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Summary of Research on Foreign Language Learning
Foreign Language Main Page
Additional Pages:
Foreign Language Study and SAT-Verbal Scores
French and Spanish Levels 1 and 2 Overview
French and Spanish Levels 3 and Higher Overview
Goals for a Middle School Foreign Language Program
GPS - French and Spanish Level I, II, and III
GPS - French and Spanish Level IV, V, and VI
GPS - French and Spanish Level VII and VIII
Proficiency Levels Needed in the Work World
Summary of Research on Foreign Language Learning

A survey of research on early language learning provides evidence that many benefits accrue to children who learn a second language.  Those include:

  1. The ability to speak another language and communicate with people from a different culture.
  2. Improved performance in other basic skill areas, such as reading and math.  (Students of average intelligence seem to make particularly impressive gains in reading skills.)
  3. Improved cognitive flexibility, better problem solving and higher-order thinking skills.
  4. Higher SAT and ACT scores.
  5. Higher test scores on standardized tests, such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, the Metropolitan Achievement Test and the Louisiana Basic Skills Test, in reading, language arts, math and social studies.
  6. Gains on measures of performance I.Q.
  7. Improved communication skills, including better listening skills and a sharper memory.
  8. Enhanced career potential.

In order for these benefits to accrue, it is important that the foreign language program have the following characteristics:

  1. Instructors must possess native or near-native fluency and a thorough knowledge of developmentally appropriate teaching methods.
  2. Instruction must take place in the foreign language.
  3. Students should receive a minimum of ninety minutes of instruction, two to five days a week.  Daily instruction is optimal.
  4. The program must provide an extended sequence of foreign language study that is articulated with the middle and high school program.

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