Benefits of learning a second language at an early age

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The authors bởi vì not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, và have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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How important is memory to lớn a child’s ability lớn learn a second language? Shutterstock

In the second half of the school year, all groups experienced the same type of language class: they all learned French, taught with a focus-on-form method. For our study, we assessed the children’s progress in French over the second half of the school year và then looked at whether any components of their aptitude – language-analytic ability, memory ability, phonological awareness – would predict their success in learning French.

If children learn implicitly, we would expect that memory ability would be most important. In other words, the ability to pick up language material as you hear and see it is most relevant. If children learn above all explicitly, we would expect that language-analytic ability would be most important.

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The results

Differently lớn what people might expect, we found that the children’s language-analytic ability was most important, followed by phonological awareness. These two abilities contributed khổng lồ predicting the children’s achievement in French, while memory ability was only marginally relevant. This suggests that children as young as eight or nine years can indeed learn explicitly to some extent, if the teaching method they experience encourages them to engage in analysis of the language lớn be learned.

Our results are in line with a previous study which directly compared children & adults experiencing different teaching methods. Here the researcher also found that learners’ use of an explicit approach in the foreign language classroom did not exclusively depend on age, but on how learners were taught. This means that even younger children can approach a learning task lượt thích scientists.

Of course, it is important to note that children of primary school age are still developing their ability to lớn learn explicitly. Therefore, we cannot expect khổng lồ teach them languages in exactly the same way as we would teach teenagers or adults. But some activities that encourage children to consciously reflect on & analyse the language material to lớn be learned can be introduced to make best use of the limited class time that is available for foreign language teaching.