First Adopted in 2017
It is commonly acknowledged that there are about one billion people who speak English in the world today. Children are learning English at younger ages in most countries around the world and English is a compulsory subject in many countries in the primary grades. The growing demand for English worldwide and the beliefs among parents that “younger is better” in terms of learning English and that the development of higher levels of English skills will provide their children with access to jobs and opportunities for upward mobility have resulted in more programs for teaching English to young learners. The motivations for introducing English to young learners cannot be based solely on assumptions about biological readiness. What may matter more than age in determining when to begin English instruction are factors such as how English is valued in the community, the conditions under which the language is offered, the type of instruction being used, children’s prior experiences with literacy, and the educational backgrounds of the teachers. Because research on teaching English to young learners has implications for the formation of policy and because more empirical research needs to be conducted on teaching English to young learners in school settings, TIRF seeks research proposals to promote our understanding of language learning by children in different contexts worldwide.
TIRF’s research priority on teaching English to young learners may be addressed through a number of different research topics, such as the examples that follow:
- effective program models,
- types of curricula in use and their effectiveness,
- government policies regarding the starting age of English instruction,
- inclusion of culturally appropriate materials,
- effective use of learning strategies,
- literacy instruction and oral language development,
- age and literacy instruction,
- duration and intensity of instruction,
- assessment of young learners,
- evaluation of programs and curricula, and
- curricular continuity.