How to teach very young learners…successfully

Sarah Mortimer

In the first of the webinar series, Herbert Puchta, author of Super Safari, tells us how to teach very young learners successfully.

In this webinar, Herbert discusses:

  • What is the best age for learning another language?
  • Six key principles for teaching pre-primary children
  • Eight powerful strategies- using examples from Super Safari


What is the best age for learning another language?

The Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) suggests that the best time for learning a foreign language is between the ages of 2-12, and new learners who start after puberty will not speak at the same standard as a native speaker. Herbert reminds us, that though age is a factor, there is no clear scientific evidence to support CPH or define the link between secondary language acquisition and age.

Six key principles for teaching pre-primary children

Herbert believes it is possible to create conditions for under five year olds that provides a meaningful context. To do this, he proposes a set of quality principles to base teaching on, in order for learning to be successful.

  • There is no evidence that learning a language ‘too early’ might have a negative impact on L1 development.
  • Young children need more time than adolescents and adults to learn a new language.
  • They benefit from meaning-focused activities and natural language use – not from explicit rules.
  • Early language learning can have a positive influence on children’s cognition.
  • An early start can foster children’s attitudes and motivation, and so have a positive effect on their proficiency later on.
  • Teachers need to apply an age-appropriate methodology.


Eight powerful strategies – using examples from Super Safari 
    • Multi-sensory vocabulary drilling.
    • Rhythm and auditory sub-modalities for memorising difficult words.
    • Word revision through memory games.
    • Word revision through ‘odd one out’ activities.
    • Novel instructions (Total Physical Response).
    • Task listening.
    • Backward chaining.
    • ‘Sandwiching’.

To learn more about the eight strategies, for successful learning, and watch the full webinar please click on the link below.

Find out more information about Super Safari here.

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