Parental Factors, English Education, Foreign Language Education, Junior High Schools, Socio-Economic Status
Toulabi, Ali Reza
Mirchenari, Noor Allah Nahak
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As English has increasingly become associated with social and economic power in the context of globalization, there has been a growing concern regarding achievement gaps in English that appear to be correlated to learners’ socio-economic status (SES). The present study aims to examine how parents’ SES and their behaviors and beliefs about English education relate to their children’s English language learning, and how such relationships may differ across different grade levels. The participants were seventh, eighth and ninth grade students who had learned English from the seventh grade level (72 students in total) together with their parents in a medium-sized city in Iran. An extensive parental survey revealed that while parental beliefs about English education and their beliefs about their children’s success in acquiring English did not differ between different SES groups, their direct behaviors and their indirect behaviors showed significant differences by the fourth grade level. Combined with the students’ learning outcome data, it was found that while the parents’ SES did not show much effect on their children’s listening and reading/writing performance during their elementary school years, it did indicate an effect on their speaking abilities at the fourth grade level, if not earlier. This paper suggests the importance of incorporating socio-economic dimensions in theorizing second and foreign language acquisition (SLA), which are largely missing in current major approaches in SLA.