Learning English at an Early School Age

Asst. Prof. Renata Geld, Mihajla Ćavar Portolan
ECTS credits
: 5
: IX
: elective
Enrollment requirements:
Course description
: Rationale for early learning of a foreign language; overview of research in the field; child abilities and limitations with respect to acquiring a foreign language at that stage (age 6-10) of linguistic, cognitive, affective and motorical development; overview and analysis of classroom teaching strategies that have been shown to be successful in teaching English to young learners.
: Students will get an insight into the main concepts of the age factor and early FL learning. They will be prepared to start teaching English to young learners and to develop a reflective approach to their teaching.
Course requirements:
Students are expected to do the readings selected by the course instructor. High level of participation, especially in seminars, is expected. If students pass two revision tests, they do not have to sit for the final oral exam.
Week by week schedule:

week topics
1 Introduction; Key concepts
2 Early language learning and the age factor concept
3 Linguistic, cognitive, affective and motorical development of young learners
4 Research into early language learning
5 REVISION – Test 1
6 TPR and other teaching techniques in early language teaching
7 Errors and approach to error correction in early language learning
8 Role of media in early language teaching
9 Role of teacher in early language learning
10 REVISION – Test 2
11 Development of linguistic and communicative competence
12 Development of cultural awareness
13 Assessment and self-assessment in early language teaching
14 Expectations, aims and possible achievements of early FL programmes
15 REVISION – Test 3

Required reading:
– Brewster, J., Ellis, G., Girard, P. (2002). The Primary English Teacher’s Guide. Harlow, UK: Pearson Education Limited.
– Enever, J. (ur.) (2011). ELLiE. Early language learning in Europe. London: British Council. [selected chapters]
– Enever, J., Moon, J. & Raman, U. (ur.) (2009). Young Learner English Language Policy and Implementation: International Perspectives. Reading, UK: Garnet Publishing Ltd. [selected chapters]
– Mihaljević Djigunović, J. (2009). Individual differences in early language programmes. In: M. Nikolov (ur.),The age factor and early language learning, 199-225. Berlin-New York: Mouton de Gruyter
– Mihaljević Djigunović, J. (2012). Early EFL learning in context – Evidence from a country case study. London: The British Council.
– Moon, J. i Nikolov, M. (ur.) Research into Teaching English to Young Learners. Pecs: University Press PECS. [selected chapters]
– Nikolov, M. (ur.) (2009). Early learning of modern foreign languages. Processes and outcomes. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters. [selected chapters]
– Nikolov, M. (ur.) (2009). The age factor and early language learning. Berlin-New York: Mouton de Gruyter. [selected chapters]
– Nikolov, M. i Mihaljević Djigunović, J. (2006). Recent research on age, second language acquisition, and early foreign language learning, ARAL 26: 234-260.
– Nikolov, M. & Mihaljević Djigunović, J. (2011). All shades of every color: An overview of early teaching and learning of foreign languages. ARAL, 31: 95-119.
– Vilke, M., Vrhovac, Y. (ur.) (1995). Children and Foreign Languages II. Zagreb: Filozofski fakultet. [selected chapters]

Recommended reading:
– Berk, L. E. (2010). Exploring lifespan development. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. [selected chapters]
– Mihaljević Djigunović, J. (2009). Impact of learning conditions on young FL learners’ motivation. In M. Nikolov (ur.), Early learning of modern foreign languages. Processes and outcomes, 75-89. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters
– Nikolov, M., Curtain, H. (ur.) (2000). An early start: Young learners and modern languages in Europe and beyond. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

– Nikolov, M. (2002). Issues in English Language Education. Wien: Peter Lang.
– Pinter, A. (2011). Children learning second languages. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave MacMillan. [selected chapters]
– Szulc-Kurpaska, M. (2007). Teaching and researching very young learners: “They are unpredictable”. In M. Nikolov, J. Mihaljević Djigunović, M. Mattheoudakis, G. Lundberg, & T. Flanagan (ur.), Teaching modern languages to young learners: Teachers, curricula and materials, 35-46. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.
– Vilke, M. (1991). Vaše dijete i jezik. Zagreb: Školska knjiga.

– Vilke, M., Vrhovac, Y. (ur.) (1993). Children and Foreign Languages I. Zagreb: Filozofski fakultet. [selected chapters]
– Vrhovac, Y. (ur.) (1999). Strani jezik u osnovnoj školi. Zagreb: Naprijed.
– Vrhovac, Y. (ur.) (2001). Children and Foreign Languages III. Zagreb: Filozofski fakultet. [selected chapters]