Early efl education is on the rise in oman: A qualitative inquiry of parental beliefs about early efl learning

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Abstract

Today’s parents are more interested in having their children acquire English language skills as early as possible because they see the demands of the globalizing world context and contemporary trends in society and wish to ensure that their children can live in a future (quite possibly) English-speaking society. These developments, particularly in the Gulf Region in general and in Oman in particular, have led the educational sector to accelerate efforts over the last decade to initiate hundreds of early childhood education programs that offer bilingual education systems. However, no research has been conducted in the Omani context on parents’ beliefs about early instruction in English as a Foreign Language (EFL); claims regarding this issue remain speculative. This qualitative research study investigated parental beliefs about early EFL learning in Oman. Participants were 11 parents with children enrolled at a bilingual early childhood program. Interviews and a demographic survey were conducted. Findings revealed that parents are well aware of the benefits, challenges, and solutions of early EFL education. An exhaustive description of parents’ beliefs about early EFL learning was extracted. Implications and recommendations for research, policy, and practice are offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-43
Number of pages9
JournalEnglish Language Teaching
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 20 2015

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Oman
parents
learning
education
childhood
bilingual education
research policy
research practice
foreign language
education system
English language
qualitative research
speaking
Education
instruction
trend
interview

Keywords

  • Bilingual children
  • Early childhood education
  • Early EFL learning
  • Oman
  • Parental beliefs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

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abstract = "Today’s parents are more interested in having their children acquire English language skills as early as possible because they see the demands of the globalizing world context and contemporary trends in society and wish to ensure that their children can live in a future (quite possibly) English-speaking society. These developments, particularly in the Gulf Region in general and in Oman in particular, have led the educational sector to accelerate efforts over the last decade to initiate hundreds of early childhood education programs that offer bilingual education systems. However, no research has been conducted in the Omani context on parents’ beliefs about early instruction in English as a Foreign Language (EFL); claims regarding this issue remain speculative. This qualitative research study investigated parental beliefs about early EFL learning in Oman. Participants were 11 parents with children enrolled at a bilingual early childhood program. Interviews and a demographic survey were conducted. Findings revealed that parents are well aware of the benefits, challenges, and solutions of early EFL education. An exhaustive description of parents’ beliefs about early EFL learning was extracted. Implications and recommendations for research, policy, and practice are offered.",
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