Ty Kendall wrote:
...I really don't think you can equate the opportunity for an poverty stricken African kid given the chance to learn English with your average British kid, who really doesn't see any benefit in learning French.
I think that the point is that bad teachers will motive no one. Children don't have the same perspective towards future benefits as adults. For them learning should be more fun and of immediate interest and good teachers can make all the difference.
Or do they dropout because of local conditions? Civil unrest/Civil wars, pressure to start employment - economic realities/necessity....
It is not that the whole Africa is under perpetual war and civil unrest. In most places the living conditions may be quite dire by westerner's perspective but in general they are stable and sufficient for continuing basic education. If the school is dull the children be more likely to drop out for whatever reason.
This is not just a problem in Africa, this happens the world-over. Don't see this as a uniquely African issue.
Absolutely. The difference is, as you mentioned, that British (and many other Western) children will not be limited if they don't learn a second language so it is not an issue for them or their parents.
Yes they are in an immersion situation but their exposure to English is often extremely limited outside of school for their formative years). These children not only acquire English, but often go on to achieve more than their monolingual British peers.).
I think that even immigrant children in the UK have a lot of exposure to proper English during school years. They surely watch TV, play with other children etc.
I am not an expert but my personal experience was quite interesting. I had difficulties learning Russian at school that was mandatory in Latvia at the time. After some time I did not understand much what was going on in the classroom and I simply tuned out. It is worth noting that most other children had no such problems with Russian. They mostly learned by watching Russian TV and playing with Russian speaking children on the street. I didn't have such an exposure and my only learning practice was the classroom. Only later I realized how useless were those teaching methods. It was when I discovered that with better methods learning languages can be both fun and profit. I never thought that translation will be my future occupation and I concentrated on learning sciences instead. That knowledge turned out quite useful when I started my translation career.
[Edited at 2011-11-13 16:16 GMT]