Parental Involvement in Early Second Language Learning

Introduction

Second language learning is a common tendency that is observed in many pre-school facilities around the globe. Researchers relate the uniqueness of language acquisition at an early age to brain plasticity (Luk et al., 2020). However, there are many other factors that determine the possibility or necessity to learn a foreign language, including parental involvement, personal motivation, and the environment (Alawawda & Ozge, 2020). According to Puccioni (2018), the impact of parental involvement on children has not been thoroughly investigated at the moment, and the contributions of this practice remain an urgent theme for discussion. In this study, the analysis of current trends in second language learning will be developed, and recent studies will be used to explain the urgency of the chosen topic. Despite evident benefits of expanding teaching outside the classroom, parental involvement is characterized by certain barriers connected to ineffective motivation or the lack of professionalism. This literature review will identify the main aspects of parental involvement in early second language learning.

Parental Involvement in Pre-School Activities

Pre-school activities play an important role in child development and the establishment of a favorable environment in education. Many colleges and universities underline the necessity of this practice as teachers are able to understand a family’s culture and parents see what their children have to know (“Ask an expert,” n.d.). Kalaycı and Öz (2018) admit that parental involvement has a positive attitude toward many academic and psychological aspects of childhood education. However, in this study, researchers believe that gender, age, or education level make no difference in the child’s progress (Kalaycı & Öz, 2018). Although their findings are relevant to the area of research, their validity is limited due to the offered sample in Turkish schools only. Puccioni (2018) finds that Black and Hispanic parents are more interested in the behavioral skills of their children and pay more attention to home-based involvement compared to White parents. In addition, parents’ beliefs also depend on education level and family background within the schooling context (Puccioni, 2018). Such contradictions in findings require additional research and clarification in terms of different communities.

Impact on Parents’ Education

Parents’ skills and intention to support their children in early education cannot be ignored in the learning process. Gross et al. (2020) identify three engagement models that explain the peculiarities of academic success, namely parent investment, teacher investment, and social capital. This study focuses on the first engagement model according to which parents have to invest in their children by providing financial and emotional support. According to Gross et al. (2020), parents should help children do their homework, read together, and explain the importance of early education in a clear way. All these activities prove the necessity for parents to have a solid background, meaning an appropriate education level (Alawawda & Ozge, 2020). Tsebe and Scherman (2020) conclude that some parents are less involved in their children’s education because of insecurity and low education levels. The chosen studies prove the worth of parents’ educational level in early education, as well as contradictions in researchers’ opinions.

Motivational Fac tors

There are many reasons why modern families support the necessity for children to know several languages. Li et al. (2020) define global interconnectedness as the major factor that makes multilingualism “the norm rather than the exception” (p. 1). Second language learning is not only interesting for children but easier compared for adults who want to use similar opportunities. One of the possible motivational factors may be related to biological structures and brain functioning. Luk et al. (2020) say that bilingualism is a naturally-occurring experience, and language use provokes positive changes in neural cells and their action potential. Another critical element in second language learning is promoting positive attitudes toward what children do (Rahman et al., 2017). If parents and teachers demonstrate their admiration of the child’s activities, young students are eager to learn more. Personal attitudes like interest in studying English, watching original movies, and improving English proficiency levels can also motivate children (Rahman et al., 2017). In most studies, researchers aim to clarify the reasons for foreign language learning from the point of view of students. In pre-school education, the motivational factors of parents should not be neglected.

Outcomes of Second Language Learning and Parental Involvement

When a child wants to know a foreign language, parents try to discover as many positive outcomes as possible to promote their children’s passion. In addition to the fact that about 50% of Americans speak another language other than English, bilingual populations become easily adaptive to new conditions and requirements (Li et al., 2020). Second language learning is not only an opportunity to know another language but a chance to improve intelligence (cultural differences, traditions, and ethnic groups), obtain verbal fluency, and enjoy reading (Luk et al., 2020). Alawawda and Ozge (2020) mention that language provision is a solid contribution to career growth, job placement, healthcare services, and financial resources. Students improve their behaviors in classrooms (Rahman et al., 2017). Parents know what their children should know and how to explain new material (Tsebe & Scherman, 2020). Teachers set clear goals regarding the child’s level of knowledge and available resources (Puccioni, 2018). They expect parental involvement in language learning to create effective environments and promote collaboration.

Conclusion

The findings of the studies in this literature review create a solid background for the current project about the importance of parental involvement in children’s second language. Such factors as motivation (parental, teachers, and student) and the level of education of parents have to be thoroughly investigated. Pre-school practices should be properly developed to understand how to improve students’ abilities to learn a foreign language. As soon as the contributions of parents are clearly identified, the outcomes of second language learning may be formulated. The hypothesis of this research is that parental involvement in second language learning determined by motivation and education levels has a positive impact on children’s skills and desire to study. Further aspects must include recommendations for teacher-parent-student cooperation in a language learning environment.

References

Alawawda, M., & Ozge, R. A. Z. I. (2020). Parental involvement in early second language learning: The role of the immediate Environment. Revista de Cercetare si Interventie Sociala, 69, 23-48. Web.

Ask an expert: What is the importance of family involvement in early childhood education? (n.d.). National University. Web.

Gross, D., Bettencourt, A. F., Taylor, K., Francis, L., Bower, K., & Singleton, D. L. (2020). What is parent engagement in early learning? Depends who you ask. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 29(3), 747-760. Web.

Kalaycı, G., & Öz, H. (2018). Parental involvement in English language education: Understanding parents’ perceptions. International Online Journal of Education and Teaching (IOJET), 5(4), 832-847. Web.

Li, F., Pollock, K. E., & Gibb, R. (2020). Integrating multiple views and multiple disciplines in the understanding of child bilingualism and second language learning. In F. Li, K. E. Pollock, & R. Gibb (Eds.), Child bilingualism and second language learning: Multidisciplinary perspectives (pp. 1-5). John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Luk, G., Pliatsikas, C., & Rossi, E. (2020). Brain changes associated with language development and learning: A primer on methodology and applications. System. Web.

Puccioni, J. (2018). Parental beliefs about school readiness, home and school-based involvement, and children’s academic achievement. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 32(4), 435-454. Web.

Rahman, H. A., Rajab, A., Wahab, S. R. A., Nor, F. M., Zakaria, W. Z. W., & Badli, M. A. (2017). Factors affecting motivation in language learning. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 7(7), 543-547.

Tsebe, A.T. & Scherman, V. (2020). Towards a theory of parental support: Development of English first additional language for grade 4 learners. Literator, 41(1). Web.

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