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Q: Foreign Language in schools ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Foreign Language in schools
Category: Reference, Education and News > Education
Asked by: fico585-ga
List Price: $75.00
Posted: 15 May 2006 06:57 PDT
Expires: 14 Jun 2006 06:57 PDT
Question ID: 728959
What are benefits of teaching languages other than English to children
at an earlier age in the US?
Also make a recommendation on how to improve bi-lingual competence of
people in the U.S. For purposes of this, work should be focused on
people whose first language is English.
Expected results? What?s in it for the United States to have better
competence in other languages?
Feasibility?  How do you know that teaching languages other than
English to children at an earlier age in the US will work? (Research
will support)(Look for studies supporting language in younger children)
Subject: Re: Foreign Language in schools
Answered By: adiloren-ga on 15 May 2006 14:12 PDT
------------Benefits of Early Foreign Language Education------------------------

Studies suggest that children who learn a foreign language before
adolescence are more likely to attain "native-ike pronunciation
(Harley, 1986; Patowski, 1990).

Children have been found to have an "innate ability to acquire the
rules of any language, and this ability diminishes by adulthood
(Curtiss, 1995; Johnson and Newport, 1989).

"The learning of grammar, though, depends on a sensitive period
(experience expectant). When the learner is younger than 13 years
old, only the left hemisphere is involved in the process. As the
learner ages, both hemispheres are activated. Learners who use both
hemispheres have more difficulty mastering grammar than those who use
the left hemisphere only. That is, older individuals will have the
same ability to learn new vocabularies in a foreign language, but
difficulty to learn grammar."

It should also be noted that, "the more years devoted to learning a
language and the more opportunities available for use in everyday
situations, the greater the profiency achieved" (Curtain, 1997).

Experts on brain development argue that it is best to start early when
learning a foreign language.
"Start early ? Children have an immense capacity to learn and some
learning processes are time sensitive. By providing the child with
experiences at an early age, educational systems can improve their
efficiency and effectiveness."

For an explanation of brain periodicity, see TechKnowLogia,
September/October 2001, ""Brain Mechanisms and Early Learning."


Harley, B. 1986. Age in Second Language Acquisition. San Diego, CA:
College Hill Press.

Patkowski, M. S. 1990. "Age and Accent in a Second Language: A Reply
to James Emil Flege." Applied Linguistics 11 (1): 73-90.

Curtiss, S. (speaker). 1995. Gray Matters: The Developing Brain. Final
script of radio broadcast. Madison, WI: Wisconsin Public Radio

Johnson, J. S., and E. L. Newport. 1989. "Critical Period Effects in
Second Language Learning: The Influence of Maturational State on the
Acquisition of English as a Second Language." Cognitive Psychology 21
(1): 60-99

Curtain, H., and C. A. Pesola. 1994. Languages and Children: Making
the Match. Second edition. White Plains, NY: Longman.

-------------General Benefits of Foreign Language Acquisition----------------


"Introducing students to alternative ways of expressing themselves and
to different cultures gives greater depth to their understanding of
human experience by fostering an appreciation for the customs and
achievements of people beyond their own communities."


"Ultimately, knowing a second language can also give people a
competitive advantage in the work force by opening up additional job
opportunities "


"Some research suggests that students who receive second language
instruction are more creative and better at solving complex problems
than those who do not (Bamford and Mizokawa, 1991). Other studies
suggest that persons with full proficiency in more than one language
(bilinguals) outperform similar monolingual persons on both verbal and
nonverbal tests of intelligence, which raises the question of whether
ability in more than one language enables individuals to achieve
greater intellectual flexibility (Bruck, Lambert, and Tucker, 1974;
Hakuta, 1986; Weatherford, 1986). "


"For example, a recent study of the reading ability of 134 four- and
five-year-old children found that bilingual children understood better
than monolingual children the general symbolic representation of print
(Bialystok, 1997)."

"Some studies have found that students who learn foreign languages
score statistically higher on standardized college entrance exams than
those who do not."


"Americans who are fluent in more than one language can enhance
America's economic competitiveness abroad, maintain its political and
security interests, and work to promote an understanding of cultural
diversity within the United States. For example, international trade
specialists, overseas media correspondents, diplomats, airline
employees, and national security personnel need to be familiar with
other languages and cultures to do their jobs well. Teachers,
healthcare providers, customer service representatives, and law
enforcement personnel also serve their constituencies more effectively
when they can reach across languages and cultures. Developing the
language abilities of the students now in school will improve the
effectiveness of the work force later."


Baker, C. 1995. A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism. United
Kingdom: Multilingual Matters.

Bamford, K. W., and D. T. Mizokawa. 1991. "Additive-Bilingual
(Immersion) Education: Cognitive and Language Development." Language
Learning 41 (3): 413-429.

Barik, H. C., and M. Swain. 1975. Bilingual Education Project:
Evaluation of the 1974-75 French Immersion Program in Grades 2-4,
Ottawa Board of Education and Carleton Board of Education. Toronto:
Ontario Institute of Studies in Education. ERIC Document Reproduction
Service No. ED 121 056.

Bialystok, E. 1997. "Effects of Bilingualism and Biliteracy on
Children's Emergent Concepts of Print." Developmental Psychology 30
(3): 429-440.

Bruck, M., W. E. Lambert, and R. Tucker. 1974. "Bilingual Schooling
Through the Elementary Grades: The St. Lambert Project at Grade
Seven." Language Learning 24 (2): 183-204.

Cooper, T. C. 1987. "Foreign Language Study and SAT-Verbal Scores."
Modern Language Journal 71 (4): 381-387. Curtain, H. 1997. Early Start
Language Programs. Unpublished paper. Madison, WI: Author.

Eddy, P. A. 1981. The Effect of Foreign Language Study in High School
on Verbal Ability as Measured by the Scholastic Aptitude Test--Verbal
Final Report. Washington, DC: Center for Applied Linguistics. ERIC
Document Reproduction Service No. ED 196 312.

Genesee, F. 1987. Learning Through Two Languages. Cambridge, MA: Newbury House. 

Genesee, F. 1978. "Is There an Optimal Age for Starting Second
Language Instruction?" McGill Journal of Education 13 (2): 145-154.

Genesee, F. 1976. "The Role of Intelligence in Second Language
Learning." Language Learning 26 (2): 267-280.

Lach, J. Spring/Summer 1997. "Cultivating the Mind." Newsweek Special
Issue: Your Child--From Birth to Three 38-39.

Lipton, G. 1995. Focus on FLES*: Planning and Implementing FLES*
(Foreign Language in Elementary Schools) Programs. Baltimore, MD:
National FLES* Institute.

Met., M., and V. Galloway. 1992. "Research in Foreign Language
Curriculum." In P. Jackson, ed., Topics and Issues Within Curriculum
Categories. New York: Macmillan.

Nash, J. M. February 3, 1997. "Fertile Minds." Time 149 (5): 49-56. 

Schneider, E. 1996. "Teaching Foreign Languages to At-Risk Learners."
ERIC Digest. Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and
Linguistics. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 402 788.

Swain, M., 1981. "Early French Immersion Later On." Journal of
Multicultural Development 2 (1): 1-23.

Thomas, W. P., V. P. Collier, and M. Abbott. 1993. "Academic
Achievement Through Japanese, Spanish, or French: The First Two Years
of Partial Immersion." Modern Language Journal 77 (2): 170-180.

Villano, D. April 1996. "Heads Up: Time To Go Bilingual?" Smartkid 1 (4): 45-49. 

Weatherford, H. J. 1986. "Personal Benefits of Foreign Language
Study." ERIC Digest. Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages
and Linguistics. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. 276 305.

-------------Methods: studies and reports-----------------------------------------

Teaching Languages to Young Learners 
L Cameron - 2001 - Cambridge University

ICT and the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Sonia Jurich

"The teaching of foreign languages is a complex process that actively
involves multiple senses. No matter where and how the learning occurs,
information and communication technologies are powerful tools to
improve the teaching/learning process."

Teaching Foreign Languages to Children: Is Video a Viable Option?
Preliminary Comments on a Study in Progress
Ingrid U. Pufahl and Nancy C. Rhodes, The Center for Applied Linguistics

"This study addresses a critical need for data on the instructional
value of video-based language programs and their implementation. The
article describes this on-going study, its data collection
methodology, participant selection, sites for case studies, and
potential goals."

Training Language Testers via the Internet: A New Approach
Margaret E. Malone, Ph.D., Senior Testing Associate, The Center for
Applied Linguistics

"The author describes a new project to train foreign language testers
to apply principles of testing speaking proficiency via a distance
learning course."

The Lowly Language Lab: Going Digital
Norma Garcia and Laurence Wolff, Inter-American Development Bank

"This article outlines the evolution of language labs and analyzes the
capabilities and limitations of digital labs."

Brain Mechanisms for Language Learning
Sonia Jurich

"This article revisits the report on the First High Level Forum on
Learning Sciences and Brain Research, whose synthesis appeared in the
September/October 2001 issue of TechKnowLogia. This article centers
specifically on the research related to brain activity with language
learning and reading techniques."

Language Acquisition in the Knowledge Society
Wadi D. Haddad, Editor

"The most dramatic effect of technologies goes beyond facilitating and
making more effective present methodologies of language teaching.
Modern digital information and communication technologies, including
the web, combined with advanced speech technologies, can completely
transform the field of language teaching."

Foreign Language Teaching in 19 Countries ? Lessons to Learn
Ingrid U. Pufahl, Nancy C. Rhodes, and Donna Christian, The Center for
Applied Linguistics

"This article summarizes a study conducted by the Center for Applied
Linguistics, which examined the successes of foreign language teaching
in 19 countries. The study identified eight characteristics of
successful foreign language teaching, outlined in this article."

Web-Mediated Second Language Instruction: Will It Actually Work?
Gregg B. Jackson, George Washington University, and Gina Costante,
Presidential Management Intern

This article details various types of Web resources and technologies
being applied for supporting second language instruction and learning,
and begs the question, ?Will [these technologies] Actually Work??

Speak to Me! Speech Technologies are Making Their Mark
Tressa Steffen Gipe

"Over the past ten years, technologies that incorporate human speech
have become commonplace in many aspects of daily life. This article
describes three main fields of speech technology and also provides a
few examples from noteworthy technologies, projects and consortia that
are helping to shape the future of speech technology in education and

Graphite and WorldPad: Tools for Writing the World?s Other Languages
Melinda Lyons, SIL International

"Although computer tools have existed for some time to write the
national languages in countries using non-Roman writing systems, the
tools often have restrictions that make them unusable for the
minorities of these same nations. Graphite, and later WorldPad, was
developed to provide smart font rendering capabilities and text
editing that enables any combination of symbols when writing any

Speaking in the Future Tense: A Look at the Speech Technologies of Tomorrow
Tressa Steffen Gipe

"Today?s speech technology research is focused on improving
recognition accuracy, increasing speed, managing memory usage and
reducing power consumption. The real excitement lies in the
not-too-distant future when humans and computers will interact using
perfectly natural speech."

Teaching and Learning English in Kindergartens in Kaohsiung 
ML Chuang - 2001

Second-Language Acquisition and Foreign Lanquage Teaching.
RC Gingras? - 1978

----------------------------Language Organizations-------------------------------

National Network for Early Language Learning

An organization for educators involved in teaching foreign languages
to children. The mission of the organization is to promote
opportunities for all children to develop a high level of competence
in at least one language in addition to their own.

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACFTL)

A national organization dedicated to the improvement and expansion of
the teaching and learning of all languages at all levels of

FL Teach: Foreign Language Teaching Forum

"The Foreign Language Teaching Forum is an integrated service for FL
teachers. Their topic is foreign language teaching methods, including
school/college articulation, training of student teachers, classroom
activities, curriculum, and syllabus design. Students in teacher
training programs, teachers both new and experienced, administrators,
and other professionals interested in any aspect of foreign language
teaching are invited to participate in the discussions."

National Capital Language Resource Center (NLRC)

The NLRC is one of seven federally-funded language resource centers.
Its mission is to serve as a resource to improve the teaching and
learning of languages other than English.

National K-12 Foreign Language Resource Center (Iowa State University Ames, Iowa)

Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, this site is committed to
improving foreign language education in U.S. primary and secondary
schools. The Center provides professional development for kindergarten
through twelfth grade (K-12) teachers.  Services are also provided
for foreign language teacher educators who serve as methods
professors at institutions of higher education.


Google and Google Scholar:

"teaching foreign languages to children"
"Foreign language education"

ERIC Database

JSTOR Database

I hope this helps! Please request clarification if you need more help with this.


Request for Answer Clarification by fico585-ga on 16 May 2006 08:24 PDT
Thank you very much. Your infomation was very helpful. I was wondering
if you could dig up a little more on one of the questions I asked
eariler, which was:

What?s in it for the United States to have better
competence in other languages? 

There was some good infomation in the societal benefits part but I was
looking for  just a little bit more on that. Thanks again!

Clarification of Answer by adiloren-ga on 16 May 2006 19:55 PDT
Here is some additional information:
"In 2004 a report by the Michel Thomas Language Centre in Britain
suggested that speaking a second language could increase an average
worker's salary by 3,000 a year, or 145,000 in a lifetime. Further
results showed that nine out of 10 British companies thought their
businesses could benefit from better language skills.

Also in 2004, a study by University College London (UCL) examined the
brains of 105 people who could speak more than one language. The study
found that people who learned a second language when younger had
denser grey matter than those who learned one later. Grey matter is
the part of the brain where information is processed. This shows that
foreign language learning is easier for younger people than for

Discussion Paper: Impacts of Foreign Language Education

Benefits of early language education
-Infants and young children have an innate capacity to learn the base
structure of a foreign language.

-The ability to learn a foreign language decreases rapidly beginning at one year. 

-Both music and foreign language positively affect your child's
spatial and temporal reasoning.

-Only "live" language not television, computer or video produces
vocabulary and syntax boosting effects.

-Learning a foreign language has a positive effect on your child's
emotional, intellectual development as well as instilling confidence
and increasing self- esteem.

-Students exposed to foreign languages in the elementary and preschool
years have a much higher rate of success in other studies.

* Source: Newsweek, Feb. 19, 1996, "Your Child's Brain"

Aditional information on language education
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