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Prof. Dr. Heiner Böttger (Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Germany) and Prof. Dr. Norbert Schlüter (University of Leipzig, Germany)



Current Issues in Primary Foreign Language Teaching In our keynote



In our keynote address, we will elaborate on the latest developments, projects trends and research in early foreign language learning and teaching, dealing with the matter not only from a national but also from an international point of view. In particular, we will focus on primary children's language preconditions and potentials as well as on the application of digital analysis tools to determine the oral language competence of young learners at the end of primary school.


It has been a long winding path from the first FFF conference on Progress in Early Foreign Language Learning in Weingarten 2004 at ATFLY 2022 Online: Prejudices, myths and misunderstandings have paved it, some of which are still alive. The right age to start learning a language, linguistic progress, teacher education, bilingualism, gaps in school transitions from primary to secondary as well as the true cognitive potential of primary pupils, amongst so many more, were much discussed issues with wide ranging consequences in curricula development as well as in teaching methodology. 


FFF conferences, together with the BIG-Thinktank, have always been home to extensive fundamental and empirical research and publications on state-of-the-art methodology, and this will continue to be the case for the ATFLY conferences. The latest findings since FFF 2021, including those from current development psychology and early language educational neurosciences will be mainly addressed in this first keynote speech as a driveway/lead-in to the conference's further ground-breaking contributions.


The continuation of the FFF conference series as an internationally oriented ATFLY conference plays an important role for the future development of early foreign language learning in Germany and beyond. It is certainly indispensable in its contribution to the national debate on language teaching and learning at primary level with the help of results from international studies and research.


The current issues in primary foreign language learning not only show how much the field has developed in recent decades, but they also mark and define the beginning of a future evolution in children's foreign language learning. We assume to recognize evolutionary potential and growing requirements in dealing properly with multi- and plurilingualism, while keeping a keen eye on global citizenship rather than just intercultural competences, and last but not least integrating more implicit and digital aspects of methodology.