Pre-Primary Teachers' Beliefs about Early Foreign Language Learning in Slovenia

Mateja Dragarin Fjokar
2016 Journal of Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics  
The introduction of foreign languages into the early years has spurred a need for qualified teachers. Most of the recent studies (e.g. Garton, Copland & Burns, 2011; Mourão & Lourenço, 2015; Murphy & Evangelou, 2016) reveal that there are not enough teachers who would be proficient in a foreign language and at the same time have thorough knowledge of the preschool curriculum and methodology of teaching foreign languages to young learners. More pre-service and in-service teacher training in this
more » ... area is highly recommended. In Slovenia, there is currently only a two-year in-service teacher-training programme for preprimary teachers who wish to gain a formal certificate to teach English to children from the ages of 3 to 6 and only a few teachers have finished it. Nevertheless, the research shows that in 2009/2010 almost half of Slovene kindergartens (47,5%) offered some form of foreign language teaching to children and we can assume that this number has grown in the last six years. Ideally, foreign languages would be taught by trained pre-primary teachers, proficient in foreign languages and early language teaching methodology, and therefore we have conducted a research among 369 pre-primary teachers, asking them about their beliefs about early foreign language learning. Questionnaires were administered to all the participants in the study. The results show that most pre-primary teachers have a positive attitude to early foreign language learning. Most of them think that children should start learning a foreign language in kindergarten and that foreign language learning should be integrated into the preschool curriculum. They think that foreign languages should be taught by qualified preprimary teachers and approximately half of them are willing to train for early FL teaching. Their attitude to early foreign language learning brings an optimistic forecast into the future, but there is still a lot to be done for effective inclusion of foreign languages into pre-primary education.
doi:10.14706/jfltal163113 fatcat:tycspcj3rnfzjhdxm3zl3z5roi