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Why I Love Flashcards to Teach My Child Navajo

November 09, 20215 min read

There’s some debate about flashcards in the education world. I’ve read articles that say flashcards are good and highly effective and others that say to stay away from flashcards. I think there are pros and cons in many things and I agree that flashcards are one of them, but here’s why I love them to help me teach my kids Navajo.

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5 Reasons I Love Flashcards

  1. Visually interesting for kids

    They can be colorful and fun for a child which is a good pro. I also like to think of flashcards as single images from books. In the same way you would point to pictures in a book and describe or ask your child what they see, that how I see flashcards too. I like to think of them as another way to engage with your child while showing them single concepts. To start you can get a set of flashcards (e.i shapes, colors, animals, etc) as a good start to teaching Navajo with flashcards. A big benefit in doing this is that they’re ready to use with bold sturdy prints!

  2. Space-saving

    Pretty obvious right? Instead of having a library of books that take up lots of space, you can have a storage container of hundreds of flashcards if you really wanted to. Photo containers work very well. I just have a small amount of flashcards at a time but it’s so easy to stash on a shelf or in a drawer. They take very little space and can be stored easily and that makes them easy to use.

  3. Versatile

    You may think there is only one way to use flashcards – holding up the card for the child to name – but there can be a variety of ways use them with your child. It just requires some creativity. If you need ideas, check out 10 ways to use Navajo flashcards.

  4. Portable – Use anytime or anywhere

    Instead of hauling mutiple books around, you can keep easily keep flashcards in your bag, a child’s bag, or in your car and take them with you to do on long drives. Or anywhere you need to entertain your child for a while like a doctor’s appointment. A good idea is take them with you when visiting family. You and your child can learn with masaní or another family member. Sometimes, it’s nice to have something tangible and ready to go when you have a moment with your child.

  5. They make teaching and learning Navajo fun!

    I love using them with my child. It’s a time to bond together in our languague and we have fun doing it. I love how easy it is to help my daughter learn new words and how convenient it is in making my teaching easier too.

The Best Way to Use Flashcards to Teach Navajo

Now that you know why I love flashcards. Here’s how to make them the most effective!

Flashcards are a good teaching tool for just about any kind of studying and it works for much short-term learning like studying for a test. But we want language learning to stick in our child’s long-term memory. By that, I help my child continue their learning with real-world connections.

I help reinforce what my child has learned through flashcards by extending the learning into the natural world. This means that I make the effort to speak more Navajo in our everyday life when the opportunity presents itself.

For example, let’s say my daughter learned “emotions.” One day, her brother becomes upset, I would then ask, “how does brother feel?” And use the words she learned for the situation. By doing this, she’s learning that language doesn’t just exist on a flashcard. And you, as a parent are also building your skills to add the Navajo language into your life more and more.

You can also create opportunities or extra activities for the words you’re teaching. For example, if you’re teaching “animals,” make a trip to the zoo!

Here’s how I love using the flashcards in a fun game that teaches and is a lot of fun called The Navajo Slap Game.

This may seem obvious and it is, but sometimes we are so accustomed to speaking English, that we forget to bring the Navajo language into our everyday life. This may take some practice for both you and your child but soon, you’ll both naturally start to speak more Navajo, both subconsciously and consciously.

So you see, I love flashcards in giving me a foundation to start teaching but I, as my child’s parent, have to consciously make the effort to extend that into the real world, as well.

How Not to Use Flashcards to Teach Navajo

There comes a time that flashcards might get overused and you or your child may start to lose interest. That’s okay. Sometimes you just go to cut back or stop for a while.

The most important tip to remember is to keep the learning light and fun. It should never feel like drill work. Don’t get caught up trying to make your kids learn faster or more than they can handle. It will become something kids quickly resent.

Your job as a parent is to make learning the Navajo language fun!

Here are my guidelines for teaching kids with flashcards

  1. Pay attention to your child’s mood – if they start to lose interest or get bored. It’s time to stop the session.

  2. It’s okay to only do a few words at at time – actually it works better!

  3. Have conversations and use it as a special time to bond and have fun!

As long as you remember these guidelines, you can have happy kids who want to learn more!

So, Are Flashcards for You and Your Child?

I really like flashcards because they work for me and my kids. I keep it fun and interesting for them. I listen to their needs. And if they are not in the mood then I try later when they are happy to do so.

If you like the convenience and you need a foundation to start teaching the Navajo Language, flashcards may be the place to start. You’ll have to decide what’s best for your teaching skills and your child’s best interest.

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Lintara C.

Lintara aka Ms Linturtle is a wife and mom to three kids. She's helping her family learn Navajo alongside her. She helps create resources and materials that other families or educators can use in their Navajo language learning and teaching!

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