Nuremberg Recommendations Basic conditions for early foreign language learning
The foreign language learning process in a child must be seen in the context of a complex web of factors that will be considered in some detail in this chapter. People belonging to the child’s direct environment, such as parents and family, nursery education staff and school teachers, exert influence alongside factors and institutions of which the child may be virtually unaware (e.g. head teachers, public authorities, interest groups).
Education planning ensures that competence profiles and the related learning materials are prescribed at all levels from nursery education upwards. Methodologies used and the role assigned to media may have an important bearing on learning attainment. Various testing and evaluation procedures accompany the entire learning process from the start.
The image of a web or network of determining factors, with the child in the middle, is intended as a metaphor for the complexity of influences operating on the early foreign language learning process. In the centre, always, is the child, developing foreign language competence to the extent of his or her individual potential.
Although a certain anxiety still surfaces from time to time among parents, and indeed teachers, to the effect that children may be overstretched by starting too early on the learning of foreign languages, most parents now see early language learning programmes as an opportunity for their children.
For practitioners and teachers concerned to keep a responsible eye on childhood learning as it proceeds, it is important to observe and document the learning processes of early foreign language learning and to reflect continuously on all findings.