This year, TEDx is full of presentations in which Esperanto is the centerpiece. At Cambridge, Tim Morley asserts that, according to his experience, teaching kids to read in Esperanto first, and then, after they’ve learned to think about language and math, in English.
Is it really better to teach children to read in Esperanto before their native language? That’s what Tim Morley assures us at TEDxGranta (Cambridge).
I’ve seen five-year-olds who were struggling to read and write English, but they discovered they were capable of doing it by reading in Esperanto. It was so much easier, and that gave them them the confidence they needed to get on with the English. I’ve seen nine-year-olds, when faced with the task of “circle the adjective in the sentence,” the first thing they did was translate the sentence into Esperanto in their head, because adjectives are much easier to spot in Esperanto.
And if, as Morley claims, it’s better to learn to think about language and basic math first in Esperanto, and only later in the native language, wouldn’t it be all the better for someone who never became bilingual in the languages s/he studied? Wouldn’t all those English [as a second language] textbooks that appear in bookstores and kiosks every September seem to indicate the same thing?
I know the language exclusivists will find this painful to hear, but when it comes to languages, aren’t we using an inappropriate pedagogical technology, which is difficult to use, and which diminishes our possibilities for intellectual development out of stagnation or nationalism?