Share via Email Language lessons will become a compulsory part of the primary curriculum in While some teachers have already embraced the change, a lack of staff expertise remains a major concern for others.
Learning foreign languages in primary schools: It can be any modern or ancient foreign language and the focus should be on enabling pupils to make substantial progress in one language. This makes it an opportune time to reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of an early start, and what challenges it poses.
There are two main reasons behind the introduction of foreign languages in primary classrooms. More recent arguments are based on the cognitive advantages that learning a foreign language brings such as enhanced problem solving, attentional control or ability to switch tasks, and on the claim that it helps with literacy in English but these arguments have not yet filtered into public discourse.
However, the government policy which made learning a foreign language compulsory in English primary schools from Key Stage 2 was almost exclusively linked to the first of these motives. But what is the research evidence?
In the first part, I will briefly review how young children learn by comparison with teenagers and adults, and what expectations can reasonably be entertained given this evidence.
I will then draw some of the implications of this evidence for policy. What is the research evidence?
The belief underlying the introduction of foreign languages in primary schools is that teaching foreign languages early to young children, when they are most receptive, could close the gap which currently exists between our young people and their European counterparts in terms of foreign language capability, making them more competitive on the global market.
After all, we just pick up our mother tongue effortlessly as young children, so the logic is that if we teach children early enough, the same will happen with foreign languages. This view was stated, for example, by Prime Minister Tony Blair in It is important to distinguish between children immersed in the new language they are learning, for example as immigrants in a new country, and children exposed to a foreign language in the classroom, a few hours a week at best, and usually less than an hour per week in the vast majority of English primary schools.
In the case of immigrant children, there is much research evidence that young children are actually slower than older learners at the beginning of the learning process. Many studies have shown that adolescents and young adults are faster learners on all measures of language proficiency.
Young children, however, eventually catch up with older learners and typically become indistinguishable from native speakers, which is usually not the case for adults.
So, in the case of immigrant children, earlier does seem better, but only in the long run, and only where children are given plenty of time and opportunity to make the most of the abundant language input they are exposed to. This advantage has often been linked to the Critical Period Hypothesis mentioned above.
In the context of foreign language learning in the classroom, are primary school children also more likely than older students to reach native-like proficiency in the long run? All research investigating whether earlier is better in instructed contexts points in the same direction: Young children are very enthusiastic and love learning foreign languages.
They find it fun and they enjoy discovering new worlds and new ways of saying things. Young children are slower at learning languages than adolescent learners, in all aspects of language. To my knowledge, only one study by Jenifer Larson-Hall found a small advantage for an early start, but in that study, the children had six to eight hours of instruction per week for 44 weeks a year over six years, making the context of learning very different from the one or two weekly hours in other studies.
The team then compared their learning on a wide range of measures testing all 4 macroskills: They found that with the same amount of instruction, late starters were consistently faster and more efficient learners on all measures.It has been generally well-known that most people faced some problems in learning English as a second or foreign language in non-English speaking countries; for example, in Lao People Democratic Republic (Lao PDR).
This paper has a main purpose to. Am a primary teacher (but currently just doing supply).
IME the teaching of french in primary schools is only good if done by specialists. I have known of people who have never learned french having to teach it and they basically use CDs for pronounciation, but it is dire teaching. ETS is committed to ensuring quality and equity in education for English learners (ELs) in the United States and around the world.
Our research-based English Language Learning (ELL) products and services encourage learning, assess progress and . 10 good reasons why you should be learning a foreign language: Learning foreign languages has many rewards! Conversely, NOT learning another language can actually adversely affect your academic performance, make you less employable, and deny you of many personal opportunities.
Why should YOU learn a language? Read on. Finally, the learning of foreign language adds more loads on these young kids and takes some of their fun time.
On the other hand knowing a foreign language at a young age is easier and need less time than learning at an older age. Benefits of Language Learning in the Primary School. There is a considerable body of evidence which indicates that young children learn languages more easily than older learners in terms of mental flexibility and the ability to focus on the input they receive [ ] that lowering the age of access to other languages can have beneficial effects.