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- Developmentally, twelve and thirteen-year-olds are capable of learning a foreign language faster and more thoroughly than five and six year olds.
Answer: False. While older children learn vocabulary and conjugation faster, this does not mean they make the leap to fluency. Students who begin foreign language study in elementary or pre school eventually achieve a higher level of fluency.
- Children in foreign language classes in grades 1-3 don't learn grammar.
Answer: False. When children learn songs chants and puppet dialogues they are internalizing grammar rules, the same way infants do when learning songs and phrases in their first language.
- My daughter can't say much in the foreign language she is studying so she probably hasn't learned much.
Answer: False. As with infants learning their first language, children learning a second language often comprehend much more than they can actually say.
- The first time a child might be introduced to conversion of grams to ounces or Fahrenheit to centigrade measurements is in a third or fourth grade math lesson.
Answer: False. Sometimes the foreign language teacher gets there first!
- Achieving proficiency in a foreign language costs more per pupil if you begin instruction in the elementary, instead of beginning in middle or high school.
Answer: False. Elementary foreign language study prepares students to achieve fluency, and they often become fluent with further study or travel abroad. Students who begin a foreign language in high school have more difficulty becoming fluent and require a bigger investment in the long run to achieve the same level.
- Studies have shown that there is a positive connection between bilingualism and cognitive functions in aging.
Answer: True. See American Psychological Association article at http://www.apa.org/releases/bilingual_aging.html.
- Children who are learning to read in English will be confused if they are also being taught to read in another language.
Answer: False. See article from the Center of Applied Linguistics at http://www.cal.org/earlylang/benrsr.htm.