Critical Issues in Early Foreign Language Literacy Instruction: Taiwan Experience
In Taiwan, learning English is not just a national trend; it is a national craze. In the national curriculum guide released in 2000 by the Ministry of Education, English class was, for the first time, mandated in the fifth and sixth grades. Starting in 2005, English teaching was extended to the third and fourth grades. Studies show that 71% of children in Taipei, the capital city, and 60% to 70% in Taiwan have been learning English outside the school system at cram schools or private language institutes (Chen, 1995; Wu, 1998). The entry into the World Trade Organization, the talk of globalization, and the trend of knowledge economy are among the forces that push the people of Taiwan to have their children learn English at a very early age.