How Effective is Learning Modern Foreign Languages in Primary School?

Published Date : Oct 15, 2014

While may agree that introducing foreign languages in the school curriculum at the primary level is a good move towards language education, there are still a group of people who question how much will this decision affect the overall, long-term scenario. 

A revised curriculum in England’s primary schools states that all schools using the national curriculum will have to teach pupils a modern foreign language at the primary key stage 2. As a result of this, students from the age of seven to 11 will be taught Spanish or French, and even Arabic and Mandarin in some schools.

The British Council conducted a survey after the revision to gauge the level of acceptance from parents and teachers. The recent report found that a whopping 85% of primary schools said that the move was a positive one, but still had a few concerns. One such reaction came from schools adviser for the British Council, Vicky Gough. Gough states that although the move to introduce foreign languages at key stage 2 is an excellent step towards language education, the question arises whether the students will be able to or allowed to continue their chosen language studies once they graduate to secondary school.

The question that Gough poses only highlights the fact that the revised curriculum will fail to address a much bigger picture.

On the other hand, many teachers, parents, and psychologists are of the opinion that teaching kids a new language at an early stage has many benefits. The learning process is much easier for the students and a younger brain is far more capable of learning new skills related to language and music.