Language exchange with a 6 year old

I’m going to be teaching a friends kid one on one once a week for 2 hours at a time. I met her today and she didn’t speak one word of English to me the whole time. It took me an hour to get her to say anything (and that was in Chinese). I just want to use the 2 hours as efficiently as I can.

Does anyone have a suggestion for a book to use in a situation like this? I’m only interested in getting her to speak. I’m thinking that a series with CD’s that go along with it that should she could listen to during the week would be best. I’ll be making a trip to caves tomorrow to have a look. This is a no pressure casual situation, no need for drilling vocab. or grammar. I just want her talking.


I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t take a child as a student who is so young and expect her to be able to sit through a two hour class.

You’ll have to be VERY imaginative and somewhat experienced!

I’d say NO, whether it is exchange or private tutor.


I’ll let others answer the book question, but since it’s going to be casual with no drilling, you might want to focus more on activites than books. Arts and crafts-type stuff, games, field trips, etc. If they have a computer with a decent Internet connection, you might try some kids sites, such as, that have interactive games–stuff she can do when you’re not there, too. Also suggest some English video tapes (cartoons?) for the parents to buy for her. If there’s a cartoon she likes in Chinese, have some friends in the US tape tape a few episodes of it for you in English if they can find it. My 6-year-old son in the US likes many of the same cartoons his cousin in Taiwan likes.

You could throw in some storybooks for good measure–you could even record yourself reading them, if they don’t come with tapes, so she can “read” them between classes.

And when you feel yourself getting ready to explode, try to remember what your attention span was like when you were 6 and imagine what it would have been like to sit still for 2 hours with some stranger speaking jibberish to you–and expecting you to answer. :laughing:

I don’t plan on making it a class. I just plan on hanging out with her and trying to get her to speak. If it turns out that she totally not interested in doing anying, the class won’t go on for very long.

Luckily I am VERY imaginitive and somewhat experienced. I’m curiuos to see what kind of results can be produced with this sort of setup. I’m only charging her for transportation and materials. I think I can come up with something that should be fun for the both of us.

Thanks jeff, this is the kind of stuff I was thinking about too. I can’t see how it will benifit her to sit down for 2 hours once a week and have a “class” with me. It’s funny that you mentioned feild trips, because that’s exactly what I did on our first meeting. We went to Eslite and just looked at books. I asked her what kind of stuff she liked. She picked out some books and asked me to read them. I even tried to explain the story of Yertle the Turtle in (very limited) Chinese and she goes “Oh, I heard this story, but I forgot it” (in Chinese of course). Hopefully I’ll figure out a way to make some kind of progress.

This is more like an experiment then anything else. If I can come up with something that works, I’ll be able to use it again with other kids (but charge :wink: ). I also like having a situation where I can speak Chinese for a reason other then just to practice.

I once taught a 4 year old german and was pretty successful, in my opinion…=)
i just played with her all sorts of things and all I did was speaking german to her, while she was replying in chinese. it took some time, but after a while she understood and then started to speak. not that she’d speak german fluently now, but the ice is broken. she understands quite a lot and won’t have such a hard time, when she emigrates with her parents to germany.

How is this a language “exchange”? :?

How is this a language “exchange”? :?[/quote]
I’m teaching her English and she’s teaching me how to teach a six year old English. :wink:

Any jackass can sit down with someone speak to them in English. It takes a skilled jackass to sit down with someone and speak to them in English and have them learn something.

I enjoy the challenge.