All Students Aged Between Six and Eleven Should Learn a Second Language

Topics: High school, Primary education, School Pages: 4 (1564 words) Published: June 2, 2013
Communication Skills
Course work

“All students aged between six-eleven should learn a foreign language”

Bilingual and multilingual, these are skills that are sought after and respected by the masses. Learning a new language from scratch as an adult is difficult and would require hard work and dedication to attain. Presently in the British school system which will be my main focus for this essay, the option to start learning a foreign language in school is made available from about the age of 11. However the government has passed a bill that states learning a foreign language will be made available from an even younger age. Should foreign languages be taught at primary school? In this essay I will be looking to evaluate this question, considering the pros and cons and establishing a conclusive answer to the question. The British government has passed a legislation stating that children in primary school from the age of seven will have to learn a compulsory foreign language as part of the syllabus starting in 2014. But why start at an early age? In an article written by David Bummel gave some insight on that matter, and I quote “Babies and young infants can pick up new words and sounds effortlessly during the critical period of cortex development. After age one it gets more difficult, but it is still much easier for children to learn new words. Whether these words are all from one language or from two or more doesn’t matter.”(Bummel, 2007). The critical period cortex development period of the brain occurs from birth to about the age of 10, where it progressively gets harder and harder until one becomes an adult. Which is why children who are spoken to in multiple languages when they are very young by for example parents of varying backgrounds are able to pick up multiple language effortlessly. One of the reasons that the government has decided to pass this legislation to amend the curriculum was because of the decline in pupils who entered for a...

Bibliography: BBC, 2012. Labour backs primary school foreign language lessons. [Online]
Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-18387072
BBC, 2012. New curriculum 'to make languages compulsory from seven '. [Online]
Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-18384536
Bummel, D., 2007. Why Is It Easier for Young Children to Learn a New Language?. [Online]
Available at: http://www.eldr.com/article/brain-power/why-it-easier-young-children-learn-new-language
Henry, J., 2012. Foreign languages to be compulsory from age seven. [Online]
Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/primaryeducation/9321651/Foreign-languages-to-be-compulsory-from-age-seven.html
Ofsted, 2008. The changing landscape of languages, London: Crown.
Ofsted, 2011. Modern Languages- Achievement and Challenges 2007-2010, Manchester: Crown.
Vasagar, J., 2012. Foreign languages to be taught at school from age seven. [Online]
Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jun/10/foreign-languages-compulsory-aged-7
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