In many schools across the United States, foreign languages are still not even offered until high school – yes, high school. As you have also most likely read, this isn’t the ideal time to introduce a new language. Okay, so what do you do if you would like to see foreign languages introduced earlier? Advocate.
First, you’ll need the reasons why foreign languages should be introduced at an earlier age. For a sampling of research, I would recommend the American Council on Teaching Foreign Language’s web site Discover Languages, Discover the World! Here you will find a good amount of information. On their What the Research Shows page, three major areas are listed:
How does language learning support academic achievement?
How does language learning provide cognitive benefits to students?
How does language learning affect attitudes and beliefs about language learning and about other cultures?
For annotated bibliographies of the research in support of elementary school foreign language learning visit this page.
Once you’ve gathered the research from here and other resources such as CAL (Center for Applied Linguistics), then you need a plan. Again, the ACTFL site has information on their Foreign Language Advocacy page.
Glastonbury Foreign Language - Foreign Language Advocacy: A Case for Foreign Languages (The students in this community have studied at least one foreign language beginning in elementary school since the 1950s.)