Should one learn a foreign language during their earlier years of life or during adulthood? There are many debates regarding this issue. However, there are various studies that have shown that younger learners are at an advantage in learning a second language. According to the famous linguist, Noam Chomsky, younger children
are better at absorbing a foreign language than adults because they have the ability to reproduce sounds accurately and recognize phonemes of any language (Jesness, 2004). In addition, the Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) states that children
who do not have access to language in infancy and early childhood will never acquire language. Therefore, CPH suggests that younger learners can acquire a second language with native-like fluency because they can use their brain mechanisms that helped them with their first language acquisition (Lightborn and Spada, 2003).
Since the 1960s, immersion elementary schools were introduced in Quebec, canada
, where there were many french
speakers (Crawford, 1989). Students received at least 50% or more of instruction in a foreign language and therefore, they achieved a high level of french
as well as english
. Immersion schools provide a natural basis for foreign language learning, offer
ing students the opportunity to communicate about what they know and what they want to know, as well as their feelings and attitudes (Bostwick, 2001). In a study on immersion teaching in the U.S., where native speakers of english
were placed in french
speaking nurseries and infant schools, researchers found that children
with an early start develop advantages in listening comprehension and pronunciation (Harley and Swain 1994, Lightbown and Spada 1994). These benefits also apply
to naturalistic settings, in which young learners
have more time to learn the language through an informal language learning environment and are less pressured to speak accurately since adults rarely correct a child's mistake in a naturalistic setting. Another linguist named Krashen also argues that learning a second language is better at a younger age since children
are less self-conscious and less embarrassed about making mistakes then adults (Crawford, 1989). Older learners have more difficulty expressing themselves and may feel frustrated and embarrassed by their lack of proficiency, which can affect their motivation to learn the language.
However, teaching efl
in a kindergarten can be challenging. Although these younger learners would be able to absorb the language more easily, teaching efl
in a kindergarten is not easy. Young children
have shorter attention spans and are easily bored. Therefore, it is crucial that the teacher
knows how to make a fun learning environment by frequently changing their activities as well as include many visuals, toys, games, dance and nursery rhymes. With younger learners, it is best to teach the same theme (e.g. colors) using a variety of teaching materials (Williams-Pugh, 2007). For example, teacher
s can use picture books, felt story boards, coloring activities, and songs to teach their lessons. Kindergarten teacher
s should also keep in mind that they should not pick on shy students, which can make them feel uncomfortable and unwilling to learn english
. Instead teacher
s should encourage more group work activities to help students participate more in class and feel more comfortable (Spyrou, 2008). teacher
s should also remember to speak at a moderate pace, use gestures, and simple language so that students can have an easier time understanding them. It is also essential that teacher
praise to their students to make them feel accomplished and motivated to learn english
. Although teaching efl
in a kindergarten can be difficult, it is important for teacher
s to remember to be patient, supportive, and most of all, learn to have fun with their students.
Bostwick, M. (2001). english
Language Immersion in a japanese
School. In D. Christian & F.
Genesee (eds.), Bilingual Education. Alexandra: tesol
Crawford, J. (1989). Bilingual Education: History, Politics, Theory and Practice. New Jersey
Jesness, J. (2004). TEACHING english
Language Learners K-12. A Quick-Start guide
for the New teacher
Lighbown, P. M. and Spada, N. (2006). How Languages are Learned. Oxford: Oxford University
Spyrou, Sophie. "How Kindergarten teacher
s Can Help esl
Students Overcome Shyness - Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com." Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com. 11 Sept. 2008. .
Williams-Pugh, Lisa. “tefl
in a Kindergarten.” tefl
corp.com. 18 April 2007. .