This thesis is one out of three PhD projects in the “The younger, the better?”- project (Cadierno & Eskildsen, 2018). The project as a whole, and therefore my thesis, investigates the role of an earlier starting age in foreign language learning. This became a relevant topic in Denmark in 2014 when the onset of English classes in Danish primary schools was lowered from 3rd to 1st grade.
The participants in the studies conducted in this thesis are 264 Danish Young Learners. About half of these students have started learning English in the 3rd grade, as it was usual before the 2014 school reform, the other half consists of the first generation of Danish Young Learners starting English lessons in the 1st grade. Data in the form of multiple-choice English tests and video-recordings of classroom interaction was collected during the Young Learners’ first two years of instructed English lessons.
Against this background, my thesis investigates the role of classroom practices in early English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teaching by posing the following research questions:
• Will there be differences between earlier (age 7) and later (age 9) starters of English language learning in their rate of learning and short-term L2 proficiency (i.e., after 2 years of instruction) with respect to the following language dimensions: receptive vocabulary, receptive grammar, and receptive phonological discrimination?
• What is the role of inside-school quantity and quality of exposure to and use of English in children’s rate of L2 learning and short-term L2 proficiency? To what extent is this variable a good predictor of faster rate of learning and higher level of short-term L2 attainment?
• How is intersubjectivity co-constructed in early English as a Foreign Language classrooms and how does this turn into learning moments and microgenesis?
|Publication status||Published - 2017|