Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

2000

Advisor

Lois Wedl, OSB

Abstract

Research in the field of second language acquisition has existed for decades, proclaiming that children who are pre-pubescent are at the optimum age to start learning a new language. Why, then, do most American educational systems insist on delaying second language acquisition until high school? Why is there such a big gap between the research and the common practices in the American educational system? The answer to these questions stem from both a lack of resources and a lack of knowledge on how students learn a target language best. Research on second language acquisition still remains a little known body of information, an area that is often forgotten when school districts are planning their curricula. Most school districts lack the resources, both financially and faculty-wise, to implement widespread foreign language classes. Currently, there is a shortage of qualified people to teach world languages in the classroom. This paper discusses why it is vitally important for school districts to change their policies and to commit to second language instruction, especially in the primary grades.

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