Do you agree that foreign language instruction should begin in kindergarten?
Kindergarten age is little too small to learn foreign language. If it is in 3rd or 4th grade it will be fine. At kindergarten level, kids try to learn English or whatever their first language is. So it is not good to confuse them.
I think it is a wonderful idea to start in kindergarten. Children do not need to learn the grammatical rules or mechanics of using a foreign language that early, but they can learn new words and practice pronouncing them as they go. For example, if I am teaching children about bees, I can also mention that the Chinese word for a honey bee is "mi fong" and let them say it a few times. Then, as they get older, they will have a vocabulary to use when they get into the the more involved activities of foreign language study.
Child developmental research clearly shows that children's language acquisition capabilities are greatest before puberty after which brain organization changes making natural acquisition more difficult. Children growing up in an environment where two or more languages are spoken are not only able to acquire each language easily but also able to completely separate them.
This is a generalization of course. Children's cognitive abilities differ and develop at different rates. Some adults retain the ability to acquire any new language when immersed in it at very fast rates.
However, starting in kindergarten or even earlier is a great idea. There is also research that shows the multi-lingual skills acquired in childhood has a very beneficial effect on brain development that is used in other areas.
I believe here in California each child should be given instructions in Spanish in elementary school. Many of our television programs and news stations are all in Spanish. I welcome learning at an early age when it is so much easier and natural!
My friends raised their children speaking three languages from birth. He conversated with them in Spanish, she in Dutch and when they were together they spoke Italian. They lived in the Netherlands.
When the children were 6 they spoke three languages fluently. When they reached seven both children had grave problems with Dutch and could not cope at all. Both had to repeat the year.
Any one who wants to learn a second language has to be fluent in one language. Fluent in reading, writing, speaking, listening and grammar. These five skills are needed as a frame of reference.
The very same became clear whilst working in a London school. We worked with children from 27 different nationalities. Children who came to London at the age of 8 or older had far and far less problems with learning English as a second language then the children who came to London at the age of 5 or younger.
So yes it is brilliant to give children the opportunity to learn a second language but not before the age of eight. Let them be fluent in one language so they have their frame of reference. You are not doing children a favour to start teaching a second language at an age younger than 8.
by zamer 9 years ago
What foreign language would you like to learn and why?
by Jake Brannen 8 years ago
Which foreign language would you like to learn? Why?
by klevifusha 3 years ago
If you were able to learn a foreign language without any effort, which language would you choose to speak and why?
by Susan Reid 8 years ago
Which is the easiest foreign language to master and why?
by vrint 7 years ago
I am planning to learn a foreign language.Which one would you suggest and why?
by rfox21 8 years ago
Which foreign language did you always want to learn?
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