The challengs facing kindergarten teachers for deal with children whom English is an additional language - Essay Example

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The purpose of this study was to establish the challenges faced by kindergarten teachers when dealing with children whom English is an additional language. The study used qualitative research methodology in collecting the data. The data obtained from the literature review and…
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The challengs facing kindergarten teachers for deal with children whom English is an additional language
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The purpose of this study was to establish the challenges faced by kindergarten teachers when dealing with children whom English is an additional language. The study used qualitative research methodology in collecting the data. The data obtained from the literature review and open-ended questionnaires was analyzed by using grounded theory analysis. The implications in this study noted the importance of early and regular evaluation of bilingual children’s development of both languages in order to monitor children’s growth in their two languages.
In the first chapter, the paper introduced the topic and discussed the overview of the research question in depth. There was the definition of the research question and the explanation of the significance of the paper. The second chapter looked into the literature of challenges faced by kindergarten teachers when dealing with children whom English is an additional language. The chapter critically evaluated the consideration of the essence of bilingual education in the kindergarten. This chapter mostly focused on various policy issues in the UK related to kindergarten classrooms that teach English as a second language. The third chapter concentrated on the research methodology and design. This was a qualitative research because the results are expected to describe challenges facing ESL kindergarten teachers, rather than predicting the challenges.
The fourth chapter dealt with the outcome of the study. The discussion of these findings is in chapter five. The section dealt with the interpretation of results of the study into the challenges faced by teachers of kindergarten pupils with EAL. The last chapter focused on the conclusion and recommendation of the study. Here, the paper identified implication for the change and summarized the key findings.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Introduction…………………………………………………………...
1.1. Overview of the study………………………………………………………………
1.2. Aims and Purposes of the research…………………………………………………
1.3. Significance of the study……………………………………………………………
1.4. Research questions………………………………………………………………….
Chapter TWO: Literature Review…………………………………………………….
2.1. Introduction…………………………………………………………………………
2.2. Bilingual Education…………………………………………………………………
2.3. Aspects of Bilingual Education for EAL Children Internationally…………………
2.4. Meeting EAL Children’s Needs in the Classroom………………………………….
2.5. Cultural Compatibility in EAL Kindergartens………………………………………
2.6. Advantages and Disadvantages of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education………….
2.7. English is an Additional Language…………………………………………………..
2.8. Summary………………………………………………………………………. ……
Chapter Three: Methodology………………………………………………………….
3.1. Introduction………………………………………………………………………….
3.2. Research Design…………………………………………………………………….
3.3. Research Method……………………………………………………………………
3.3.1. Construction of the Questionnaire…………………………………………………
3.3.2. Questionnaire data analysis…………………………………………………………
3.3.3. Reliability of the Questionnaire…………………………………………………….
3.4. Research Sample……………………………………………………………………...
3.5. Access…………………………………………………………………………………
3.6. Ethics………………………………………………………………………………….
3.7. Summary……………………………………………………………………………....
Chapter Four: Results……………………………………………………………………
Chapter Five: Analysis and Discussion…………………………………………….........
Chapter Six: Conclusions and Recommendations ……………………………………...
6.1. Overview………………………………………………………………………………
6.2. Summary of key findings ……………………………………………………………..
6.3. Implication for change………………………………………………………………...
6.4. Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………….
Appendix 1: A Proforma for staff and students beginning a research project……………..
Appendix 2: Institution consent form………………………………………………………...
Appendix 3: Consent form for Questionnaire……………………………………………...
Appendix 4: Questionnaire…………………………………………………………………
Chapter One: Introduction
1.1. Overview of the study
According to Clarke (2009), most parents who English are not their families’ first language, worry how their children will cope in an English-speaking kindergarten. Kindergarten teachers are used to helping children whose English is an additional language. Statistics indicate that, one in nine kindergarten pupils learns English as an additional language in the UK (Colombo, 2014).
A language mismatch between teachers and the children they teach in Kindergarten, as noted in a study by Bialystok (1991), can result in uncomfortable classroom experiences for some children and teachers. The children that join Kindergarten and find familiar environments and teachers who speak English, feel they are moving ‘around the same world’ as they go from home to school and vice versa (Clarke, 2009).
Studies indicate how teachers in Kindergarten, who share the same language (English) with pupils, can minimize some differences between home and school. These teachers not only provide basic education, but they also serve as role models, validating the identities of children who take English as the second language (Fillmore, 2014).
EAL pupils come from very diverse backgrounds. Some pupils come from families that seek asylum, economic migrants, or many other reasons. Furthermore, there are some EAL learners who were born and raised in the UK but spoke other languages apart from English (Fillmore, 2014).
Many studies have concentrated on studying the challenges of teaching EAL learners (Hammer, 2007). These challenges include:
Developing a passion for learning English
EAL learners would like to speak English well. A young kid would be very excited at the idea of learning a new language, specifically, speaking English fluently. The challenge here is that, these children are not aware of the learning process itself. For most young learners, learning English becomes a duty. They do not develop a pleasure in learning English. Therefore, the problem is that, most EAL learners do not like learning English (Hammer, 2007).
Making the first change to one’s life
EAL learners are making changes in their lives by making the decision to learn English. For instance, a kindergarten pupil may be made to read a book in English for 10 minutes every day. This is a difficult and permanent change in the pupil’s life, especially when English is not ‘fun’ (Hammer, 2007).
Making further changes to one’s life
The first change is always difficult. Similarly, the subsequent change is hard too. In many cases, pupils in kindergartens take the first step of reading English books for ten minutes every day and stop there. They forget about other English-building steps (Hammer, 2014).
The question most people ask themselves is, ‘Are pupils with EAL doing fine?’ The UK government would give a yes for this question. The government has cut funding for such pupils and insists they can learn English within three years. Critics argue that the UK government has contradicted most research and studies on English language acquisition. It is important to note that pupils might attain English conversational skills within two years, and require between four and nine years to attain ‘academic English’ (Houlahan, 2014).
Educational experts have established a model of good practice for the teachers. A study by Pattni-Shah (2008) developed five key principles of good practices for teachers working with kindergarten pupils with EAL. The principles include; activating prior knowledge in the pupil, actively encouraging comprehensible output, provision of a rich cultural background to make the input comprehensible, drawing the learner’s attention to the relationship between key grammatical elements, and developing learner independence (Pattni-Shah, 2008).
Ensuring the bilingual pupils have become orally fluent in English is challenging for the teachers. The teachers put many efforts to ensure the learners of EAL have English skills necessary to operate effectively in spoken English (Houlahan, 2014). In many cases, these bilingual pupils are taught within the school curriculum despite their needs being very distinct. These pupils are learning a language that is not their first. EAL teachers, in this case, have two main tasks. They are supposed to teach English, and they need to explain the content of the school curriculum (Fillmore, 2014).
The diagram below describes the main factors that influence EAL learners in kindergartens.

The EAL pupils are in the middle of the process of acquiring English. They operate in a classroom and it is indicated that socio-cultural factors affect the pupils’ language, cognitive, and academic development (Fillmore, 2014).
1.2. Aims and Purposes of the research
The purpose of this study is to investigate the challenges facing kindergarten teachers to deal with children whom English is an additional language. The research aims to discuss the development of language acquisition in kindergarten pupils. There are numerous theories and models that the paper will use to describe how language development interacts with cognitive and academic development (Colombo, 2014).
The research intends to describe the importance of first language. It will show why bilingualism confers intellectual advantages (Hammer, 2007). Furthermore, the paper will explain why it is normal for pupils learning EAL to transfer their linguistic and cognitive skills from one language.
The paper will explain how a supportive learning environment is supposed to be. It intends to expound on the following features necessary in a positive learning environment (Fillmore, 2014).
Development of structured lessons that attract the attention of pupils in the learning environment.
Teachers giving out active and engaging tasks to pupils to encourage class participation.
Provision of oral and interactive teaching and learning strategies.
Presence of short-term planning that maximizes learning opportunities
Emphasis on subject-specific language skills. Additionally, concentration on conventions of particular forms of writing. Teachers have to demonstrate this.
Giving chances for oral rehearsal in classes
The paper will conduct a detailed analysis of the principles used by teachers in assessing pupils with EAL. These principles include; identify what pupils can do and reward achievement, base assessment on various forms of evidence, ensure the assessment is a valid reflection of what has been taught in class, guarantee that the assessments are reliable, create a format which is manageable and can be passed on to other staff (Fillmore, 2014).
The paper will look into the attitudes that the teachers bring to the encounter with bilingual pupils, the influence of the bilingual framework on the teacher’s approach and behavior, how teachers cope linguistically when instructing bilingual children, and how the teachers’ experience can be applied to other contexts (Hammer, 2014).
1.3. Significance of the study
The study is significant as it would add to the existing knowledge and theoretical understanding of challenges faced by teachers dealing with children whom English is an additional language.
The study may provide guidance to parents of children with EAP in how to teach English. It may also help the parents gather information to gauge whether their children have mastered English adequately. They will understand the typical stages EAP pupils go through in learning English.
1.4. Research questions
The research intends to investigate the challenges kindergarten teachers in dealing with children with EAL. The research questions in this case are:
Should teachers have some functions and competence in the language and have some familiarities with the cultures of children whose first language is not English? Or should teachers themselves to some extent be bilingual or multi-lingual? Not necessarily fluent of perhaps some element of multilingual capacity?
Should children be allowed to speak their mother tongues in the classroom? Or will this threaten the English society or the whole culture?
Chapter TWO: Literature Review
2.1. Introduction
This literature review aims to review and critically evaluate the consideration of the essence of bilingual education in the kindergarten. This will be followed by a review of research into challenges involved in teaching English as an additional language (EAL) in the kindergarten, as well as the use of bilingual instructions in these classrooms.
In reviewing the relevant literature, attention will be paid to various policy issues in the UK related to kindergarten classrooms that teach English as a Second language, especially for children of immigrants. In addition, literature focused on the relationship between bilingual education and culture will be considered, as well as literature covering the advantages and disadvantages of bilingual education in UK kindergartens.
This literature review will attempt to synthesize information about the necessity for kindergarten EAL teachers to be familiar with the language and culture of children who do not speak English as the first language (L1), while also gathering information about whether children should be allowed to communicate in their L1. Gaps in the literature will be identified for further research.

2.2. Bilingual Education
One of the foremost challenges lies in defining the bilingual-education concept. Adesope et al. (2010) consider the term bilingual education to be a simplistic one for such as a complex phenomenon. Therefore, it is important to consider briefly, the different forms of education that consist of more than one language, allowing the research study to reflect on the challenges that the UK population’s sheer diversity poses.
Starting from the definition challenge of bilingual education also aids in comprehending why bilingual education has not traditionally been practiced meaningfully in the UK. Instead, bilingual education has more often involved the teaching of bilingual children than the offering of a bilingual education (Adesope et al., 2010).
Moreover, considering the differing forms of education with at least two languages involved will contextualize the debate about cognitive benefits that teachers confer with children by offering bilingual education. An array of classifications for different success markers, aims, and approaches have been proposed over the years regarding bilingual education. These take such factors as national political aims of education, minority language status, linguistic and social situation at home, and the type of school (Adesope et al., 2010).
Some of the important features that characterize various programs of bilingual education for children include submersion that does not integrate L1, transitional that supports LI temporally until mastery of English, one-way immersion that does not threaten L1, and 2-way immersion that strongly supports L1 (Ortiz, 2011). Mainstream kindergartens in the UK normally use transitional and submersion models, which means that it tends towards lower-multilingual levels of the spectrum with Wales and, to some extent Scotland, really providing bilingual education. For instance, Zhu and Zeichner (2013) indicate that a pilot study undertaken in Bradford for bilingual education was not enthusiastically taken up with a majority of the teachers responding negatively concerning the use of L1 in the kindergarten classroom.
Agirdag (2014) also shows that the majority of bilingual staff in kindergartens are unqualified and untrained, even if the decision were to be made to offer bilingual support. However, some success stories do exist, although limited to strong-willed persons in small-scale projects striving to make a difference with Agirdag (2014) noting that, even though L1 is rarely utilized as the instruction medium, this is still essential for the linguistic and academic development of kindergarten children.
2.3. Aspects of Bilingual Education for EAL Children Internationally
One of the most common countries cited on how to offer bilingual education is Canada, although Wren (2013) identifies the danger of taking the results of Canadian success in the international context. This is because the majority of the research on the Canadian program does not involve teachers dealing with children of immigrants, while the programs remain underdeveloped with regards to addressing the children’s language needs. French and English are the two best-known successful bilingual programs internationally, meaning that the status between languages is not deemed as relevant.
A mutual respect exists for home culture and language while bilingual education has been a matter of national ideology for majority of developed nations. In addition, bilingual education, it should be noted, is optional where children are relatively homogenous with similar levels of the second language (L2) linguistic ability and teachers and parents of middle-class background (Romaine, 2009). These factors are especially important in the UK and should be noted because of the country’s social and political differences, as well as language diversity.
The bilingual education model in Australia has only developed significantly in the past 40 years after the CMEP program was instituted to cater for migrant children’s educational needs. Baker (2011) claims that, although the Australian model consisted of a deficit model, unlike in the UK, it led to shift away from assimilatory education practices for children. However, Weber (2009) is also quick to point out that the Australian model led to a focus on the exoticism of languages, resulting in bilingual teaching that was largely ineffective and more akin to the UK’s outcome of mainstreaming.
Despite this, specific objectives of EAL teachers have in the past 20 years ensured that, instead of withdrawal classes, parallel classes offered a support program for every bilingual child (Weber, 2009). In addition, Australia has also instituted countrywide courses for skills-training and raising awareness about bilingual education for children and the role of the EAL teacher, equipping the teachers better to work as EAL teachers effectively.
On the other hand, the use of Bilingual instructions in EAL kindergarten classrooms in the US has focused less on English language learners attached terminology, explaining the “Limited Proficiency in English” term that continues to be used to date (Baker, 2014). Bilingualism has been negatively treated in the US historically with the 1919 census considering all those born in the US as English speakers. Ever since the Education boards were mandated to start bilingual education in 1974, it has had a chequered history with Proposition 227 in California positing that English was the language of instruction and that all children had to be taught English as fast as was possible (Baker, 2014).
This was supported by selected evidence showing that bilingual education only had limited success with regards to the improvement literacy rates for the children of immigrants, as well as the fact that majority of children were able to show fluency when taught in English. However, this decision was taken in spite of studies showing that effective and strong bilingual teaching resulted in a decrease in Latino children dropping out of school in the USA (Todd et al, 2014).
With regards to the rest of the countries in the EU, while teaching in the second language at times consists of teaching in and of English, it is mainly reflective of the teaching of the specific country’s official language to communities living there with minority languages and speakers of the immigrants’ heritage languages (Creese & Blackledge, 2010). Various innovative bilingual and multilingual teaching programs for children exist in the EU, of which significant successes and outcomes have been recorded. For instance, the Basque region of Spain saw children who spoke Basque doing better in child assessment results than children who were educated solely in Spanish (Creese & Blackledge, 2010).
Such results lead one to conclude that using a minority language in instructing kindergarten children leads to bilingualism that is more balanced. A specific example of a multilingual nation is Luxembourg, although most of the languages introduced there are mainly German and French, which makes the comparisons with the UK’s bilingual education programs difficult (Creese & Blackledge, 2010).
2.4. Meeting EAL Children’s Needs in the Classroom
Todd et al (2014) note that classroom practice and school policy is essential in enhancing the access of EAL children to the national curriculum alongside their peers who are monolingual, especially due to the fact that UK policy explicitly requires this and holds schools accountable for it. However, one of the important considerations of research has been how a school policy, which is inclusive, can be transferred to teaching practice that is equally inclusive. While taking into consideration the utilization of a second language, the monolingual child would be expected to have a significant chance to learn a new culture and language, while also raising a generation that is more accepting in an environment that is culturally rich.
Thomas et al (2012) note that, national UK policy is aimed at enabling children to use L1 within the classroom in idea development, which also helps in English language acquisition. In fact, bilingual children are more likely to comprehend the fact that writing is a code that varies from verbal language, meaning they may have greater ability to write than others who are monolingual (Thomas et al, 2012). The skills that a teacher develops in children for L1 are transferrable to L2, which lends credence to the importance of teachers helping children develop L1 alongside English.
Creese and Blackledge (2010) highlight the essential nature of first assessing the child’s L1 after they arrive at school for the first time so as encourage faster integration. This, though, must be considered alongside the need not to intimidate the child. The UK Education and Employment Department highlights how important it is identify and include the identity of the child via their religion, history, culture, and language (Cummins, 2009). If a child has just arrived in the UK, it is almost certain that they find the environment unfamiliar and may be insecure about it. Any attempts to do away with their L1 could act as a detriment to the child’s self-esteem because of the L1’s importance in the child’s identity and, subsequently their learning ability.
UK government policy also stresses on the importance EAL children mainly spending their time in the main classroom, although Cummins (2009) notes that it is important for the teachers to handle this carefully as the child may feel intimidated by new culture and environment. A buddy system becomes a good idea in accommodating the needs of a child whose L1 is not English, involving the pairing children with other children who ideally speaks their language in order to aid in integrating the child to kindergarten.
Meeting the needs of children who do not speak English as L1 requires that the teachers provide a welcoming environment that enables them to feel secure and safe. Indeed, Singh (2014) notes that new language immersion for children in a safe environment may prove to be better in teaching them a new language, instead of constant removal from the classroom. Thus, it is more effective to carry out interventions in the main classroom instead of withdrawing the child from their teachers.
It is also vital for parents of the child who does not speak English as L1 to communicate efficiently with the teacher for the child’s benefit. De Lamo White & Jin (2011) find a strong correlation between success in school and the relationship between the child’s teachers, parents and communities. In addition, children learn better, when they interact and socialize with other children. Thus, the effectiveness of a bilingual classroom is dependent on the policy of the school and the way teachers implement it to accommodate EAL children.

2.5. Cultural Compatibility in EAL Kindergartens
According to Schwartz and Shaul (2013), teachers who have a culture that is similar to the children can reduce the differences the children find between school and home and, usually, such teachers can serve as role models to validate the cultural identities of diverse groups of children. Unfortunately, Dixon (2012) also notes that, while the need for kindergarten EAL teachers who are reflective of the children’s cultural diversity is growing, the number of teachers who are culturally diverse is declining.
In his research, Sage (2010), however, indicate that even those teachers who do not share the culture of the children can offer instruction that is culturally compatible if they comprehend the ways of doing, communicating, and knowing that exist in different homes. Kindergarten teachers who appreciate and understand strengths, which are culturally different, can offer learning environments that are responsive, as well as enriching, to capitalize on and celebrate the cultural differences of the children (Sage, 2010).
Still, understanding and appreciating the validity of culturally diverse beliefs and behaviors can also come with challenges for some EAL teachers. Gauthier and Genesee (2011) note that most teachers in the UK socialized and interacted in schools that were mainstreamed for twelve years, while they also took part in teacher programs that were based on the culture of mainstreaming. Most teachers in kindergartens and schools are then placed in situations where they work with similarly schooled colleagues who also have similar professional and educational experiences.
It is maybe for this reason that Safford and Drury (2013) contends that the path to understanding diverse perspectives, as well as appropriate interaction with those of a different culture in diverse situations, needs the teacher to reconsider prior assumptions and consider issues from the perspective of culturally-dissimilar people. García and Baetens (2009) also describe activities that are most likely to overcome cultural barriers in bilingual education and to increase cultural competence as those that allow the teachers to be immersed in productive interactions with diverse cultures, while also promoting the cultural disequilibrium.
2.6. Advantages and Disadvantages of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education
Romaine (1995) contends that when children learn more than one language, these children are able to develop linguistic ability faster than multi-lingual children. Indeed, bilingual education has practical and tangible benefits that aid the bilingual individual to process information within their environment better. This may also explain why it is easier for children given a bilingual education to learn a third language compared to monolingual adults attempting to learn a second language. This advantage, according to Romaine (1995), could be the result of increased ability to concentrate on their new language and reduction of interference from their native languages.
As a result, bilingual education allows children to access the words they have learnt recently more easily, increasing their vocabulary more than monolingual children who show lower skills in inhibiting competing information (Romaine, 1995). Cognitive benefits attributed to bilingual education extend to old age from childhood, as the child’s brain is able to process information more efficiently. Bilingualism is also associated with better meta-linguistic awareness, creativity, visual-spatial skills, and better memory (Romaine, 1995). These children are also able to explore the English culture using their native tongue.
Therefore, these social, developmental, and social advantages in children given a bilingual education highlights the importance of researching how bilingualism influences the child’s brain architecture and activity. However, Romaine (1995) also posits that bilingual education results in serious challenges, especially where some consider it to threaten the English culture as children are allowed to speak their language in the classroom. This is especially challenging in a country that is as multi-cultural as the UK. The current system of bilingualism requires separate classrooms and teachers, believing in gradual societal integration of children. However, this could also end up increasing the gap that exists between immigrants and children.
Encouraging children to interact first and foremost with their community in their native language could also delay their adjustment to the new culture that they live in. Perceptive and mental flexibility may also suffer when children are offered bilingual education. Encouraging bilingualism in schools, especially for children, may allow non-English speakers to avoid learning English and resist assimilation into the mainstream culture (Romaine, 1995). Indeed, promotion of teaching in other languages could result in inhibition of the children’s social mobility and national disunity.
Golash-Boza (2005) contend that the costs of bilingual education in the UK are very high, especially given the fact that it costs less to run programs that use only the dominant language, rather than using bilingual classes to educate minority-language children. In addition, bilingual education has also been implicated in allowing minority groups in the UK avoid learning English and resist assimilation, making them part of the mainstream society but unwilling to forego their culture or language. In addition, the indexation of immigration with bilingualism in the UK has implied that bilingual children are uneducated and poor, while bilingual education implemented by the government tends to keep the children isolated linguistically, limiting potential earnings in the future.
However, Romanie (2009) disagrees with the alleged costs of bilingual education, contending that it is the most effective form of teaching EAL students, especially since inability to understand the language of instruction results in loss of content already learnt. Additionally, there is also evidence of EAL children speakers learning English and maintaining first culture and language, which means that bilingual learning does not affect the ability to be proficient in English and to mainstream.
With regards to language learning, anecdotal evidence indicates that children who go abroad for some time are fluent in the foreign language after coming home, which Romaine (1984) reasons is because no one spoke in the child’s language abroad, and they had to immerse themselves in the foreign culture and language. As a result, they are forced to learn the second language to communicate efficiently. Thus, majority of teachers and schools across the English-speaking World, including the UK, the US, and Canada, choose to enforce and adopt policies to only, recognize English in order to recreate a full immersion experience for the children (Han, 2012).
Nevertheless, recent research has begun to study whether this makes any real difference and what the repercussions and benefits are. Reyes (2012) champions the advantages of utilizing L1 in the EAL classroom, beginning by arguing that translation occurs naturally as a phenomenon when children are being taught another language. Even children who go abroad and get to learn a second language have to spend some time getting help in translating the language to their mother tongue, especially in order to acquire a base of knowledge regarding vocabulary.
Hoff et al (2015) show that the switching to and from translation and language occurs instinctively for every language and for, all language learners, while the first language is an essential resource for learning L2, from which he concludes that teachers of EAL must work with this tendency instead of against it. In addition, in instances where the first language for children is disallowed even in private spaces and children are punished for the use of mother tongue, students will simply refuse to speak and quietly use their first language.
Moreover, they tend to feel shame when the teacher punishes them for using their first language. Rather than devaluing their culture and language, teachers should consider teaching children a second language as enriching their lives since, by using their first language, children can get the a positive sense and experience from learning a second language (Hoff et al, 2015). Moreover, the teacher would also be allowing the children to access supportive and valuable resources while ensuring they do not have to feel guilty speaking naturally, in turn raising their self-esteem and learning ability.
From the perspective of the teacher, speaking and communicating with the children using their first language should also help in improving the rapport between them and the children (Kandler, 2009). For instance, greeting children in their language can lead to laughter and happiness, usually drawing the child to find out what else the teacher can say in their first language.
Additionally, teacher ability to use the children’s first language can also be more efficient, while also making extra time for activities that are more useful (Kandler, 2009). For instance, where there are complications in giving instructions for a particular activity, and children seem not to understand the instruction given in English, asking a child who has understood to make a translation for the class will create additional time for the classroom activity while also preventing teacher and children frustration.
Nonetheless, Piller and Takahashi (2011) contend that it is just this tendency discussed above that could result in the child, and the teacher becoming overly dependent on their first language and negating the teacher’s attempts also to teach the child English. As a result, the child could begin to lose confidence in communication ability, especially in English, making them tend to feel that, only when the teacher translates, can they understand what is being taught to them. The children could also be tempted to use their first language even at times when they are capable of explaining or expressing themselves in the English language. Subsequently, the children’s opportunities and ability to practice their English skills are substantially reduced as they fail to come to the realization that English use when in the classroom is critical to improving their skills in language (Piller & Takahashi, 2011).
Furthermore, translation in a bilingual classroom where L1 is used for instructions could lead to a problem in relation to oversimplification, according to Moin et al (2011), who state that it is not possible to directly translate numerous linguistic and cultural nuances. For instance, when a person says that something is “so cool” in English, this would mean that the thing is incredible or amazing.
This phrase is as a result of the English language continuously evolving under the influence of a particular culture at particular time periods. Directly translating this phrase to Indian would make little sense at all. Research on the issue shows that both sides make what is a compelling argument for and against the use of bilingual instruction in kindergarten. What remains to be seen is whether the repercussions can be minimized or whether the benefits can be maximized.
2.7. English is an Additional Language
Normally, as stated in studies, adults have a choice to either keep up with the growing need for English language or stagnate in their learning of the new language. However, when it comes to children, it is part of their natural life development. In other words, many children learn English in the natural learning process. In this process, the teacher distributes knowledge in a circular and reciprocal way through a collaborative sharing of experiences, centered on real life situations, and the pupils are responsible for their learning (McDonough, 2013). Additionally, an English learner, be it a child or an adult comes to the English class with life expectations and prior knowledge that is used by the student to make connections to the new learning (McDonough, 2013). However, an adult learner comes in with more life experiences and prior knowledge that the child. An adult can either fail or succeed in learning English as a second language because he/she is aware of the learning process and can formulate learning goals. Children are most likely to succeed because they appear to unconsciously determine what is next in the natural process of learning based on the current skill, strategy, or knowledge that is needed in the next step of the process (McDonough, 2013, pp 4). Additionally, children have a neurological advantage in learning English because of the ‘plasticity’ of their brains or because their speech organs are more flexible than those of matured adults. Adults are regarded as slow learners to English because they are physically limited in reaching native-like pronunciation and intonation.
A study by McDonough, (2013) notes that adults are in a better position to learn English as a second language because their cognitive ability is developed. Normally, children require teachers to direct how English is learned because they are dependent thinkers. However, for the adults, they are more independent and self-directed. This enables them recognise what they are learning.
2.8. Summary
From the above discussion, it is evident that bilingual programs in kindergartens have been slightly successful. Success has been limited by various factors that hinder implementation of programs. A lot of countries have been reluctant to accept these programs in their education system. Bilingual programs have been inadequately staffed, poorly administered, and contain limited resources. Studies have indicated the importance of paying attention to the problems in implementation of these programs.
The review has clearly defined bilingual education in kindergarten as ‘the use of two languages in the learning process.’ In a more sophisticated context, bilingual education in kindergartens is the use of the native language for instructional purposes while English is being learned as a second language (Cardenas, 2014).
Some authors of researches into this filed have made the need of bilingual education unnecessarily complicated. A conclusion from (Lacorte, 2001) noted that, ‘interrupting and delaying cognitive development and the acquisition of skills and knowledge until a new language is acquired is a waste of time and produces academic retardation … (2001, pp 45)’
Teachers dealing with children whose first language is not English face many challenges in their jobs. Numerous studies discussed in this chapter recommend finding solutions to bilingual education programs as the way forward in tackling these challenges. Some of the problems that bilingual education program face include a lack of language development opportunity, limited use of the native language, premature transition to English, and inadequacies of instructional materials.
International aspects of bilingual education were also reviewed with Canada, Australia, and the US especially being considered. Studies have demonstrated how Canada’s society is characterized as being an ‘ethnic mosaic.’ Therefore, the government adopted policies towards bilingualism. In the US, bilingual education focuses on English Language Learners. Bilingual education in the US is for students with limited English proficiency. In Australia, bilingual education is allowed. However, few schools offer bilingual programs. This program, in Australia, receives intermittent official banking.
With regards to the link between bilingual education and culture, the review found that teachers with a similar culture to EAL students can validate the children’s cultural identities, while those teachers who attempt to understand the EAL student’s culture can also offer culturally compatible instruction. For this latter group however, the mainstreaming of UK schools and teaching programs premised on mainstreaming have posed challenges.
In reviewing the literature on the advantages and disadvantages of bilingualism and bilingual education, bilingual education was found to improve overall linguistic ability. However, it also identifies the danger of increased disparities between immigrant children and Native children, as well as delaying the former’s integration into UK society (Romaine, 1995).
Several gaps were identified from the literature review, which will be part of my study. Whereas the literature shows that teachers of a similar culture to the kindergarten teachers using English as L2 are important for validating the cultural identities of the children, research into teachers who are from different cultures is limited. As such, this research study will seek to fill this gap studying whether teachers should have competencies and functions in the children’s language, as well as their culture, where the children do not use English as L1.
In trying to identify the importance of possessing these competencies in culture and language, further research will be conducted to fill research gaps concerning the importance of teachers being bi-lingual or multi-lingual. Finally, although the literature review does identify important requirements for children in kindergarten for who English is not L1, there is little research into the importance of allowing kindergarten children to converse in the classroom in their L1, especially where L1 is not English. The effect that such an allowance would have on the English culture is also not covered in depth, which will be another target for this research study.
Chapter Three: Methodology
3.1. Introduction
This chapter is a key section for both research proposals and research reports. Interested parties in the research process will want assurances that the research question needs asking, as well as that the approach taken will answer the question or address the hypothesis, and deliver the expected outcome (McMillan & Wergin, 2011). The research methodology enables the researcher to achieve results for a specific research problem while carrying the research process towards answering the research question.
The researcher must solve the research problem systematically, failure to which the possibility of getting a final reliable result decreases. Essentially, the use of a correct research methodology effectively resolves majority of the issues faced by researchers in exploring a research question (Lodico et al, 2013). Thus, in exploring the challenges faced in teaching English as a Second Language in kindergartens, the methodology will progress sequentially. The research design will be identified, followed by the research method, sampling procedure, data collection, and data analysis. As with majority of qualitative research studies, ethical considerations are critical and will be discussed in depth.
3.2. Research Design
I will collect verbal data and analyze it in a subjective, interpretive, or impressionistic manner before generating data that is non-numerical in nature (Ayiro, 2012).
This research study will use the qualitative approach, which is designed with the aim of revealing the range of behaviour and attitudes of the target audience, as well as the perceptions that drive these behaviors and attitudes for teachers teaching EAL to kindergarten children. The qualitative research approach is the best fit for answering the research question because the results are expected to describe challenges facing ESL kindergarten teachers, rather than to predict the challenges.
3.3. Research Method and Strategy
My role in this research is to necessitate the identification of personal values, assumptions and biases at the outset of the study. Although I will put in every effort to ensure objectivity, my personal bias may shape the way I view and understand the data that is collected and their interpretation. I recognize the need to be open to the thoughts and opinions of others and to set aside my experiences in order to understand those of the participants in the study.
I provided the ethical approval and obtained written informed consent from the study participants. The participants were selected because of their unique expertise in kindergarten. I conducted a pilot study using a questionnaire, asking open-ended questions about their experience in teaching kindergarten pupils. I contacted the participants in a convenient location and time.

Data collection procedure
There was an open-ended questionnaire that was used to obtain the data. Respondents were expected to explain their ideas in detail, and they had to elaborate on what they have stated in the questionnaire.
I will use a directive style of questioning when seeking more clarification of information. I will record the information in an online website
Data Analysis Strategies
A study by Merriam, (2009) noted that data collection and analysis must be a simultaneous process in qualitative research. According to this author, qualitative research consists of classifying things, persons, and events. The data analysis method of this research will focus on finding the meaning of the experiences of the participants in teaching kindergarten pupils whose first language is not English. The following is the procedure for data analysis:
First, I will provide the questions to all the participants. I will then transcribe the data collected from the open-ended questionnaire to get the meanings of the ideas presented. Then, I will identify the most important concepts and ideas using the coding process. I will then formulate meanings from these concepts. Then, I will provide a rich but exhaustive description of the teachers’ experiences when dealing with children with EAL. I will provide this description in the next chapter.
3.3.1. Construction of the Questionnaire
Alvesson and Sandberg (2013) posit that how a questionnaire is designed is dependent on the type of information the researcher wants to collect, i.e. whether the researcher wishes to collect information that is qualitative in nature or whether they want to collect quantitative information to test previously generated hypothesis. Because the information being sought is qualitative in nature, there will be no need for a structured questionnaire. In this case where the research problem requires identifications of specific challenges faced in teaching EAL to kindergarten children, a structured questionnaire may prevent the full exploration of the teacher’s opinions and processes by restricting the discussion.
As a result, it is important to prepare open-ended questions that have at least ten significant open-ended questions that possess appropriate prompts/probes underneath each question (Brace, 2010). Because the participant sample is expected to be homogenous in nature, i.e. kindergarten teachers of EAL, there will be a better ability and willingness of the participants to respond to the questions in writing. In addition, since the kindergarten teachers are expected to have increased interest in the topic of this research and are obviously literate, open-ended questions will not suppress their responses.
In designing the research questionnaire, the intentions of the research will be clearly stated using a brief statement about why the information is being collected, which will make the teachers more willing to answer questions regarding their opinions and themselves. Instructions are also very important where open-ended questionnaires are used to avoid the respondent going too far away from the topic, which will harm the validity of the results. In designing an open-ended questionnaire, Hennink et al. (2011) identify the need for a short set of instructions in the introduction, as well as additional instructions for the particular questions asked.
However, these instructions will only guide the respondent on how to answer, rather than what to answer. Personal information, for example about race and age, while important to the investigation of the importance of bilingualism in kindergarten teachers of EAL, could be uncomfortable to some respondents. As a result, these questions should be placed at the end of the questionnaire. While the open-ended questionnaire will be seeking detailed information about the effects of bilingualism in the EAL kindergarten and challenges faced in such a classroom, the questions must be concise and short to avoid misunderstanding (Saris & Gallhofer, 2011).
Moreover, it will be important to ask a single question at a time and to avoid double-barrelled questions, especially as this can severely compromise the data results (Willis, 2014). This tide over to next important point in designing the open-ended questionnaire, which is that the questions must be unbiased and do not lead the respondent to answer in a particular manner or to give a particular answer.
While the opinions formed by the researcher in the course of conducting the literature review will obviously influence the questionnaire, it is important that the results of the previous literature review study lead the questions and not personal opinions (Behling & Law, 2010). Finally, the questions will be grouped according to subjects, such as whether the teachers feel that being bilingual helps them in connecting better with the children, whether they feel that bilingualism in the classroom prevents the children from integrating into the English culture, and the different challenges faced in bilingual instruction in the classroom.
3.3.2. Questionnaire data analysis
Bernhardt (2013) posits that qualitative research, such as the current study, arrives at a juncture where organization of data in a systematic way is needed for analytic purposes, recognizing that all data has multiple perspectives, is procedural, and is fluid and, therefore, requires to be ordered in some way. Since the data from the open-ended questionnaire, along with notes from the literature review, contains data on diverse topics, I am not really using grounded theory, I will be taking account of the responses of the respondents. But I am going to do a form of content analysis according to the categories I set up.
To begin with, the data will be combed through and assigned general codes regarding whether it deals with the effects of bilingual teachers and so on. These codes will help to identify anchors, which enable the important points from the collected information to be collected. Following the coding of information, those with similar content will be grouped into concepts, after which the broad groups of concepts will then be further grouped into categories. The different categories identified will be exclusive, which means that they will be on the same analytical level (Falissard, 2012). Finally, the different categories will be further distilled to identify a theory of bilingualism in EAL kindergartens and the challenges that face this form of instruction.
3.3.3. Reliability of the Questionnaire
Ideally, the coding of all open-ended questions should be conducted by at least two individuals, after which the reliability of the questionnaire and the coding process is assessed using the Spearman-Brown prediction formula. This formula is used to identify and estimate reliability of multi-item indexes or measures, while also providing an essential foundation for other statistical theories of measurement (Deng, 2013).
In addition, it also calculates increases in reliability expected where more indicators pertaining to the same trait are identified and available. Whenever data is coded, it is important to ensure that the resultant categories will be reliable, meaning that two independent coders will be required to code similar responses identically using similar rules. While it is possible to create a valuable group of categories in this case, their value will decrease significantly if they are not applied reliably to the responses (Johnson & Christensen, 2012).
3.4. Research Sample
Midgley et al. (2013) note that qualitative researchers will typically make sampling choices that allow them to increase their understanding of the phenomenon under study. In this case, because the research problem specifically identifies EAL kindergarten teachers, a non-probability type of sampling will be used. Unlike probability sampling where all items have an equal chance of selection, the assumption made in non-probability sampling is that the characteristics of the population under study are uniformly distributed. This is the reason it is selected for this study because picking any teacher of EAL in the kindergarten will be representative of the population.
The specific type of non-probability sampling method selected for this study will be purposive sampling, which requires that the researcher begins with a particular perspective they wish to examine, followed by identification of participants that cover the entire range of these perspectives (Dawson, 2009). For this study, the researcher is seeking to examine challenges of teaching EAL in kindergarten and the effects of bilingual teachers in such a classroom, meaning that the purposive sample will include EAL kindergarten teachers with competency in the children’s L1.
Additionally, I used purposeful sampling when recruiting the participants for this study. According to studies, purposefully sampling is widely used in qualitative research. This entails selection of participants based on their needs for the study. That said, I chose participants who would give adequate information concerning the research topic. The inclusion selection criteria in this study were teachers of kindergarten pupils whose first language is not English.
3.5. Access
Consistent with the qualitative approach, researchers should seek out a broad dynamic of participants in their interaction in personal and professional environments. Since this will require the researcher to work with human subjects, it is important for them to understand how to access the required participants (Hartas, 2010). Access, in this case, is the appropriate academic and ethical practices required in gaining entry to specific communities to conduct formal research. The gatekeeper makes access to this group possible and, in this case, it will be the school principal.
The known-sponsor model of gaining entry will be used for this study, as a result, in which the school administrators will be approached, particularly those with a positive relationship with the institution of higher learning the supporting the researcher. This is because these administrators value the university’s research conducted by the students and professors, which they use to modify their practices and in decision-making. It is expected that their support will make gaining access straightforward by signing participant letters and giving permission to work with the participants in a naturalistic setting required for administering the questionnaires (Aubrey, 2010).
3.6. Ethics
According to Burgess (2010), research ethics primarily deal with how researchers interact with the participants while professional ethics take additional issues like collaborative relationships, data fabrication, and intellectual property into consideration. This research study will use three core principles as the basis for its research ethics.
The first will be respect for participants by ensuring their autonomy and respecting their dignity, which will ensure and assure the participants they are not simply being used for the achievement of the study’s objectives.
The second principle will be beneficence, which will require the participants to be assured of the researcher’s commitment to minimize associated social and psychological risks of the study (McNamee & Bridges, 2012), while maximizing benefits for the research participants by identifying challenges of teaching EAL in kindergartens by bilingual teachers.
Finally, the principle of justice will be of importance in the study to ensure that the benefits and risks of the study are distributed fairly between the participants and the researcher. In this case, the beneficiaries of the study should be the participants, first and foremost.
3.7. Summary
In solving the current research problem and answering the subsequent research question, the qualitative approach has been identified as the best fit for the study because data on challenges and perceptions of bilingualism’s effects on English culture is qualitative in nature. The concepts identified during the research study will be further researched using open-ended questionnaires that will seek clarification and qualification of information from the literature review. Data collected through the literature review and open-ended questionnaires will be analyzed using grounded theory analysis, while its reliability will be checked using the Spearman-Brown prediction formula.
Chapter Four: Results
This chapter reveals the qualitative meanings from 24 respondents who are kindergarten teachers that deal with children whom English is an additional language. The chapter is written in first person in order to demonstrate human action that is, to show an emotional connection with the respondents. Additionally, presentation in first person is a narrative tradition in qualitative analysis according to a study by Popping (2008).
I purposely chose my participants based on two primary characteristics: 1) Were they teachers of kindergartens and 2) do they deal with children whom English is an additional language. The only delimitation in this data collection is that, the open-ended questionnaire did not collect the respondents’ first name, phone number, and the email address. In this case, I am unable to contact the respondents after collecting the questionnaires.
The following were the guide questions that I used during my data collection using the open-ended questionnaire:
What are the challenges of teaching kindergarten children whom English is an additional language?
Is there need for teachers to be familiar with two or more languages?
Does allowing mother tongue in the school environment poses a threat to the ‘home’ culture?
What are the strategies used to minimize the challenges faced by teachers dealing with kindergarten children whom English is an additional language?
Section A
Demographic profile of all respondents
Majority of the respondents were between 21 and 30 years old. 5 teachers were 22 years, 8 teachers were 25 years, 8 were 28 and 3 were 31 years old. Kindergarten administrators prefer younger teachers because they are fresh from their courses, and their brains are positively exploding with new ideas.
Majority of the respondents were females. The females were 17 whereas the males were seven. Studies indicate that many people expect feminine touch from a kindergarten teacher (Rimer, 2003). Men keep away from this job because it offers low pay and continues to tag the profession as women’s work. The few men that teach kindergartens are regarded as insufficiently masculine, gays or even pedophiles!
Number of children in a class
Majority of the respondents had a class size of 16 to 25 children. Four respondents had a class of 1 to 15 pupils, seven respondents had a class of 25 to 35 pupils, and the rest had a class of 16 to 25 pupils.
Kindergartens prefer a medium classroom size, of about 20 to 30 students. According to studies, teachers of medium sized classes can increase learning and narrow the achievement gap between ethnic and racial groups (Leonie, 2003). Pupils whom English is an additional language assigned to medium sized classes have been proven to achieve English language proficiency, receive better grades, and exhibit improved attendance (Leonie, 2003). Despite students with EAL benefiting a lot from medium-sized classrooms, most of them are more likely to be enrolled in bigger classes, say over 25 pupils. Experts believe medium sized classrooms would be a very effective way of improving teacher quality (Leonie, 2003).
Languages spoken by pupils
Despite one respondent not giving information on the languages spoken by her pupils, the other respondents stated the following dialects spoken by their pupils with EAL: Arabic, Polish, Lithuanian, Chinese, Filipino, Kurdish, Pakistani, French, Farsi, Germany, and Italy.
Languages of teachers
Twenty teachers stated that they had mastered English language. Three teachers reported that they have mastered Kurdish, and six understood Arabic. One respondent skipped the question that inquired about languages spoken by teachers.
Teacher qualification
Majority of the respondents were undergraduates. Thirteen of them have degrees, nine have diplomas, and two have ‘level 1’ certificates. A study by ODonnell (2010) noted that teachers with degrees provide quality education to kindergarten pupils. Quality kindergartens that provide graduate teachers yield measurable benefits, such as good jobs in adulthood (ODonnell, 2010). Such teachers not only educate the pupils, but they also act as role models to them. Kindergarten children would wish to study up on the level of their teachers. Additionally, most of the teachers with degrees have learned about different linguistics, and they would be the best guides to the pupils with EAL.
Language of teaching pupils
Majority of the respondents argued that they would prefer English as their language of teaching pupils. Twenty-three respondents argued that they preferred English, one preferred Arabic and English, and one did not answer the question.
Section B
English as Medium of instruction
Majority of the respondents (21 of them) argued that the use of English as a medium of instruction in the education system is exceptionally crucial. One respondent remained neutral, one disagreed, and one did not answer the question.
In most cases, many countries use English as a foreign language. However, times have changed and many countries are using English as medium of instruction for academic subjects such as Mathematics, and Sciences. Therefore, many kindergarten teachers believe English is a passport to the global world (Dearden, 2014). These teachers strive to teach English to children with EAL.
The world is experiencing globalization. This phenomenon has both positive and negative effects on economics, culture, and identity. In order for the countries to enjoy the benefits of globalization, tertiary institutions have to offer new skills to the people. A study by Manh (2012) came up with the term ‘global literacy skills’ to refer to technological and English skills. The study notes that, in order to gain positives from globalization, countries need to be equipped with the two skills. Therefore, English proficiency is very important among citizens of a country. In recent years, many non-English speaking countries have introduced English programs in their schools to ensure their citizens understand English language.
The need to be proficient in English is a global phenomenon. Statistics indicate that teachers face the challenge of increasing Read More
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