10 Common Problems Faced by Children When Learning Foreign Languages

language problemsLanguage is a tool or media for communication and expression. Language enables people to convey their feelings, ideas and thoughts. There are different types of languages throughout the world such as English, French, Hindi, Arabic etc. Children face many problems while learning foreign languages. Steam education encourages kids to learn new things. Here we have listed 10 most common problems faced by children whilst learning foreign languages.

1. Spoken vs written language

This is one of the common problems faced by any child while learning a foreign language. There are some languages, whose spoken and written forms are different, for example English and French. A child may find it difficult to differentiate between the spoken and written form of these languages because they hear them very fast and at the same time, writing them is a tedious job for them. They may also find it difficult to write these languages.


The problem can be solved by practicing both the forms of language. In written form, if a child is not able to write something correctly, they should be given ample time to practice before checking it with him.

2. Accent

A child’s accent while speaking a foreign language is not good enough and therefore others cannot understand what he says or sometimes they laugh at his accents. This leads to problems when speaking foreign languages. Children become reluctant to speak in the foreign languages because of this.


The problem can be solved by practicing more and also by taking lessons with a native language teacher or any other person who is good at that language. More listening to native speakers can also help improve the accent. Children should be encouraged to speak more.

3. Lack of interest in learning foreign languages

This is another common problem faced by children when learning a foreign language. A child may be more interested in playing with friends, watching TV or playing computer games and not want to learn a new language. This makes the teachers job more challenging.


In this case, the child should be given some tasks to do in the language so that he enjoys. For example, they could write a story or create a conversation with his friends in that language. They might enjoy following a recipe to make a nice food that is traditional in the country where the language is spoken. They could watch cartoons in the language with subtitles or watch Youtube videos aimed at children.

4. Teaching methods

Different people find different ways to learn foreign languages, some people like visual method because it is fast and easy to understand whereas some others prefer audio way. Some children may be more interested in one type than the other, for example they may hear languages better than seeing them so they will not want to watch a video or a presentation. This may lead to several problems during learning languages.


The solution to this problem is to find out how a child prefers learning. In case of visual learning, they can be given some pictures along with the lesson and in audio presentations. The child may prefer listening so might enjoy catchy songs or listening to podcasts.

5. Lack of Time

This is another problem faced by children at the time of learning foreign languages. Many times, students fail to complete their assignments because they don’t have enough time to do it. This leads lower grades and marks in their examinations which affects their overall performance in class. They may not be able to concentrate on other subjects as well due to lack of time.


In this case, a student should be encouraged to manage their time carefully. If he or she is not able to do an assignment in one go, he can break it down into smaller sections to make sure that it is fully completed by the deadline.

6. Lack of Vocabulary

This is another common problem faced by children while learning any foreign language. Children pick up words from other people and use it in their daily lives but while learning a foreign language, they need to be taught with the new vocabulary which might seem difficult for them to understand and learn. Due to lack of vocabulary, students find it difficult to express their thoughts and ideas in foreign language.


The problem can be solved by continuous practice and also by taking lessons with a language teacher. The teacher can give different exercises to the students that will help them improve their vocabulary. For example, they could carry out vocabulary tests each week or get them to learn so many new words each day or each week. They can use a flashcard app such as Memrise or Ankiapp to help them review the words for a few minutes each day.

7. Over thinking

Over thinking is another major problem faced by children when learning foreign languages. Children often find strange words in a language and puzzle over how to say them or write them down. This makes them think about the meanings of these words which often leads to over thinking. For example, if they see the word; “May I come in?” in English, they may try to understand what it means and this may lead to over thinking.


The problem can be solved by not thinking too much about the words. The child should try to use them in conversations and also by writing them down.

8. Fear of classroom settings

Some children feel shy or uncomfortable while learning a new language in a classroom setting; they do not want to speak in front of others or answer questions which are asked. They may find it difficult to reach their full potential within a classroom setting.


In this case, the child should be given more individual attention from the teacher. In some cases, the child may feel shy because he is not able to speak the language properly. The teacher can help him overcome his fear by giving him more attention and also by praising him for his good efforts.

9. Reluctance to changing your old ways

This is another common problem faced by children while learning foreign languages. They consider that they are already good at their native language and it will be difficult for them to learn a new language. They start thinking that they cannot change the old ways of teaching which affects their learning abilities.


In this case, the child should be encouraged to learn new things and not to be afraid of change. The teacher can give him different types of exercises that will help him to improve his language skills.

10. Fear of speaking

This is the most common problem faced by children during learning foreign languages. Some children are afraid to speak in front of others because they think that they will not be able to speak that language fluently or they will not be able to answer questions wrongly which may lead to embarrassment in front of others.


One of the best ways to overcome this problem is by taking small steps and speaking little by little. The child should try to say short sentences first and then move on to longer, more complex ones. They should be encouraged and congratulated on their speaking, however short the sentence.

Final conclusion

These are the most common problems faced by children while learning foreign languages. Teachers should consider these problems and try to find solutions for them so that it will be easier for students to learn new languages easily and get along with their classmates better.

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