free but great apps that give learners access to learning exercises in many languages such as French, Arabic, English, Mandarin, and Cantonese.


  • This will be a great way to learn the basics of the target language and for obtaining more vocabulary. These apps are all available through laptop and phone. They are intuitive and user-friendly, as well.


  • Other platforms are TuneIn, Youtube, Amara and Forvo. These are platforms where someone can learn a language by hearing and speaking, so pronunciation will also be covered.


  • TuneIn gives access to streams and podcasts in different languages from all over the world. When someone listens consistently, they would be able to pick up a new vocabulary.


  • On the other hand, Youtube and Amara give access to a lot of videos on different topics for free. There are also subtitles. Lastly, Forvo is a free pronunciation dictionary which offers access to other audio or sound clips in many languages like English and Mandarin.


  • Give her some reading materials as well. This can be in the form of children’s books so that she can just be exposed to the language. Then, eventually give her other books like recipes, magazines, newspapers, and books. Her vocabulary would expand through this.


3. Enrolling her in a language course


Having your domestic helper enrolled with a professional instructor would be a big help and make the process faster and would give positive results.


There are a lot of training centres you can look into. You can also try to sign her up in an online language class if that’s what you prefer. Italki is one of these platforms where it’s possible to connect with native speakers who offer their language teaching skills and services at a very affordable price. However, you have to keep in mind that they are not necessarily professional language teachers.


4. Other things you have to keep in mind


Remember that everyone is unique and no approach fits everybody, especially when it comes to learning. There are also no wrong or right methods since everyone has a different pace. How your helper learns new languages in varies on factors like her personality and drive. Motivate her and don’t put pressure on but encourage that this would be a big help for her.


Learning a new language is never easy, especially for adults. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s not possible. As an employer, you should also push your employee to get better and learn other skills as they can use this not just in their work, but also for their future.


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