Parental choices in early years language education. A case study of middle class mothers in Al-Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

Al-Harthi, Maryam (2014) Parental choices in early years language education. A case study of middle class mothers in Al-Madinah, Saudi Arabia. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Recently, a new policy of the reformed Saudi educational system with regard to teaching English as a foreign language in the last two years of primary schools has caused ongoing debate among educators. The local media has its share in that debate with the views of both the supporters and the opposition.
This research focuses on the parents’ views and their parental choices in having their children introduced to English at an early stage. The research looks at parents who decide to have their children introduced to English at pre-school level; the rationale for parents’ choices at this stage of education is crucial, as this sort of education is not compulsory and therefore the decision is completely parental. Moreover, parents who were involved in the study put their children in a private kindergarten where English is introduced as part of Early Years Learning (EYL) programme.
The context of the study is Al-Madinah, one of the most important cities for Muslims around the world; the city has its own history in foreign languages, and the people are used to foreigners. Even though the study adopts a qualitative approach, questionnaires were sent to 13 private kindergartens for both head teachers and English language teachers in order to explore the wide view of the status of English in private kindergartens in Al-Madinah.
Data collection went through three stages in which Rowad, a private kindergarten was the case for the study. The study had 19 mothers involved in the first stage. Mothers rationalised their choices with academic-like discussion to emphasise their children’s moral imperative to early years learning; they also highlighted the importance of early exposure to English. Being from an advanced minority group, the decisions mothers made were affected by several social attributes; their cultural capital along with their social capital have had an impact in the way they justify their choices.
The study succeeded in investigating the views of some mothers in the city of Al-Madinah about early exposure to English as a foreign language, and helped in providing the views of parents with regard to the issue alongside the existing views of educators and researchers.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: Users 2259 not found.
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2014 14:04
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2014 14:04


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