TEACHING LANGUAGES TO CHILDREN

C. Ravasco

Instituto Polit├ęcnico da Guarda (PORTUGAL)
The study of teaching languages to children has been discussed in very recent times.

On the one hand, the concept of language itself, in general, has evolved as well as the idea of language acquisition and learning. On the other hand, many theories have highlighted the factors that must be measured when talking about language: internal factors, such as stimulus, age, motivation, and external factors, such as social interaction and culture.

Learning can be fun, and positive but, in some situations, it can be depressing and tiring. The primary L2 teacher must be, among other things, a motivator and a helper.

Teaching a language to a child is a challenging and exhausting task: it demands some basic knowledge and strong scientific background. Teaching teachers how to teach children is even a more responsible task as there are no magical tricks when we deal with children.

In Portugal, English has been a compulsory subject in primary school very recently. However, some Portuguese children had been learning languages even before the introduction of this subject in the curricula of primary schools.