I adopt the same rule of thumb when I teach my daughter Bahasa Melayu:
- I repeat simple phrases -- I always speak the same phrases to her. I do mental aritmethics. I add on to longer sentences day by day. For example, "keluarkan pensel". Every time when she needs to write, I will say "Keluarkan pensel". I always say it with the same intonation as well. After a while when she is familiarized with the phrase, I will say "Keluarkan pensel dan pemadam". I will keep going and going until one day I will say :"Bolehkah kamu keluarkan pensel dan pemadam kamu?"
- I read aloud -- Every sentence and paragraph I will read to her, slowly and clearly. She will "ting" [at very high pitch] to alert me that she doesn't understand. Otherwise, I will keep on reading. One day when I feel that she is confident enough to read some words, I will ask her if she would like to try to read instead? If she said yes, let's do it. If she said, no, then leave it. I continue to read to her. Don't rush this. The moment they read out and it turns out to be lousy, it will be very difficult to get them to open their mouth again.
- I praise her, I don't correct her -- I only praise when she did something nice, like she is able to pronounce some words clearly or she can spell some words though some other words was spelt wrongly. I will say :"I can see that you are able to spell many words correctly nowadays." or I will say :"I can hear you more clearly when you read." Remember to keep these words within ourselves:" No, not like that. Why you can't pronounce it properly?" It is just very simple. We are willing to work extra hard when our boss praises us, not scolds us!
- I have no expectation over targets -- In the past, I set targets like what she has to learn everyday. I got very frustrated at the end of the lesson, because she probably did 1 or 2 out of 5 on the list. I started scolding her for doing things too slow blah blah blah... But now, what I did was I would praise her for having completed 2 things instead. Bear in mind, not only children, even we adults can't perform well under pressure!
- I don't TEST her! -- As we teach, we are eager to know how much our children absorb, how much they have learned. Remember! DO NOT TEST THEM!! It doesn't mean that we do not test them at all at the end of day. But, don't be eager to find this out too early. I have taught Lv Bahasa Melayu for 10 months now. I only started to test her one month ago. And, very importantly, majority of the questions I tested her was something that she already knew. I will introduce here and there some new vocab. All in all, out of 50 questions I gave her, she would be able to answer at least 45 of them. Again, it is confidence we are dealing with here.