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Discuss

Part 1
Different courses in the same country may have different learning goals.
When English is part of the general curriculum there is sometimes the
tendency to consider the general educational objectives achievable through
an FL, for instance getting to know another country, as important as (or even
more important than) the acquisition of competence in the target language.
Private language schools, on the other hand, generally prioritise the ability to
communicate.
Which of these two perspectives prevails in the courses you are
familiar with?
Which would you support?
Part 2
The teaching of foreign languages to all pupils and not just the more
academically gifted is seen as a more just distribution of linguistic power by
Hawkins (1999). In his view, the advantages of this situation are that in this
way all children are put in a position to
reflect on their first language: some sort of comparison between L1
and L2 inevitably takes place sooner or later independent of the
approach followed
revisit concepts such as numbers, date and time already approached in
their first language; this supports children who are struggling with
such concepts in L1 without giving them the impression of having to
repeat the same things over and over again
learn to listen: a good deal of learning requires strong aural skills,
which listening to an L2 helps to develop
learn to learn languages
experience an awakening to languages so that they see language
differences as interesting and not threatening. The foreign language
classroom is in fact the place where pupils are challenged to go to

meet, with growing confidence, what is new and what might appear
strange in language behaviours and in cultural values. What is more,
introducing children to alternative ways of expressing themselves and
to different cultures generally broadens their minds and gives them the
opportunity to communicate with many more people
Do you agree that all children should have the opportunity to learn a foreign
language?
Which of the above benefits would you consider a priority goal for YLs?
Which would you consider realistically achievable in a course you are
familiar with? Why?

Make a list of what young learners acquire fast and well and of what is
difficult for them. Then try to relate the achievements and the problems to
their supposed causes Cognitive development? Influence of first
language? Motivation? Affective factors? Social conditions? Materials?
Exposure? Culture? Others?
Do you notice any differences between younger and older children?

Achievements

Frequent problems

Probable causes