In short, schools are the decision-makers in terms of what to teach, and how to teach, in Primary One and Primary Two, but the syllabus is fixed from Primary Three. Hu (2003) examines the endeavours of students to learn English as a foreign language on the effect of socio-economic backgrounds. Teacher beliefs as a complex system: English language teachers in China. The ‘one child’ policy, introduced in 1978 and officially applied in 1979, has changed the family and social structure in China (Chai 2012). Beijing: People’s Education Press. Each school had students from different socio-economic backgrounds. This has resulted in different problems: first, the students have suffered great pressure from learning English; second, this pressure has been due to the fierce competition to be admitted to quality secondary schools and universities. doi:10.1111/j.1447-0594.2009.00563.x. S3_S7: I will use my own money (gift money received from family and relatives in Chinese New Year) to enrol myself in English classes, if my parents do not approve this decision. Second, the status of English is lower than the other two core subjects, Chinese and mathematics, mainly due to there being fewer teaching hours. According to Cenoz and Lecumberri (1999), the early introduction of a second language may have advantages on ultimate achievement but not on the rate of acquisition. Many international businesses conduct meetings in English, universities teach courses in English and, around the world, tourists and travellers use English as a common language. There are many languages in the world like Urdu Chinese Hindi English and many more. This is why foreign language education in school is very important. Within this structure, children in urban areas have become the centre of families and are carefully nurtured by their parents and other family members (Fong 2007). S1_S8: This is because we can approach foreigners and communicate with them if we learn English well. Adopting a qualitative research design, which included six focus group interviews with students, the study investigated the attitudes of students toward the learning of English in the primary schools. Thus, the pressure of English learning is also directly related to the Gaokao (the Tertiary Entrance Examinations). Therefore, the actual needs of students have to be explored and considered prior to the introduction of new policies. Netherlands: Springer. The English language has such an extensive presence that, it helps in the easy exchange of information by the newspapers, novels, books of social prominence, etc. Table 4 shows the details of their early exposure. The Importance of English Language Learning and Teaching in South Korea Sunny Gavran School of Education, The Faculty of Arts, Education and Human Development Victoria University Submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Education 2013 . However, the status of English is very contradictory, as in exams, Chinese, mathematics and English are always considered as three core subjects, particularly because they are worth the same marks. English Language Education in China: Policies, Progress, and Problems. California Privacy Statement, The influence of the United States and Great Britain on political affairs and international relations for the past 100 years has ensured the proliferation and acceptance of English as the primary spoken language in many countries. This raises questions about the real status of English in primary school education and whether it is really perceived as important. 2007. In short, the students’ opinions are worthy of note and should be acknowledged by the policy makers and the Ministry of Education (MOE). Adamson, Bob. S1_S3: I think English is a world/international language. Brown, Philip H, and Albert Park. In 2001, the MOE issued a document entitled ‘Guidelines for Promoting English Language Instruction in Primary Schools’ (MOE 2001) emphasising a new approach for using English for effective interpersonal communication. Regardless of the SES of parents, their high expectations and demand for English education for their children were the same. In China and English: Globalisation and dilemmas of identity, ed. The present study has answered the three initial questions: whether students believe that English is important in primary school education; why do they think the way they do; and what are the potential implications. This reflects the dilemma surrounding the attitudes of students towards English education. The structure of the family has been transformed into a ‘4-2-1’ model; four grandparents, two parents, and one child in each family (Shwalb et al. English as a medium of instruction in Asian education (from primary to tertiary): Implications for local languages and local scholarship. Knowledge of the English language is important to learn to be able to communicate with others, in the teaching of immigrant students, and in finding and maintaining a job. It is the method through which we share our ideas and thoughts with others. This means that whether you’re working in Beijing, or travelling in Brazil, studying English can help you have a conversation with people from all over the world. Most recently, the latest version, 2011 English Language Cur- Hu, Guangwei. Cortazzi, Martin, and Lixian Jin. This result was not surprising as there has been a trend to introduce English earlier and earlier into the school curriculum across Asia (Kirkpatrick 2011). Five students interviewed reported that they had first encountered English when they were in their first year of government funded kindergarten. In addition, as English was still regarded as a minor subject in Primary One and Two, the students felt there was less pressure, despite the need for assessments and homework. Poverty and basic education in Rural China: Villages, households, and girls’ and boys’ enrolment. Table 3 shows the student reference number, age, interview group, year of primary school and which school they were studying at. 2009. Most primary school teachers have a good command of English grammar. School Two is a low SES status school, of which the majority of students have parents who are rural migrant workers. (2011) reinforces the importance of communities beyond the policy making, underlining the necessary research on the ‘bottom-up’ responses to English language education policies, however little research has been conducted. However, from the perspectives of all the students in School Two, it remains a major subject in primary school education. S3_S7: …I like English. These people are migrant rural workers (农民工 nong min gong) who undertake labour and low-status jobs in cities to strive for a better life for their children and themselves. As a result, the structure of English classes in both years varies. Family sources of educational gender inequality in rural China: a critical assessment. The students indicated that their parents expected them to reach a specific standard at school, such as being in the top three in each exam in the class (S3_S2) and above average in the class (S3_S4 and S3_S5). English, based on hours taught, could therefore be regarded as a minor subject. S3_S7: My parents want me to get into NFLS is to study overseas later. Most recently, the latest version, 2011 English Language Curriculum Standard (MOE 2011) has been introduced, maintaining the main concept and design of the previous versions. S2_S7: Many people have started learning English nowadays. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 33(4):345–362. READ Problems Faced by Students in Speaking English Language 2011. In fact, many developed and wealthy regions and cities commonly introduce English from Primary One and Two. Google Scholar. 2007. In the Gaokao, English is one of the three core subjects to be tested and it is worth the same weight as Chinese and mathematics. If [I] could learn it well, [I] would not have a problem to travel around most countries in the world. Economics of education review 21(6):523–541. [In other words], English will not be such an important subject any more. Find out about going to university in an English speaking country. Ministry of Education. Here are ten good reasons to take an English language course. Ethos: American Anthropological Association 35(1): 85–127. Most international business transactions, including emails, memos, reports and contracts, are written in English. Terms and Conditions, However, they reported that their learning of English was not based on their personal interests, but because their parents wanted them to learn it. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. Since Taiwan shares similar socio-cultural concerns in English education in schools, Chen’s study provides a good reference and example for further studies. Hu, Guangwei. These comments highlighted the intensity of parental demand for English education for these primary school children, and also how much pressure these students experienced. Teaching English as an international language in Mainland China. To begin with, ‘the earlier the better’ approach is generally supported by students across the three schools. Four of them said they were stressed from studying English after school. Whether you are looking for a new job or planning to travel the world, studying English can help you progress in life both personally and professionally. Furthermore, in terms of the results analysed, the SES difference is less likely to affect the common belief in ‘the earlier the better’ among the students and their families. At the same time, others also ought to understand English. This document supported the early introduction of English language teaching in China (Gao 2009). Due to the exceeding competition, acquiring knowledge of global languages has clearly become more than important. There were two main reasons. However, a debate regarding decreasing the worth of marks in the English test has been ongoing. The same discussion was held in the focus groups of School Two; however, the group two students compared English with the other subjects. In order to meet their parental expectations, the students were enrolled in extra curricula English classes mainly once a week. However, these updates have challenged all of the key stakeholders in the education process, especially learners in primary schools. According to studies in Sweden, learning a language causes areas of the brain associated with memory, namely the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, to increase in size. New specifications for the English curriculum at primary level were published by the Department for Education (DfE) in February 2013. In English as an international langauge in Asia: implications for language education, ed. S1_S6 and S1_S8: Simply [NFLS] a good school where high quality of English education is provided that can help find a good job. Chengdu: Si Chuan Education Press. Others, for instance, foreign language(s) primary schools sponsored by local governments or community, are more flexible with the teaching content and aim to offer a more interactive approach in a form of task-based language instruction that is derived the spirit of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) (Littlewood 2007). Chinese parents generally want to invest in their children’s education, not surprisingly as Confucian philosophy prioritises education in society (Wei 2011). The English language in Mainland China: a sociolinguistic profile. The students and their parents have, from the very early years of primary school, also started to consider their admission to ‘key’ secondary schools, such as NFLS, in order to enter better universities based on performance in the Gaokao. For those children whose first language is English, being brought up in international settings is a great opportunity to help them develop a second language. PubMed Google Scholar. B. Jr. Baldauf, and Nkonko Kamwangamalu. This study conducted six focus group interviews with students in three different government primary schools in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. S3_S6: My parents and grandfather prepare me for the national college of arts in stage performance or dancing major…they have never mentioned NFLS. One student reported that her parents suggested overseas study without emphasising NFLS. Today the role English plays as the language in the information and communication age has prompted a rethinking of approaches to the teaching of reading. As my parents focus on my English (study) very much, I have much pressure in English. 2011. Second, they wondered if their parents could provide financial support for them to study abroad (S2_S7) (as many NFLS graduates would go overseas) or whether they have considered this as an option (S2_S5). Wei, Rining. One out of five people can speak or at least understand English! 2010. Why educational language plans sometimes fail. Their participation was approved by their parents/guardians. We do not know all languages so English is a useful language if we are talking to someone from some other country.English is used in most of the countries especially in the United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. International Journal of Educational Development 29(5):474–486. This website is operated by BSC Group Limited, a company registered in England & Wales. S2_S4: I think English is important. English teaching and learning in China. Examples were provided by two students S3_S6 and S3_S7. The study was conducted in three different government schools with varied socio-economic status. However, one student, S3_S6 was an exception as his parents wanted him to follow the track of ‘performing arts’ not ‘academic’ study. Table 8 summarises what their parents expected them to achieve in English tests. 2015. 2012. Some children may be fortunate enough to stay with their parents in cities; however, they have to look after themselves or be cared for by their older siblings. They did mention NFLS; however, only one or two of them were willing to sit the entry test. Three students had also started to think about the Gaokao. S1_S10: I think English test is necessary, because English is a native language of overseas countries. English is considered to be one of the most important business languages due to being the de facto language of the United States and the official language of the UK, Canada, India and South Africa. 2011. Most schools and teachers are willing to get more support to be able to teach EAL learners effectively.
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