Developing Language Curricula for Young Language Learners

  • Shelagh RixonEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


This chapter describes the processes by which curricula for teaching English to elementary school-aged children are arrived at, the distribution of responsibilities for devising young learners’ curricula, and the varieties of curriculum model that are found in response to different settings. It also discusses the ways in which curriculum decisions are documented and made available to teachers, parents, and other stakeholders in education and the relationships that can exist between curriculum design and assessment systems.

It is argued that the values attributed to English and the relationships that the English language may have with the national language and other languages used in the host country are an important dimension in much curriculum decision-making, some of which may be strongly influenced by political figures who do not themselves have educational or linguistic expertise. The relationships that English may have with other subjects on the school curriculum, including other foreign languages, are also addressed. It is argued that language curriculum design for young children needs to be approached in a different way from design for older learners and that, when converting a language curriculum for children into concrete teaching plans, as well as specifying language content, it is valuable to include syllabus strands that are “child-friendly” and have cognitive, educational, and cultural values. The success with which curriculum specifications reach full classroom implementation is seen as partly dependent on transparency of communication within the education system but also requires coordination of teacher education and the provision of resources. The focus in this chapter is on the state school system but with discussion, where relevant, of the role of the private sector.


Syllabus design Curriculum English as a second language English as an additional language English as a foreign language Primary school English as a medium of instruction 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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