South Korean parents told: pre-school English ‘harmful’ (Good goal, bad approach)


This is an interesting article. It’s one of those articles that I both agree and disagree with. It is one of those many times in which an organization uses emotional, yet undersupported claims in an attempt to get people to pursue a beneficial change.

The argument that early language learning is harmful is laughable. They are basing this on a couple of studies that run counter to piles of research finding no significant difference or even positive outcomes for early childhood language learning. I’ve seen this many times in my writing classes. I have students take a position on this topic and they do pretty good research papers. Those who write papers opposing this always bring out the same “evidence” that is buried in low-quality journals, or more likely, from blogs and newspapers.

However, with the intention of strengthening public schools and reducing the drive for private institutes (hagwons), I wholeheartedly agree. Children don’t need 12 hours of schooling a day. They probably don’t need half of that in elementary school and I’d say they need much less than that in pre-school. At younger ages they need time to play, socialize, and experiment with the world around them. This forms the foundation for intellectual growth later in life.

This group (WWW) really seems to have this as their mission. I just disagree with the evidence that they are presenting against early childhood language learning. It’s simply weak evidence that has no business of being represented as “fact”.

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