Why do certain groups of children ace the US Spelling Bee competitions, year after year? What can we learn from their success?
I just finished watching ‘Spelling the Dream’ on Netflix and I was amazed at how Indian American children are consistently winning these spelling competitions, year after year. What made their performance even more impressive to me was that English is not even these children’s parents’ first language!
Here’s what I nailed it down to:
1. Indian families are (on the whole) multi-lingual. Children are very comfortable with the study of languages plus English is an official national language in India so this makes sense.
2. English is seen as cool. Last time I went to India, groups of young Hindi kids were speaking English and everyone in the group was Hindi. That would not happen in most countries right? When was the last time you saw your children excited about their English GCSE? On top of that, speaking English is considered a necessity, an absolute minimum to get ahead in your studies.
3. Spelling bee competitions have become the Olympics for Indians in the US. They are inspired by others who have won the competition and their vision is tangible. It all comes down to role models (again, was your older cousin considered cool because he aced his English A level?)
4. The kids are super driven and curious. Their routines are structured and it is a collective family activity, everyone gets involved! They genuinely enjoy learning and taking it all in.
Watch my thoughts in the video here and add this one to your list!
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