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Feature: The disadvantages of early english education to preschoolers at home

By Ronshel T. Laguna

(September 10, 2017) - The Philippines is a multilingual nation with more than 170 languages. They use Filipino as their national language or their “lingua franca,” while English as the medium language for instructions and their respective mother tongues.
English is also the most commonly used language among foreign language speakers throughout the world when people with different languages come together, they use English to communicate. One of the primary benefits of learning English is that it is often considered the language of global business. The international business community often uses it for communication, even among people who do not speak the same native language.
Meanwhile, Filipino as defined by the Commission on the Filipino Language (KWF) is "the native language, spoken and written, in Metro Manila, the National Capital Region, and in other urban centers of the archipelago." 
Filipino is ideally a pluricentric language - a language with several centres, each providing a national variety with at least some of its own (codified) norms. Generally, pluricentric language is used across the boundaries of individual political entities, so that the language and the ethnic identity of its native speakers do not coincide (Clyne 1992, pp 1-2).
The Philippine constitution recognizes Filipino and English as the two official languages [Art. XIV. Sec. 6 and 7]. It also says that “regional languages as the auxiliary official languages in the regions xxx shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein.” In fact, the Philippines has around 181 languages, 17 of which are qualified for the new mother tongue  or the Mother Language-Based Education and are being used in kindergarten and the first three years of primary education nationwide (Abueva, 2013).
Mother tongue or L1 is the person’s first language. A person speaks it the best and so is often as the basis for sociolinguistic identity (Bloomfield,2008).
Learning mother tongue is no easy task. The most important years of learning begins at birth. During these early years, humans are capable of absorbing more information than later on,(Ogbu,1991). The brain grows rapidly in the early years. During these years, parents are responsible for the learning of their child. Parent involvement in early literacy is directly connected to their child’s academic achievement, (Erika Burton,1974). Equipping the preschoolers with English Education basically on how to read, write and speak is what we call Early English Education. Parents need to interact with their children like supporting, explaining, endorsing and challenging them to move on from what they know about English. An important way of doing this is to involve children in real literacy tasks in which they can make a meaningful things enabling them to do with an adult what ‘tomorrow’ they will be able to do independently.
Here’s a story of Mrs. Anet, a mother that used to train her child to read books or some other types of literature. Sometimes, she reads it for her more often times and teaches her child to write English words. Letting her child sing or recite nursery rhymes, talks to her child also using this medium of instruction. Julia, her child cannot read but rather understand what her mother reads. She can write the correct spelling of some basic words in English. She can speak and make a short conversation using English language.
Because English is a first language for many countries, many other nations teach it as a requirement in schools. According to (B.Miller,2004),“It is estimated that over a billion people in the world speak English on at least a basic level.” For many people, the benefits of learning English involve the new opportunities that become available to someone who understands it.
However, for some teaching English to preschoolers may also have some disadvantages in which the language is learned, if kids are in touch with the English language since they are born, they may start speaking three to six months later; than those who are raise in a monolingual environment, children will temporally mix languages, additional effort from parents and children to encourage each other to learn the foreign language is needed (Silke Rheman, 2010).
Those disadvantages fortunately appear at the early process of learning the language. One of the most remarkable disadvantages that children have at the moment of being taught in English since they are born is that they might start speaking three to six months later. Rehman says that “You can expect your bilingual child to begin speaking about 3-6 months later than his/her monolingual peers”. Monolingual children are expected to say their first 8-10 words around the age of 18 months and their first 2 word sentences around the age of 2 years. Also she recommends that “if monolingual children don´t talk in the first 6 months, they have to go and ask a doctor.” On the other hand, if bilingual kids do not start speaking after the extra six months there must be language confusion or a medical factor that is blocking the learning process.
Another significant disadvantage of teaching English especially in preschool is that children will temporarily mix languages. Rehman states that “It is normal for bi-/multilingual children to mix up languages until about the age of 4. If children are lacking the right word in language A, they will borrow it from language B to communicate their message.” It means that they may temporally mix the languages affecting the way they interact or communicate their ideas or messages to others. ###

Silke Rehman (2010) Make Your Child Multilingual!: The 10 Step Success Plan to Raising Bilingual / Multilingual Children, Booksurge Llc.
Clyne, Michael G., ed. (1992). Pluricentric Languages: Differing Norms in Different Nations. Contributions to the sociology of language 62. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Jose “Pepe” Abueva (2013) Seeking Unity in Diversity: Sustaining Our Multilingual and Pluralistic Culture, The Bohol Chronicle.


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