"A Chronic Shortage of Language Teachers"
That's what the Nuffield Study found in their survey of the (in)effectiveness of their foreign language education. We have the same chronic problem.
Lack of a suitable teacher supply was cited as the reason for program failure in 50% of the cases reported in the Australian LOTE Report.
We could ignore it, or gripe about it, (the usual responses!) or we can do some fresh thinking.
Normal primary school practice is to provide general education through generalist teachers, which is both practical and appropriate for young children. The generalist teachers who teach primary Science, Mathematics and English are not necessarily qualified to teach Advanced Physics, Calculus, and Literature, but they are able to teach the foundation concepts, on which sophisticated understandings can later be built.
Languages also have foundation concepts that can usefully be taught by a generalist teacher, providing a timely start, a broad intercultural perspective and flexibility for the child to choose later which other languages have enough personal significance to be worth his or her time.
The Silver Lining
Once we start thinking about using what we have (generalists), instead of what we are lacking (specialists), we can see that in many ways, the best person to teach a young child a new language is that child’s own usual teacher. S/he: