Fourth Grade Analysis Essay

Grade analysis results show that school success in Croatian and English is very good, but through years of schooling that success slowly decreases. This is especially emphasized in the fourth grade, where the fall in success is the most obvious. Teachers attribute that to the development phase that children are in. Moreover, they say it is due to more difficult curriculum in the fourth grade. The survey shows that students are highly motivated for different activities in the class. There is the slight difference in English and Croatian.

Students rank reading very high, both in English and Croatian. Listening and speaking are in the middle position. Conversation is better ranked in the English than in the Croatian class. The main difference is that students like to write more in the Croatian class than in the English class. According to the results, this is probably due to the difficulty in writing English words. An interesting fact is that learning the foreign language takes a lot more place in the human brain due to more neuron connections involved in processing information.

This is why it is more difficult for students to do tasks in English than in Croatian, like writing. The student survey also shows that students in English class like games, singing and learning new words the most. Similar results are found in ELLiE research. Enever also mentions these activities as the most interesting ones to young learners of the foreign language [10]. Moreover, students like learning Croatian and English very much (Figures 4 and 5) and they do not think they are hard to learn (Figures 6 and 7).

Students say that Croatian helps them to better understand the foreign language and they find it useful when the English teacher speaks sometimes in the mother tongue. Bates and Whiney [11] in their competition model also advocate that the mother tongue have a significant influence in learning the foreign language because students often try to find language equivalents in their mother tongue and confide in the language rules of the mother tongue.

So, before learning the foreign language they have the language awareness developed that helps them draw parallels between languages and see the differences. Most of hypotheses of the research are confirmed: Croatian and English parallel learning does not decrease language acquiring, but enhances it and encourages language development processes because the brain receives more information in bilinguals and makes a complex network of information that support one another.

This is visible in the grade analysis which confirms very good success in both languages. Further on, the second hypothesis cannot be entirely confirmed because according to students’ grades students are more successful in English in the first, the second and the third grade, but in the fourth grade that changes and the significant fall in the success in English is recorded.

Teachers who were interviewed explain that this is due to the complexity of Croatian language and teaching areas in Croatian class. The important thing to consider is also the number of lessons per week in each subject. While Croatian is held every day, English is held only twice a week, so there is a disbalance between the complexity of the teaching content and teaching hours in these two subjects.

The third hypothesis can also be partly confirmed because students expressed in the survey that they are highly motivated and positively oriented towards language learning, and this can indicate a greater success in language learning. However, there are more factors that influence language learning, and this is one of them. So, to examine stronger correlation between these factors and school success, the further research needs to be conducted. But this is a good start and indication for further studies.