Prior research suggests that it is easier to learn a new language prior to age nine because of the brain development process (see Statistic Of The Day: How Long Does It Take To Learn English?).
But a new just-released study finds that this may not be the case:
An Ed Week article elaborates on these findings: Ability to Learn Languages Stays Strong Until Late Teens, New Study Finds.
I’ve obviously never mentioned to my English Language Learner students that past research had found that it would be more difficult for them to learn English.
However, sharing these new finds, I think, could be a useful motivator.
More importantly, though, I think this study will help me become a better teacher. Though I’m obviously a big believer in the power of a growth mindset (see The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset”) and the importance of looking at students through the lens of assets and not deficits (see The Best Posts On Looking At Our Students Through The Lens Of Assets & Not Deficits), I wouldn’t be surprised if thinking it would be more difficult for teens to learn English unconsciously affected my expectations for students. Those expectations would certainly have had an impact on my teaching.
Food for thought for me and, perhaps, for others….