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ERIC Number: ED282401
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Oct-28
Pages: 17
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
If Forty Is Foxy and Fifty Is Nifty, How Come by Eleven We're over the Hill?
Regan, Maureen
Only a fraction of one percent of elementary school children in the United States are enrolled in the study of a foreign language, yet the United States must compete in a multilingual world market. American educators must reevaluate the means by which they prepare future citizens for productive living in an ever-shrinking global society. Piaget, Lenneberg, Scovel, and many other theorists believe children are linguistically "over the hill" by age 11, that is, by age 11 or 12 a child's best language-learning years may have passed. Time and attention needs to be directed toward earlier language learning, but the prevailing attitude will not change until educators build a new attitude within the language-teaching community that learning a foreign language is not only fun but also plausible within the American school system. The optimum age for beginning second language learning is between four and eight, for the child participates without inhibition in a myriad of language activities that make language meaningful. It takes a lifetime of learning to be truly proficient in another language. Rather than teach the elementary basics of language in secondary school only to find that college-level language work cannot be attained in college, the schools should make the most of the cognitive and attitudinal advantages of the elementary-school child by beginning language instruction early. (MSE)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A