Examined are some issues in elementary school foreign-language instruction, including concerns about when to begin such instruction, which language(s) to teach, learning methods, & measures of competence among children. The cognitive, academic, & attitudinal benefits of early language learning are discussed, along with factors that may affect the beginning grade level (resources, etc). In general it is asserted that the earlier the language is introduced, the more rapidly children stand to reap the benefits. FLES & FLEX instruction programs are considered as models, & content-based instruction is cited as most effectively transmitting the communicative & semantic nature of a foreign language to children. It is further suggested that both immersion & FLES learning programs may provide the best vehicles for producing research data on the effectiveness of primary school foreign-language study. 39 References. M. Chamberlain.
Elementary school foreign languages: What research can and cannot tell us. In E. S. Silber (Ed.), Critical issues in foreign language instruction (pp. 63-79). New York: Garland Publishing, Inc.
Met, M. (1991).
Educators and policy makers in many countries have been expressing concern about how to improve students' achievement in reading and math. This article explores and proposes a solution: introduce or increase foreign language study in the elementary schools. Research has shown that foreign language study in the early elementary years improves cognitive abilities, positively influences achievement in other disciplines, and results in higher achievement test scores in reading and math. Successful foreign language programs for elementary schools include immersion, FLES, and FLEX programs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract).
Foreign language study in elementary schools: Benefits and implications for achievement in reading and math. Early Childhood Education Journal, 33(1), 11-16. from PsycINFO database.
Stewart, J. H. (2005).
There is an increasing awareness of the usefulness of foreign language training in a number of seemingly diverse areas. Foreign language students develop not only technical skills related to language use but also tangible advantages in the job market because of their increased communication skills. Mastery of languages also enhances the enjoyment of travel abroad and reduces frustration and isolation during travel in other countries. Increased international business opportunities have made meaningful communication and understanding between cultures more valuable, and the individual's ability to understand and empathize across cultural lines is increased with language study. In addition, research suggests that foreign language study enhances both cognitive development and academic achievement. While it is certain that people familiar with more than one language and culture can communicate more effectively with people of other countries and cultures, it is also possible that through learning another language and culture, people become more effective problem-solvers, closer to achieving solutions to pressing social problems because of an increased awareness of a wider set of options. (MSE).
Personal benefits of foreign language study. ERIC digest. U.S. ; District of Columbia
Weatherford, H. J. (1986).