Offering 0pen and Honest Professional Advice
Socpie - Why the Welsh Government is Unlikely to be able to Implement its All Welsh Policty
Professor Sue Garthcole, who is the brain research unit of Cambridge University, who specialises on working memory, illustrates the vital role that language has on children's educational success. They are not glorified voice recorders, who will instantly retain everything that they are taught, learning is a process of cognitive growth.
Many children struggle to learn through their native language. Children will always learn more effectively in the language that they are most fluent in. The capacity to retain information in working memory will be less in an unfamiliar language will be less. It will even be less, if children need to translate what they are processing from English.
The strongest predictor of children school attainment is working memory. Whatever working memory children possess, the higher the working memory they have, the more they will be capable of achieving. Learning through an unfamiliar less fluent language, will lessen children's learning capacity. This is an indisputable fact.
The impact on their mathematical learning, which makes vast demands upon working memory, will be high. There is the issue of how learning maths in Welsh will prepare children for their everyday lives.
Learning in maths, languages and science will always be more difficult to apply for children of average and more especially, lower than average working memory capacity. Children who chose or are compelled to be educated through an unfamiliar language will need to worker harder to develop the fluency to effective learn through an unfamiliar language.
Language fluency is fundamental to all children's learning development. Compelling children to be educated in a language their parents cannot speak will dis-empower them to support their children's learning.