Starting a new research project is not an easy task because many decisions have to be made, and much work has to be performed. There are several critical steps for topic choice, including brainstorming and identifying the topic’s main characteristics. It is expected that research contributes to knowledge by answering a scientific question using a credible methodology. Therefore, my goals are to find a topic that meets my interests and preferences and define an area where my findings can result in changes and improvements. Today, an investigation may be developed in special fields like business management, health care, politics, advertisement, education, natural or social sciences, and art. I selected educational research because it is a chance to diversify teaching and learning practices and understand what people need at different stages of their education. In this assignment, I will explain how and why I chose “Impact of Parental Involvement in Second Language Learning on Children of Pre-School Age (4-6 Years)” as a topic for my research.
One of the main questions that I tried to answer during the initial stage of my research is what methods I might use to complete my work and make my project recognizable and necessary. There were several ways for me to start with: to conduct a direct survey to acquire new knowledge, to re-evaluate old knowledge, to test methodologies, to generate new studies, or to describe development processes critically. I decided to focus on new perspectives of the already existing problem in my study. Instead of analyzing the already done work, my purpose is to offer fresh ideas.
As soon as I clarified the research direction, the next step was connected with questions. It means the time to identify the area of the investigation came. Career choice, professional growth, and financial success are related to the way of how a person is educated. Modern students get a variety of options to learn subjects and find a practical application to their theoretical knowledge. Therefore, I paid attention to the field of education. Due to the current pandemic situation and globalization outcomes, many students continue their education online or under strict conditions. Children’s education undergoes serious changes because parents expect to offer the best opportunities, and teachers need to demonstrate effective techniques and approaches. At this moment, my topic was narrowed down to such issues as an original study about parents’ roles in children’s education.
The following task was to think about the process that should be improved. Nowadays, people like studying several languages to deepen the connection with other cultures, travel independently, and advance career paths. Second language learning has to be a conscious process, and the earlier education begins, the better results will be observed. To come up with a final topic for this research, I surfed the web and read recent articles with such keywords as “parental involvement,” “early education,” and “second language learning.” Regarding the results of current studies, second language attainment is high during the first ten years (Birdsong, 2018). Parental involvement has a number of benefits, and the establishment of proper motivation and positive environments is critical (Alawawda & Ozge, 2020). Taking into consideration my findings and personal preferences in research, the topic “Impact of Parental Involvement in Second Language Learning on Children of Pre-School Age (4-6 Years)” was chosen.
Importance of Topic
The importance of investigating parental involvement in relation to early second language learning is predetermined by several factors. First, millions of people around the globe are interested in enhancing their communication skills, and the use of several languages turns out to be a significant priority. In many European countries, the trend of learning a foreign (usually English) language is highly appreciated due to the worth of international connections, career development, and personal interests (Alawawda & Ozge, 2020). Parents think about the best bilingual environments, compare learning strategies, and investigate the details of school education. The second reason for selecting this topic is the intention of families to start learning the second language at an early age (Alawawda & Ozge, 2020; Birdsong, 2018). At this period of life, children demonstrate good skills in acquiring new material, and their linguistic sensitivity allows language competence in the future. In other words, students of a pre-school age face a few or no physical or neurological challenges in learning several languages, and parents want to provide their children with the best education opportunities.
Another reason to explain why I choose such a topic for analysis is related to current attention to parents’ roles in the child’s education process. In modern schools, teachers try to encourage the participation of adults in children’s development. Therefore, a number of interventions are offered to promote parental involvement in pre-school settings. As cited in Alawawda and Ozge (2020), parents are able to influence their children’s proficiency in second language learning, but their educational level and motivational factors have different outcomes. As a result, it becomes interesting for me to analyze the characteristics of parental involvement in second language learning from the point of view of motivational factors and education levels.
Finally, the value of the chosen topic can be explained through learners’ aptitudes. Many researchers continue arguing about the effectiveness of such issues as children’s abilities, talents, and giftedness (Birdsong, 2018). Memory capacities, neurobiological maturation, and cognitive mechanisms determine students’ motivation to learn a new language (Birdsong, 2018). However, if teachers choose appropriate methods, invite parents for cooperation, and focus on the skills of every child separately, it is possible to achieve good results in foreign language studies.
Education at an early age is commonly practiced in many developed and developing countries as it is a good contribution to children’s growth. It is not only a solid preparation for primary education but a unique opportunity to promote holistic development and recognize a child’s social, cognitive, and physical needs (Maleki et al., 2019). Pre-school age is a period when a child acquires a number of qualities for communication, education, interaction, and recognition of personal interests. In addition, children between four and six years are eager to cooperate with their parents and follow their examples as behavioral and social models. Their neuronal plasticity is a neuro-cognitive mechanism that allows language learning (Birdsong, 2018). It means that the chosen age period is appropriate for introducing new knowledge and practicing the required skills.
Second language learning is one of the recent tendencies in education. It is characterized by additional brain activities and improved cognitive and social functions (Birdsong, 2018). To become a successful initiative, Alawawda and Ozge (2020) suggest improvements at several levels: school environment, outdoor activities, and parental conversations. Parental involvement plays an important role in recognizing the importance of a foreign language, combining native cultural and foreign beliefs, and evaluating early education worth. Children use the options offered by their primary and secondary caregivers without thinking about their potential contributions to lifelong learning and well-being. They complete tasks, cooperate, ask questions, and demonstrate different attitudes toward the environment (Maleki et al., 2019). The chosen research topic enhances the current position of second language learning and parents’ role in education.
This study aims to investigate parental involvement practices in their children’s second language learning and offer recommendations for early childhood education. Several supportive purposes are established to divide research into several meaningful sections:
- To observe how parents are involved in pre-school activities;
- To focus on the impact of parents’ education level on cooperation with children;
- To identify the main motivational factors in second language learning;
- To learn the expected outcomes of studying a foreign language;
- To give several recommendations for parents and teachers in pre-school settings.
A descriptive, cross-sectional study will be developed to investigate the peculiarities of parental involvement in second language learning among children aged between four and six years. To learn more from this research, I plan to begin with a literature review to find out what researchers think about this practice and what recommendations they share. To discover new information, I will conduct an empirical investigation based on the cross-sectional design (differences between participants) and descriptive elements (opinions of participants). I will select several pre-school facilities that meet the following criteria: teachers encourage parental participation in learning a foreign language among 4-6-year-old children. Through direct communication with parents (open-ended and close-ended questions), I will pay attention to what motivates parents to choose second language learning for their children, their education level, and how they participate in an education process. At the end of the study, I expect to discover that parents with lower levels of education are poorly engaged in their children’s acquisition of a foreign language. Other outcomes are related to motivation to study a second language (career success, well-being, and social development) and preferred practices (home environment and cultural contexts).
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.
Birdsong, D. (2018). Plasticity, variability and age in second language acquisition and bilingualism. Frontiers in Psychology, 9. Web.
Maleki, M., Mardani, A., Mitra Chehrzad, M., Dianatinasab, M., & Vaismoradi, M. (2019). Social skills in children at home and in preschool. Behavioral Sciences, 9(7). Web.