What do you think about early English education?

In Japan, English education will start next year from the third grade at elementary school. It has been said that Japanese people are less proficient in English than people in other countries, so the Japanese government decided to improve their nations' English skills.

However, some people say that we should improve our mother language during elementary school days instead of spending the time to study English, because the mother language is the most important language that should be improved and is a fundamental part of our identity as a Japanese. They say that people who don't learn their mother language well will struggle to learn English as a second language and that it is not too late to study English after being a junior high school student. What do you think about early English education?


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  • A very controversial topic . Here in Saudi Arabia in my generation of the 80s we started learning English at the age of 13 , in our intermediate school few students were able to master it in a good level but most of the class and the whole school were struggling with it . Let me say that learning a language well isn't a matter of a age only . There are many influential factors like the first language impact on learning another language . Which , I believe as well that people who are weak in expressing themselves in their native can't do it in any other language . Let's admit that they way people talk reflects many things about them and one of which is their cleverness . Many years ago , people in arab countries used to care for their words in an astonishing way . Nowadays , people talk ridiculously and use bad words .
    Believe it or not , my students use bad English when they speak in the class, due to the influence of the media .
    Another factor is related to the family of languages for example it is easier for European to learn English or other languages around them . Because all of these languages belong to the same family The Romances languages . There are many similarities in sounds , scripts of letters and even words .
    It is also related to environmental factors if there are many ethic groups in the same country . If the society is bilingual .
    Now , I am a teacher and I have taught English for more than 16 years . The Saudi educational system have changed a lot . English is taught from the 4th grade and continue to their final years in high school .
    Teaching little kids is fruitful but these kids fail when we go deeper in learning only few very few are able to speak and write good English .
    Why ? I think the lack of ambition is one of the greatest reasons .
    In my humble opinion , are language should be taught as a language not as a subject and students and teachers should work together to obtain great goals of teaching .
    Finally , I would say that each nation should focus on its own language more than teaching forgin language . People who are able to master other languages are few and they master it because they need it or have a passion toward learning it . We can force all people to learn languages , we should focus on the few who can't and are using it in some important fields only

    • Hi, Rosemary. Thank you for sharing your opinion. Great! I agree with you. You said all I want to say.

  • here we start from the young age to learn English, eventhough not fluent still we can understand english and talk broken english. 

    if you come here, its easy to communicate and you wont get lost.  =)

    • Hi, Fizzy. Thank you for your comment. It is good for foreigners to be able to communicate in English.

  • Hi Tam,

    Spaniards are not skilled also at a second language, surely several factors take part in this but I agree English is taught from an early age.  I really admire watching kids speaking not only his/her mother language or children whose parents belong to different cultures.  

    The video Rose shared is amazing... wow!   ...and make me think how silly I am for languages :D

    • Hi, Estanis. Thank you for your comment. Children's ears seem to be able to memorize English pronunciation easily and more correctly than adults. English pronunciation is influenced by pronunciation of the mother language for adults.

  • Hi Tam.

    We have a German saying: "What Hänschen doesn't learn, Hans will never learn."

    We always call Hänschen when someone's name is Hans as long as he's a little boy.

    The meaning: What you don't learn as a small child, you will never learn so easily and perfectly later.

    It is not that difficult for young children to learn different languages at the same time, as they can distinguish very precisely when they need to speak which language, depending on the person with whom they speak. Then they quickly switch from one language to another.
    It's like a single language for them, I think. There are to them just different words for the same thing. I think we often use different words for the same thing in each language.
    For children who multilingual grow up, it's just an expanded vocabulary. I envy them very much, to be honest, because learning a language at a late age is not that easy.

    Look at the child:


    It's incredible!

    • Oi, Iris

         Lol, we have a similar saying in Polish - What Jaś did not learn, Jan will never know. Jaś is little Jan. :-)

      • Hi, Rys. Nice to know that. I would like to know if others also have similar sayings in that sense.


    • Hi, Rose. Thank you for sharing your opinion. As for pronouns, I agree with you. I think that the earlier they learn it, the more correctly they can pronounce it. However, I heard that some specialists of English education say that early English education is not necessarily helpful for children to improve their English later. One of them says that children's ability of a second language is determined by their ability of their mother language, so it is more important to improve their mother language.

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