DISCLAIMER: 1) I AM IN NO WAY AN IELTS EXAMINER OR INSTRUCTOR. 2) PLEASE DO NOT COPY MY WORK
QUESTION: Some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school rather than secondary school. Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?
Learning a foreign language provides a student with more opportunities in terms of future career options and also a deeper understanding of their own culture and that of other countries’. We can see that today with the emergence of English courses offered in different universities due to the fact that English is widely recognized as the universal language. As such, I believe that learning a foreign language should begin during secondary school, rather than during primary school.
The advantages of learning a new language during secondary school outweighs those of learning it earlier. A major advantage is the students’ mental preparedness. Students in secondary level have reached sufficient maturity to understand complex words and their meanings. They are already equipped with the necessary mental facilities to connect abstract thought and logic needed to understand two languages–their own native language and a foreign language. Aside from mental preparedness, older students also have more patience than younger pupils in primary school. A recent study concluded that a pupil’s patience is one of the primary factors that affect learning a new language. The study mentioned that students aged 15 and above significantly performed better than their younger counterparts, and this was primarily due to the fact that older students were more patient in learning the contexts and meanings of the foreign language. It was found that they are less distracted than the younger students.
A disadvantage however of learning a foreign language later in secondary school, is that older students may become resistant to learning, due to the fact that by the time a student reaches secondary school, the student may have already formed preconceived notions that they may adhere to very strongly. This can be addressed by letting them realize the benefits of learning a foreign language and by letting the student understand the beauty of both foreign and native languages. With that single disadvantage addressed, I believe that the advantages of learning a foreign language in secondary school outweighs its apparent disadvantage.
SCORE: 6.75 = 7.0
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