Teaching English in Primary Schools: Benefits more challenges (2)
- THEORETICAL REVIEW
- The Younger, The Better
Before discussing further the benefits and challenges of teaching English in primary schools, the authors show several theories and studies that support the idea that learning a foreign language at an early age is preferable. “Children between the ages of three and six are at the optimum age for learning a foreign language, because when children learn their first language, they can use the same method for learning.
Foreign languages” . Furthermore, the Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) claims that there is a biological timetable for foreign language acquisition that can be further improved.
As a result, language learning will become more challenging if it is achieved after an optimal period. The optimal period is 2–14 years of age . This means that there will be more challenges in learning English for adults over the age of 14. In another context, most schools start teaching foreign languages to students at the age of 8–9 years . He believes that in that era, learners will not fail to learn a foreign language as it is the best time to gain knowledge from the teacher.
Furthermore, “pre-school children have brains that are more active, connected, and resilient than adults” . This means that children love to walk and play, are creative and imaginative, and have excellent social skills. Thus, the process of teaching and learning English in the classroom will be more successful if English teachers take into account the needs of their learners and can identify learners’ backgrounds such as environment, culture, and interests.
Age is not the only factor that helps young learners to learn a language quickly . Other factors that may determine the success of English introduction in primary schools are motivation, language ability and quality of teachers, learning strategies, socioeconomic background, learning materials and media, social interactions, and family background . This means that if young learners do not have the motivation to learn English and their abilities are not supported even when they are young; Looks like they’ll have a hard time learning it. It also varies in the quality of teachers, learning strategies, socioeconomic background, teaching materials and media, social interactions, and family background. Success cannot be achieved if they do not support them in learning English.
By recognizing the many factors that determine success in teaching English in primary schools, teachers are expected to analyze the benefits, challenges, and solutions. The next discussion is about how English is taught in primary schools.
- Teaching English in primary schools
Teaching English in primary schools involves what needs to be underscored. This is because it deals with young learners who have unique characteristics. Many characteristics of young learners are egotistical, imaginative and active, self-centered, easily bored, and having difficulties with distinguishing between concrete and abstract things; They also have low concentration levels, prefer to do their work, and like to learn new things [4,14,15]. They learn by doing to acquire a new language. There are many purposes for teaching English in primary schools. They are classified into two major parts, namely interaction, and socialization . The purpose of the conversation is to help children acquire and use information, such as learning to spell; to help children acquire other physical skills, such as
cutting, and handwriting; and help children acquire complex skills such as reading. Meanwhile, socialization aims to help children recognize a wider society, and enable them to mingle and work with their peers. For example, activities in the classroom can be done through pair working, playing games, singing, and other similar activities.
Furthermore, young learners acquire a language effectively and efficiently if the environment supports them. They will learn from their experiences and activities . This means that they find out their background and skills to acquire the language more easily as they interact with them directly. As mentioned earlier, children also like to do physical activities, so fun activities such as playing games, singing songs, storytelling, role-playing, and other similar activities are recommended to help young learners To help you choose the target language.
early . Other fun learning activities that can be implemented by teachers to teach English to young learners can also be found in other contexts , and so on. They offer fun activities like “Get Together Activities, Spider-Mobile, Giant Potato Story, Learning Diaries, Matching, and so on”.
The next discussion is the main idea of the previously mentioned study. These are the benefits of teaching English in primary schools, challenges and issues to be addressed. These views have been collected from several studies on the teaching of English in primary schools.
- Benefits of teaching English in primary schools
Several studies have been conducted on the issue of teaching English in primary schools. They mention several benefits when learning English in primary schools [10, 16, 18]. They all agree that teaching English in primary schools will bring more benefits than harm. The benefits are in terms of awareness, language aptitude, timing, and confidence. those benefits
Those outlined by the researchers will be discussed further.
In terms of awareness,  found that teaching English in primary schools could make students more aware of their first language. It is very strange, for example, Indonesian students have good English, but their Indonesian language is not enough. Therefore, to learn English, Indonesian students must have a basic foundation of communication, which is Indonesian as their first language. This means that the role of the Indonesian language is very important before students learn English as a foreign language. On the other hand, teaching English in primary schools also gives students the potential for greater global awareness and intercultural competencies [16, 18]. This means that learning English can give students more opportunities to understand that many countries have cultural differences. It takes a positive attitude for students to be more respectful and tolerant [10, 16]. It is also believed that English as an international language may be one of the
Effective ways to understand other cultures and communicate with other people from different countries.
Teaching English in primary schools is also beneficial for students to achieve better pronunciation and fluency . This is because students in primary schools have more time to learn a foreign language . If they have a lot of practice pronouncing words in English, better fluency will be reached.
Another advantage is gaining confidence. Confidence is a key to motivating students to learn. When they have difficulty following a lesson, it can undermine their confidence. It is expected that learning English at an early age may be one of the efforts to improve their self-confidence . If they have sufficient knowledge of English, they will be more confident to follow the lesson, for example by answering the teacher’s questions.
Furthermore, children are better learners as learning at their age is natural, exciting and enjoyable, contextual, social, child-related, multisensory, active and experiential, memorable, etc. . When all of these optimal conditions are provided, they will achieve a high achievement in language knowledge.
Based on those findings, there are many benefits to teaching English in primary schools. These findings suggest that children should understand that there are many languages in this world as means of communication, and which are related to first, second, and foreign languages. If they understand which first, second, and which are related to a foreign language, they will increase their awareness of their first language and the foreign language they are learning. They will also be more confident to speak in English. This is because they have better pronunciation and fluency than other people who are not confident in using English.