CfBT Education Trust has published a report into the teaching of foreign languages. It looks both at the research evidence on early language learning and the policy implications. The report considers the research evidence on the cognitive benefits of learning a second language, and finds that these are found in young foreign language learners as well as for bilingual children. There is also evidence of the ways in which studying another language helps with literacy in a child’s first language, and provides opportunities to study language in general.
The report finds that the research evidence is less clear about when a child should start to learn a foreign language. An early start alone is not a guarantee of success – the amount and quality of teaching, as well as continuity of learning into secondary school, are important.
Source: Education’s hardest test: Scaling up aid in fragile and conflict-affected states (2010), CfBT Education Trust