Some people believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school rather than secondary school. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?
Foreign language studies are a typical component of curriculums all over the world. However, the exact age at which students should first be introduced to a second language is often debated. Whether first taught at primary school or secondary school, advantages and disadvantages can be identified. This essay will analyse these items in an effort to prove one age group better than the other at which to begin foreign language studies.
Firstly, introducing a new language to primary school students has several advantages over delaying this introduction to secondary school. For one, as evidenced in numerous scientific studies, young minds are much more capable of acquiring accent, a truth that enables young people to reproduce language at a quality comparable to that of a native speaker. In addition to this, the heightened memories of young children make them much more capable of taking on the task of learning the massive amounts of vocabulary needed to be communicative in a second language. This of course accelerates their second language studies in ways not seen at the secondary school level. It is thus clear that teaching a second language at primary school has certain undeniable benefits.
Despite these advantages, there are potential drawbacks to introducing a foreign language at the primary school level. If the language component of the curriculum is not sensitive to local customs and traditions, it could interfere with a young learner’s understanding of their own culture, a challenge that is not apparent among the more mature secondary students. However, although this is a concern that should be taken seriously, educational bodies within a country have the power to review and vet content. This is a practice that curbs the possibility of cultural erosion. Further, delaying the introduction of foreign language studies also delays a student’s development as a worldly person that understands cultures outside their own. Thus, after analysis, the disadvantages to foreign language studies in primary school are not quite as discouraging as they may at first seem.
The above discussion makes clear that, despite select disadvantages, language learning is more effectively executed at primary school than secondary school. I thus hope governments the world over encourage the introduction of foreign language classes among their young learners.