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What is the ideal age for children to learn a foreign language?

News Desk
News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Sun, November 25, 2018 | 08:03 pm
What is the ideal age for children to learn a foreign language?

Creating a fun learning environment and the full support of parents who accompany their children are important factors in language learning for young students. (Shutterstock/File)

Children are known to have an easier time adapting to a new language compared to adults. However, studies and experts usually offer different suggestions on the exact age children are best able to learn a foreign language.

The latest study by researchers in Boston, the United States, suggests that it is best done before they reach the age of 10.

According to a 2018 research helmed by Boston College psychology assistant professor Joshua Hartshorne, which involved 670,000 children, our brain is able to grasp foreign languages at a maximum capacity when we are very young.

"This is why adults have a harder language learning process compared to children," the study explained as reported by kompas.com.

According to Elizabeth Allen, an English and French language educator from the United Kingdom, the ideal age for children to learn a foreign language is 3 years old – a conclusion she made based on more than 30 years of experience teaching foreign languages.

Read also: Raising bilingual children in Indonesia: the strategies

However, she added that creating a fun learning environment and the full support of parents who accompany their children are also important.

"An effective learning process is through songs, games or watching TV programs or films in a foreign language," Allen said.

"Parents should encourage their children to learn a foreign language before they reach 11," Allen said, adding that based on her experience, it gets harder for children to pick up the language from then on. (kes)

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