Essay 19 – Children should learn a foreign language at primary or secondary school

GT Writing Task 2 (Essay Writing) Sample # 19

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:

Some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school rather than secondary school.

Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Model Answer 1: (View: the advantages outweigh the disadvantages)
Language empowers young contemporaries to be more adept and academically successful, hence introducing a non-native language is inevitable during the early stage of life. This is why inaugurating a second language in primary school is a good idea. In my opinion, elementary school children should be exposed to a second language as it has more benefits than downsides.

Let us start by considering the disadvantages of offering a foreign language in primary school even though they are scarce. One of the main disadvantages is that children can get confused with their first language and could mix it up when they use both languages. For example, when learning French, native English students have a likelihood of getting confused and using certain words of English in French and vice versa.

However, teaching a second language to elementary students has many advantages. It actually enhances their intellectual abilities and proficiency. It is scientifically proven that learning a new language during the early phase of life is easier and it helps activate the different parts of our brain. With the introduction of a new language in the initial grade, we can offer students a chance to learn about a different culture and that would foster positive views in them towards other nations. Moreover, things learned in childhood have a far better impact on us and thus it ensures mastery of the language. In the present era of globalisation, effective communication skill is a must for career success and exposing children to learn a new language thus opens many windows of opportunity for them.

To conclude, I hope that the government will take the necessary steps to introduce a foreign language in elementary education in the coming future to pave the way for an intellectual and skilled generation.

[Authored by – Anu Scaria]

Model Answer 2: (View: the disadvantages outrank the advantages)
Mastery of a foreign language grants immense benefits and a second language course, in most countries, has become an integral part of the academic syllabus. When no doubt is dispensed about the advantages of learning a foreign language, opinions are often split when is the best time to start it. I personally feel that secondary school should be the ideal time to start learning a new language as it has more merits.

To begin with, if children are exposed to a foreign language at the very beginning of their academic life, they often end up learning both languages poorly. For instance, many teenagers these days do not show mastery of their native language and this can be attributed to their overexposure to foreign languages in their childhood. Moreover, children begin their elementary school between 5-7 years, sometimes earlier. They should not be pressurised with a whole new language and its grammatical rules when they are already appalled by the tasks their teachers assign. The extra pressure of a new language can lead them to grow antipathy about attending schools.

Many people argue that pupils in primary schools have a better capacity to learn a new language than students in a secondary language. However, research reveals that young minds have these advantages until they turn 21. Considering this, a secondary-level student with better maturity and understanding would learn the language faster. Learning a language involves more than just memorising words and knowing the grammar. A language is key to the passageway of a different culture. Undoubtedly, secondary-level students are better prepared to unlock the door and walk through.

To conclude, high school pupils are better accommodated to learn a foreign language than primary-level students. Some dubious advantages of learning a new language at the primary level are outranked by the advantages of commencing it in high school.

Model Answer 3: (View: It has more advantages than demerits.)

It is widely believed by many pedagogies that teaching a foreign language at primary school is more beneficial than waiting until secondary school. While some argue that there may be disadvantages to teaching a second language at the elementary stage, the benefits are numerous and are greater than the demerits.

One advantage of teaching a foreign language at an elementary school level is that children are more receptive to new languages and tend to pick them up more quickly. Research shows that children who are taught a foreign language at an early age develop stronger cognitive skills and better problem-solving abilities. Furthermore, language learning at a young age can foster intercultural communication and help children develop a more global perspective.

On the other hand, some experts argue that introducing a foreign language at a young age can be overwhelming and confusing for some children, especially those who are struggling with their mother tongue. Additionally, there is a concern that early language learning can lead to a lack of proficiency in both the target language and the child’s mother tongue.

Despite the potential disadvantages, the advantages of teaching a foreign language at primary school greatly outweigh them. Children who are exposed to a foreign language at an early age are more likely to become fluent in it, as well as to develop stronger language learning abilities in general. Moreover, the benefits of intercultural communication and a global perspective are increasingly important in today’s interconnected world.

In conclusion, teaching a foreign language at primary school is highly beneficial. While there may be some potential drawbacks, the advantages of learning a foreign language at an early age are numerous and can have a lasting impact on a child’s cognitive development, language learning abilities, and global perspective.

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