Young children and English – the second language (Nguyen Ha My)

As known, Young children are very active, mischievous, and seem as natural language acquirers; they are self-motivated to approach language without conscious learning, not same as adolescents and adults. Especially, they have the ability to imitate pronunciation and word by word as well as work out the rules for themselves. It can be said that learning to talk in English is difficult does not occur to children unless it is suggested by adults, their parents and they have to learn grammar, structures, academic English at a later age with many many exercises, that make them bored and tired. And it is clear that English with children is quite easy and well-natured. In fact, that will be good idea when learning English as soon as they could.

There are some advantages of beginning early for young children.

First of all, young children are still using their individual, innate language-learning strategies to gain their own language and soon find they can also use these strategies to learn English.

Secondly, Young children have time to learn through play-like activities. They pick up language by taking part in an activity shared with an adult. Firstly, they approach the activity and then get meaning from the adult’s shared language.

Next, Young children have more time to contact with English into many daily programs. They may have little or no homework and are less stressed by having to achieve set standards.

Furthermore, children have the opportunity to learn a second language while they are still young appear to use the same innate language-learning strategies throughout life when learning other languages.

Finally, Young children who acquire language rather than consciously learn it, as older children and adults have to, are more likely to have better pronunciation and feel for the language and culture. When children grow up, they reach puberty and become more self-conscious, their ability to study language diminishes and they feel they have to consciously study English through grammar-based programs. The age at which this change occurs depends greatly on the individual child’s developmental levels as well as the expectations of society.

And of course, to become a good learner in English, children need to have an effective and positive environment. That means, young children need to feel secure and know that there is some obvious reason for using English.

Activities need to be linked to some interesting everyday activities about which they already know. For example, sharing an English picture book, saying a rhyme in English, having an ‘English’ snack, and singing a song …

English lessons are fun and interesting, concentrating on concepts children have already understood in their home language. In this way children are learning two things, a new concept as well as new language, but merely learning the English to talk about something they already know.

In sum, learning to children is very important and necessary. It is better if they are approached early. Of course, that depend on many thing, from teacher’s method, learning environment to ability and cognitive of children.


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