Danish Young Learners inside and outside the classroom: Perspectives on learning English

Signe Hannibal Jensen, Maria Vanessa aus der Wieschen

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This paper explores the importance of starting age for learning a foreign language taking into account classroom practices and extramural activities. Looking at learners receiving formal English education from the 1st and 3rd grade on respectively in terms of their classroom activities and their engagement in extramural English activities, the paper explores the following research questions: Which types of English language activities are 1st and 3rd grade Danish students engaged in inside and outside school? Is there a difference in receptive English proficiency between the two groups? If so, can this be explained by classroom practices or engagement in extramural activities?
The study involves 300 Danish learners of English (ages 6-11). Receptive vocabulary (PPVT™-4 ) and grammar (Trog-2) tests were administered at the onset of formal teaching and after 1 year. Classroom practices were evaluated by video-recording and coding English lessons in 15 classrooms. Extramural habits were investigated via a language diary where children via self-report reported on extramural activities.
The analysis shows that classroom practices are strikingly different for 1st and 3rd grade starters, while there is little variation within the two groups. Yet Young and very young learners engage in very similar EE activities despite the difference in age. Receptive posttests show that 3rd grade starters are more proficient than 1st grade starters after one year. However, our pretest showed that the 3rd graders were already more proficient than the 1st graders to receiving formal instruction, leaving us to assume the differences lie in the extramural activities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date28. Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 28. Apr 2016
EventChild foreign language learning: Between theory and practice. - Pedagogical University, Cracow, Poland
Duration: 28. Apr 201630. Apr 2016
Conference number: 1


ConferenceChild foreign language learning
LocationPedagogical University
Internet address


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  • Child foreign language learning

    Maria Vanessa aus der Wieschen (Speaker)

    28. Mar 201630. Mar 2016

    Activity: Talks and presentationsGuest lectures, external teaching and course activities at other universities

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