ENGLISH LEARNING FOR NON-NATIVE CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD: SHOULD IT BE “SINK OR SWIM” APPROACH?
Educational Consultant (LEBANON)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:English is offered as a second language in many countries where English is not the native language and there is a tendency to start teaching the native and the English languages in early childhood. This paper examines factors that enhance English language acquisition by non- native young learners in a non-native English environment. What does research say about what works and what does not?
Among the factors that should be taken into consideration are the developmental level of the learner, the second language specific properties and how they differ from the learner’s native language, the relationship between oral and written language, the first steps, and the quality of input. To those are added the children’s and the parents’ attitudes about English learning. Are children motivated to learn the language? Are there gender differences in learning English at this early age? Are parents eager to have their children learn English and how much help could they provide for their children? How should the teachers collaborate with parents to facilitate children’s learning of English? Does the role of the parents change depending on their SES?
With regards to teaching content and methodology, many questions arise. How should English be taught? Should translation between the native and the English language be used in the classroom? How much time should be allocated for English considering the need to introduce children to other subjects? What should the relationship be between the English and the preschool teachers? How does learning one language affect acquisition of another?
The paper provides a plan that could be implemented in early childhood education. Educational implications and recommended methods were based on research findings.
Keywords: English as a foreign language, bilingualism, early childhood education, educational research.