1995．第10卷第1期（Vol. 10 No. 1）．pp. 3135
Should We Start Teaching English at Primary Four? An Examination of Neurolinguistic and Sociolinguistic Perspectives on English Language Teaching
Eva Fung-Kuen LAI
This paper reviews the theoretical background for the alternative approach in English language teaching proposed in the Education Commission Report of the Working Group on Language Proficiency. First, the theoretical constructs of Cummins' Common Underlying Proficiency (CUP) model are examined. Two studies designed to test the CUP model are reported and findings are discussed with reference to the Hong Kong situation. Second, the Critical Period Hypothesis is described. Though there is no support for this hypothesis, the elements of time-on-task and cognitive maturity are brought up and weighted in the local context. Third, the sociolinguistic perspective of English teaching is investigated through two surveys, one with junior secondary students as subjects and the other with English teachers as subjects. Having considered all the research findings relating to age for English to be taught as a foreign language, it is suggested that English teaching be started early rather than late in Hong Kong. To improve on the current situation, the English teaching practice should be examined and an effective and enjoyable curriculum should be designed for the primary children.