|Published online: May 9, 2014||$US5.00|
The paper focuses on the findings and implications of a two year nationwide study investigating parents’ attitudes towards the introduction of English in the first and second grade of public primary schools in Greece: the English for Young Learners programme. The study was conducted through questionnaires completed by over 11.000 parents during the first two years of programme implementation (2010/2011, 2011/2012). The results of the study were quite revealing, being promising and alarming at the same time. Although parents in the second year of the EYL programme implementation were found to be more positively predisposed towards this innovation and were in agreement with its central principles, a larger percentage of parents in the second year had either enrolled or expressed their intention to enroll, their children in private language institutes for extra English language instruction. This financially exerting practice reflects parents’ perennial lack of trust towards the quality of foreign language provision in Greek public schools and is a result of their deep-seated belief that foreign language instruction equals foreign language certification. Most importantly however, this practice poses serious threats to the effective implementation of the programme and may negatively impact young learners’ attitudes towards languages and lifelong language learning in general given that the nature and purpose of instruction in the two educational institutions is different. As a result of the study’s findings, a programme aiming at raising parents’ awareness of the benefits of early language learning at school and at involving parents more actively in the language education of their children with the cooperation of the class teacher was developed. The rationale and main actions of the “parent involvement” programme close this paper.
|Keywords:||Early Language Learning, Parental involvement, Innovation, Parental Attitudes|
The International Journal of Early Childhood Learning, Volume 20, Issue 3, May 2014, pp.21-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 9, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 784.733KB)).
Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature,, Language and Linguistics Division, University of Athens, Athens, Attiki, Greece