Friday, June 18, 2004

Foreign Language Learning: An Early Start

Foreign Language Learning: An Early Start. Learning foreign languages is hard. Yet, the earlier you start, the easier it is...

From the site:

During the 1960s, the idea of introducing foreign languages in the elementary school was a popular one, and elementary school foreign language programs were numerous. Interest in early language programs has resurfaced in recent years, and the number of programs being implemented is increasing. Many states are requiring the study of a foreign language at the elementary level. Louisiana, for example, has mandated that foreign language study begin in grade 4.

For a local school or community seeking to implement elementary school language programs, it is important that a rationale--reasons why the program should be incorporated into the curriculum--be developed to meet the needs and priorities of the particular area or institution the program(s) will serve. "School boards and parents organizations need reasons and evidence before making a commitment of time and resources to a new program" (Curtain, & Pesola, 1988, p. 1). A rationale should address benefits of language learning, the choice of languages to be taught, and the type of instruction to be used. A convincing rationale will help secure a place for foreign language education in the elementary school.

(For more information on elementary foreign language programs, see the ERIC Digest, Elementary School Foreign Language Programs, prepared by Jane Reeves, 1989.)


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