Teaching English to young learners in Europe: teachers' attitudes and perspectives

Sue Garton*, Fiona Copland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The introduction of languages into the primary curriculum has been the major development in language-in-education policy around the world over the last 20-25 years. In the vast majority of countries the language taught is English and it is being taught at an ever-earlier age. A relatively large amount of research has been carried out in Asia into teaching English to young learners (TEYL) from the point of view of language policy and planning and of policy implementation, especially in terms of the gap between policy and practice caused by the introduction of new methodologies such as communicative language teaching. However, to date far less research has been carried out into the situation in Europe, particularly concerning the attitudes of those most closely involved in policy implementation - the teachers themselves. This chapter examines the attitudes of teachers in six European countries (Italy, Latvia, Macedonia, Poland, Spain and Ukraine), uncovering the challenges they face and the changes they would like to see enacted to improve English language learning and teaching in their countries. The implications for policy, planning and teacher education are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAttitudes towards English in Europe
EditorsAndrew Linn, Neil Bermel, Gibson Ferguson
Place of PublicationBerlin (DE)
PublisherWalter De Gruyter
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-61451-551-7, 978-1-5015-0069-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-61451-735-1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2015

Publication series

NameLanguage and Social Life
PublisherWalter de Gruyter
ISSN (Print)2364-4303


  • language teacher education
  • language-in-education policy
  • primary curriculum
  • teaching English to young learners


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