Subjects: English-knowing bilingualism, Parents’ linguistic behaviour, Home language environment, Language inputs, Language acquisition, Language learning, Mother tongue language curriculum reformation
This study aims to study parents’ attitude, perceptions, and behaviours towards bilingual education in Singapore’s bilingual social context. The study involves 78 young Singapore’s Chinese parents, using mixed methodologies including multiple choice questionnaire, interview, checklist, and focus group discussion to collect data. Qualitative and quantitative research have shown four important findings. First, young parents acknowledge the importance of learning mother tongue to maintain cultural heritage. They also realize that Chinese could become their next generation’s crucial social capital in the future. Those families have great potential in raising bilingual children. Second, more attention should be paid to the gap between young parents’ positive attitude and passive behaviour in supporting children’s bilingual learning. Third, there are some misunderstandings about bilingual learning. Some parents doubt or deny the possibilities of fostering bilingual children and simply think learning Chinese language would impede children’s English competence. Fourth, parents focus more on children’s primary school study rather than kindergarten period, including learning interest, reading, and writing of written language abilities. More in-depth research is needed to examine the relevance of those four findings as well as propose a more comprehensive perspective for research on Singapore’s future bilingual education reform and development.