Some experts believe that it is better for children to begin learning a foreign language at primary school rather than secondary school.
Do the advantages of this outweigh the disadvantages?
This essay question is from Cambridge IELTS 9 Test 1 Writing Task 2.
Some experts believe that starting learning another language at primary level is better than at secondary level. I think the downside of this outweighs the upside because young pupils may have a great workload as a result.
On the one hand, young children are better language learners than older ones. Primary school-aged children are at an early stage of learning, and therefore tend to be very open to new ideas. That is to say, they are less likely to find the different pronunciation and grammar of a foreign language strange and difficult to learn than their counterparts at secondary school. However, I do not think this gives them a major advantage in life because many people have become successful, either professionally or financially, without mastering a second language.
On the other hand, studying a new language at primary level can greatly increase young pupils’ workloads. One more language to learn means more classes to take and more schoolwork to do. Take China, where English is compulsory at all primary schools. Chinese pupils often spend about half an hour every weekday just on their English homework. And to outperform their peers, many of them enrol in weekend English classes. I think this puts young pupils at a great disadvantage because at their age, they should spend more time enjoying leisure activities rather than burying themselves in endless academic tasks.
In conclusion, although primary school-aged children tend to be good at acquiring a foreign language, I believe this advantage is far outweighed by the disadvantage of the heavy workloads that come with it.
How to Vary Your Language
a foreign language
- another language
- a second language
- a new language
at primary school
- at primary level
- primary school-aged children
- young pupils
Pupils vs Students
- Use “pupils” if you are going for British English. In British English, “pupils” is the usual word for schoolchildren.
- Use “students” if you are going for American English. ‘Pupil’ is much less common than ‘student’ in American English.
How to Answer “Do the Advantages Outweigh the Disadvantages” Question
For example, my opinion is that the disadvantage outweighs the advantage. So in my first body paragraph, I first discussed the advantage, and then explained why it isn’t a big advantage (the red part). I then went on to discuss the disadvantage in the second body paragraph and explained why it’s a huge disadvantage (the red part).