TRAVEL AND LANGUAGES 1

Many people believe children should begin learning a foreign language in primary school instead of secondary school.

Do you think the advantages of learning a foreign language in primary school outweigh the disadvantages?

Comments about the task:

  1. An opinion essay
  2. You should say whether the advantages are greater than the disadvantages in the introduction and conclusion

Plan:
advantages
more efficiently learning a new language
being able to pronounce it well,
disadvantages
potentially interfering with the learning of the first language

Model Answer:
In many nations, elementary-aged students are being taught foreign languages. This essay discusses the reasons why the merits of this phenomenon in terms of more efficiently learning a new language and being able to pronounce it well, outweigh the drawback of it potentially interfering with the learning of the first language.

There are numerous pedagogical merits of learning a second language in elementary school. The main one is that this has been identified as a golden age for learning languages by neuroscientists. It seems that at this age the brain is hardwired for learning new languages. It has been reported in the media that children of this age can learn new words three times quicker than students in high school. In addition, the pronunciation of a new language is easier at this age. The reason for this is because there is less interference from the native language, due to less exposure to it.

However, the main drawback of learning a language at this age is that it may interfere with the learning of the native language of that country. The primary reason is that every hour spent on learning a second language could be spent on learning the first language. Additionally, the student may become confused by the difference in grammatical rules of the two languages, and consequently may struggle to understand the grammar of the native language.

In conclusion, the benefits of learning a new language quickly and with better pronunciation seem to outweigh the disadvantage of the potential interference with learning the first language.[256 Words]

Language
elementary-aged = primary aged
phenomenon = event or thing that occurs
pedagogical merits = teaching advantages
golden age = best age
neuroscientists= people who study the brain
hardwired = genetically determined
native language = first language

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