Teaching Languages to Young Learners

Teaching Languages to Young Learners

by Lynne Cameron




Recent years have seen rapid growth in the number of children being taught foreign languages at younger ages. While course books aimed at young learners are appearing on the market, there is scant theoretical reference in the teacher education literature. This book is one of the few to explore with readers what happens in classrooms where children are being taught a foreign language. It will offer teachers and trainers a theoretical framework to structure thinking about children's language learning. The book gives practical suggestions on how to analyse and evaluate classroom activities, language use and language development. Examples from classrooms in Europe and Asia will help bring alive the realities of working with young learners of English.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521773256
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 03/15/2001
Series: Cambridge Language Teaching Library
Pages: 276
Product dimensions: 6.22(w) x 9.29(h) x 0.91(d)

Table of Contents

1Children learning a foreign language1
1.1Taking a learning-centred perspective1
1.5From learning to language learning11
1.6Advantages to starting young with foreign languages16
1.7The foreign language: describing the indivisible17
1.8Summary of key learning principles19
2Learning language through tasks and activities21
2.1The task as an environment for learning21
2.2Task demands22
2.3Task support25
2.4Balancing demands and support26
2.5The importance of language learning goals28
2.6Defining 'task' for young learner classrooms29
2.7Stages in a classroom task31
2.8Hani's Weekend: Possible preparation and follow-up activities32
2.9Task-as-plan and task-in-action35
3Learning the spoken language36
3.1Learning the spoken language: guiding principles36
3.2Discourse and discourse events37
3.3Meaning first38
3.4Analysis of a task-in-action42
3.5Discourse skills development in childhood51
3.6Effective support for children's foreign language discourse skills58
3.7Short activities for learning the spoken language60
3.8Supporting the spoken language with written language66
3.9Using dialogues68
4Learning words72
4.2Vocabulary development in children's language learning73
4.3Organisation of words in a language81
4.4Learning and teaching vocabulary83
4.5Children's vocabulary learning strategies92
5Learning grammar96
5.1A place for grammar?96
5.2Different meanings of 'grammar'98
5.3Development of the internal grammar101
5.4A learning-centred approach to teaching grammar: background105
5.5Principles for learning-centred grammar teaching110
5.6Teaching techniques for supporting grammar learning111
6Learning literacy skills123
6.2Literacy skills in English124
6.3Factors affecting learning to read in English as a foreign language134
6.4Starting to read and write in English as a foreign language139
6.5Continuing to learn to read150
6.6Developing reading and writing as discourse skills154
6.7Summary and conclusion157
7Learning through stories159
7.1Stories and themes as holistic approaches to language teaching and learning159
7.2The discourse organisation of stories160
7.3Language use in stories163
7.4Quality in stories166
7.5Choosing stories to promote language learning167
7.6Ways of using a story169
7.7Developing tasks around a story175
8Theme-based teaching and learning180
8.1Issues around theme-based teaching180
8.2Theme-based teaching of a foreign language181
8.3Planning theme-based teaching184
8.4Learning language through theme-based teaching191
8.5Increasing target language use in theme-based teaching195
9Language choice and language learning199
9.2Patterns of first language use in foreign language classrooms200
9.3Dynamics of language choice and use205
9.4Taking responsibility, making choices209
10Assessment and language learning214
10.1Issues in assessing children's language learning214
10.2Principles for assessing children's language learning218
10.3Key concepts in assessment222
10.4Teacher assessment of language learning228
10.5Self-assessment and learner autonomy233
10.6Use of assessment information238
10.7Messages from assessment240
11Issues around teaching children a foreign language241
11.1Review of ideas241
11.2The need for research242
11.3The need to develop pedagogy243
11.4Teaching foreign languages to children246

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