Sunday, November 15, 2009

When will the schools "get it" when it comes to teaching foreign languages?

It is well known that children learn a second language best around the third grade. Their brain development is more receptive to new language retention at this time. As a result, it has been shown that children in other countries are more likely to retain this knowldge if taught at this stage of life. Unfortunately, in the Unite States, the majority of students are introduced to new languages in late middle school or early high school. This is why many of us have had 2 or 3 years of a language and little or no retention let alone fluency. In short, it means the time was wasted. What would it take to shift the teaching of languages to mid-elementary school? Would all these high school teachers be willing to change?