Cambridge IELTS 9 Essay | Some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school

IELTS Writing Task 2

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic:

Some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school rather than secondary school.

Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

IELTS Essay Answer | Cambridge IELTS 9 Practice Tests Academic Writing Test 1

It is a widely accepted fact that young children have a greater learning capacity for languages than when they are older. There are already many bilingual schools based on this concept. Young children can generally handle two languages much easier without the instinctual need to translate between their native language and the second language. This is not the case with older children as their first language becomes dominant.

The benefits of learning more than one language as a young child are very good, as are the benefits of being bilingual or multilingual as an adult. Better cognitive development, mental agility and thinking in a less rigid manner are just some of the benefits. It also equips children with language learning skills for the modern world where work and other daily activities can be globally based.

While learning languages as a young child is a good thing, the time dedicated in the curriculum to learning a foreign language means that there will be something else that is not being taught, or learned. Do all children need to learn more than one language? This is difficult to qualify as the necessity for a foreign language may not arise until later in adult life. What is more, if a child learned French as a foreign language at school, but as an adult needed to learn Russian for work related reasons, then would there be any benefit from having learned French as a child. The answer is probably yes, because as experts say, having already learned a second language, learning a third is even easier because a person now has two references languages to refer to and make comparisons with which makes the learning of the third language easier.

Young children of primary school age are capable of learning more than when they are older and distracted by many things, especially in teenage years, so overall we could assume that the benefits of learning a foreign language as a young child would outweigh the time detracted from other subjects, as probably young children would be required to dedicate less time overall to obtain the same linguistic result as an teenager.

How would you answer this IELTS essay question about some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school?

  • Do you think it's important to learn a foreign language at a young age?
  • Would you agree/disagree that learning a new language at an early age is helpful for children
  • Should learning a foreign language be compulsory for all children?
  • What are some of the advantages of learning different languages?