The introduction of English at a number of primary schools in central and eastern Switzerland has not lived up to the arguments put forward by the politicians who proposed the move.
This is the finding of a study on multilingualism and language learning funded by the National Science Foundation and led by Zurich's College of Teacher Education.
Research showed that while most schoolchildren liked learning English they were not really learning for the same reasons as the politicians had wanted, namely globalisation, youth culture and equal opportunity.
Few schoolchildren had the opportunity during their free time to have productive and interactive contact with English, the researchers found.
As for the use of English expressions in youth language, this had little to do with the teaching of a language at school.
The researchers, who examined cases in cantons Zurich and Appenzell Inner Rhodes, also found that High German was of more importance when young people were looking for an apprenticeship.
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