I often hear parents and even teachers who seemingly think that exposing their children to two or more languages will only confuse them. Research has shown that “during the first 8 years of life, the foundations for thinking, language, vision, attitudes, aptitudes and other characteristics are laid down.” (Kotulak, 1996). In the first 12 years the brain is a ‘super sponge’, after that once the development is complete, the window closes and any further learning has to be gained through long and hard traditional learning. So yes, the younger your children are exposed to a foreign language, the better they will learn.
Unfortunately here in Ireland, students are usually not introduced to French as a 2nd or 3rd language until secondary school around the age of 12 or 13.
As a native French speaker originally from Paris, I have been teaching French in Ireland for the past 14 years. I have mainly been introducing the French language & culture to children of all ages starting from 2 years old, through the use of games and play as it is proven that children absorb a language much faster while having fun. I also enjoy teaching teenagers, young adults and ‘not so young’ adults (my oldest student was 89 years old and one of the best! along with the 2 year old). I also have experience teaching in secondary school to all levels from 1st year to Leaving Cert.
I meet so many teenagers who are struggling with learning French and even those who at first like the language in 1st or 2nd year, often find it challenging and hard to keep up after their Junior Cert. Some students have the opportunity to travel to France on an exchange course and hugely gain from the 2-3 weeks immersion in the language, but not everyone is that lucky and we can’t expect all parents to pay for French grinds.
As a parent myself I believe in offering affordable French grinds solutions for everyone, and as a teacher I believe it’s important to connect with each student, to personalize their learning experience and enhance their confidence and ability to learn.
Author: Jennifer AsadaThis author has published 1 articles so far.