Should foreign languages be introduced at the elementary level?

new language

Acquiring a new language while young is quite advantageous. For one, the accuracy with which a child understands a language is much higher than an adult. Foreign language learned at a younger age is likely to develop to up to the fluency levels as the child has many more years to study it further.

Why should it be introduced at the elementary level?

Researchers say that it’s age 6 or 7 when the child language acquisition capabilities are at its peak. As such, it is necessary to introduce a foreign language at the elementary level. They also say that it’s much harder for a child beyond the puberty age to learn new languages.

Children who start learning languages at the elementary school level have an advantage. They have an opportunity to get a good understanding of different cultures where the languages are spoken. The exposure to other cultures come with its bonuses.

Why it is important to learn foreign language at this Level?

Positive impacts

At this level everything they learn can enhance their learning process for many years, thus, enriching their academic and personal development. In addition, learning these languages prepare them to participate and be effective in the global community and economy where foreign language and knowledge of these cultures are necessary.

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In general, Intercultural understanding is normally found in people who have language abilities. This understanding cultivates acceptance of diversity in students. When the students uphold, accept and acknowledge the concept of multiplicity in cultural information, they make more considerate decisions to people surrounding them.

Such students tend to overlook and ignore the cultural differences and instead build a positive framework for all-inclusive learning. When students, effectively, acquires global knowledge, they become the pioneers in bridging the gap between different cultures. They become promoters of international diplomacy.  The knowledge of foreign languages can help them also to be competitive in global employment opportunities.

A positive mindset and negligible prejudice for people who are different is assured once children learn languages and literature about other countries. All these advantages can be achieved only if foreign languages are introduced into the elementary curriculum.

Negative impacts

Besides the benefits, there are some disadvantages of introducing early learning of foreign languages in schools. Firstly, children need to concentrate on learning their mother tongue or their official languages rather than learning a foreign language. Learning these new languages at an early age may be confusing.

In some cases, children may not advance these language skills beyond this level or may never apply the skills anywhere. This can turn out to be a waste of time and resources, which could have been used on other valuable activities. This learning can also delay the development of the child’s first language.

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There are some particular advantages and disadvantages of learning a new foreign language at an early age. However, learning a foreign language at the elementary level is more beneficial to the kids.

Should Languages be Introduced in School Curriculum

Learning various languages should be based on one’s personal interest. This can be included as an extra curriculum activity which students can choose to learn or not, based on their interests. But, the schools and other educational institutions can step up by including them in their curriculum thus making it compulsory.

In conclusion, the introduction of a foreign language has two sides. There are some merits and demerits of starting learning a foreign language at the elementary school. We must depend on these merits and demerits to decide about introducing a second language at this level.

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