Language showering is a method of foreign language teaching where preschool teachers and staff use a foreign language during the children's everyday life and activities. The foreign language is used occasionally and where it fits naturally, which enables the majority of the language being spoken to be the country's official language with the foreign language being showered here and there.
Language showering is an official part of the early childhood education curriculum in the city of Jyväskylä, where the showering languages are English, German, French and Russian. The variation of languages is up to the teachers: some prefer to mix them up daily, but it is recommended to use one foreign language over a longer period of time so as to not confuse languages and to further support learning.
Pedagogically language showering takes advantage of the critical period of the children's nervous system when they are more heightened to language stimuli. Language showering also incorporates language learning through functionality and music by utilizing foreign language versions of games and songs the children are already familiar with in their own mother tongues.
As part of everyday life, language showering enables busy staff to focus on their daily curriculum as showering is not something to be incorporated into a certain time slot, and children won’t view it as studying and there is no pressure in achieving a certain level of language learning. Using a foreign language, the teacher can, for example, greet the children each morning, count the children in attendance, play a game of I spy using colors outside, praise the children for their good deeds and wish them well at the end of the day. Naptime stories can also be read in a foreign language, and if the teacher is not confident in, for example, their French reading abilities, the teacher can find stories online in video or audio formats.
The primary goal is to create positive experiences of languages and language learning! As the primary goal is not to learn the language, language showering can be applied with a very basic vocabulary and the use of a target language is encouraged even if one makes mistakes in it. Few people have time to learn four foreign languages fluently while working and as such, language showering does not require one to be trained as a language teacher or to have native-like skills in the target language. With a very basic vocabulary anyone can apply language showering! Children’s parents are encouraged to maintain the enthusiasm towards languages and employ language showering at home as children often want to demonstrate their knowledge of a language to their family. Tips and games for language showering at home can be found on our Youtube-channel:
Language showering is often compared with language immersion. Whereas in language immersion the target language is used almost constantly, in language showering it is used occasionally and where it fits naturally. In language showers, language learning and use are, of course, encouraged, but the primary goal is to get children excited about foreign languages!
Language showering was invented in Jyväskylä, Finland and celebrates 10-years of operations in 2020!
For more information please visit: https://peda.net/jyvaskyla/kielisuihkutus/in-english