When I read this story – executive summary: A working group under the Ministry of Education wants to push the introduction of English forward to the first grade (7-8 years) – I couldn’t help thinking of this note by Johnson on the Economist’s website:
Starting young, while it seems a good idea, may not pay off: children between eight and 12 learn foreign languages faster than younger ones, so each class hour on English is better spent on a 10-year-old than on a six-year-old. Between 1984 and 2000, the study’s authors say, the Netherlands and Denmark began English-teaching between 10 and 12, while Spain and Italy began between eight and 11, with considerably worse results.
Eight years of age would probably be more like the second or perhaps third grade in primary school.
I reckon that the working group’s recommendation that English should be “a second language” in Denmark is yet another step in the direction of domain loss that we are already seeing in business and education. Ambitious parents will be looking for opportunities to send their children to English-only schools or classes.
And, yes, I am as always aware of the irony that this blog etc, etc…