Ten good reasons to teach German in elementary school
- Language learning that starts early can go on longer, leading to more practice and experience, and greater fluency.
- Every skill and ability considered important to society is introduced in elementary school. Languages deserve a secure place to address the concers outlined in numerous national reports, and to meet the needs of the 21st century.
- Studies have shown that children must be exposed to other cultures and languages by the age of ten if hey are to learn and successfully embrace diffcrence. (Piaget, Lambert. et al.)
- Foreign language learners improve their basic skills, according to studies: higher ratings shown in standardized test performance, and improved results seen consistently across the U.S. and Canada.
- Foreign language learninng improves understanding in the native language, by enhancing listening skills, improving memory, providing a new perspective and understanding of language in general.
- Foreign language instruction expands the focus of learning to encompass the “whole-brain” by improving divergent thinking, and developing figurative creativity.
- Language students have significantly higher self-awareness than do non-language students.
- Foreign language skills can enhance future job ooportunities; languages require a significant long-term effort to develop sufficiently, and an early start allows time for development of more than one new language.
- Foreign language experiences can contribute directly to the mastery of other parts of the general curriculum, reinforcing key concepts in math, science and social studies.
- Language study can give insight into a variety of cultures.
Source: Steering Committee AATG: Kinder lernen Deutsch, Information Kit, Cherry Hill, NJ (1998).
Where can you learn German? Check out the GLOW Database for information on your nearest program.
We have numerous reasons why you should learn German in elementary school. For more reasons and literature on the subject, see the Network for Early Language Learning