New Primary English Curriculum in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

posted by Jürgen Kurtz, Karlsruhe University of Education, Germany

North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the sixteen states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Its brand-new curriculum for learning and teaching English in primary schools is now available online.


3 responses to “New Primary English Curriculum in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

  1. I should love to be able to read the new Primary English curriculum described above but am not a very fluent German speaker, (French being my second language). The reason I am interested is that the UK is just embarking on compulsory foreign language teaching at primary level and I should like to see how the two curricula compare. The UK model is demanding writing and reading right from the start. I feel strongly that effective language learning for young children (i.e. ages 5-8) should focus initially on listening, saying, playing games, singing songs, role play i.e. all things oral with the written word playing only a minor role. This gives children time to become more competent in the literacy of their own language and to have a firm oral foundation in the foreign language before starting formal writing and reading of it (just as they do in their mother tongue). I’d be very interested in knowing more about how other countries tackle foreign langauge learning by young children and also to be pointed in the direction of relevant research on the subject.

  2. Thank you very much for your comment!

    For a review of current research in Europe, see Edelenbos, Johnstone & Kubanek (2006) “The main pedagogical principles underlying the teaching of languages to very young learners.” at

    For further information on the introduction of second/foreign language learning in primary school classrooms in seven European countries see my December 13, 2008 post on ELLiE (Early Language Learning in Europe).

  3. Thank you – this is very interesting.

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