To continue the comparision, foreign language instruction happens in the home culture -- learning French as an academic subject in the U.S., for example. In this case, learners can rely on familiar cultural contexts and norms that support the affective and social aspects of learning. Children learning the English language in this country have the added onus of a novel culture on which their survival -- educational and quotidian -- depends. Where this "total immersion" aspect of their condition may at first blush seem an advantage, unfamiliarity with new systems -- both cultural and linguistic -- represents an enormous cognitive as well as emotional challenge. When children appear slow to comprehend and to speak, consider the challenges they are up against. You can assist them by monitoring the complexity of what they hear and read and by demonstrating patience and continued interest when they are ready to speak and write.