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Bilingualism and Music Education

A Turkish-German Perspective

Sezgin Inceel

Research indicates that parents play an essential role in their children’s musical and language development. Moreover, neurocognitive studies point to the similarities between music and language processing. Based on the previous literature, the present study focuses on the Turkish immigrant parents’ beliefs and practices regarding bilingualism and music education. Interviews, observations and questionnaires are applied to generate qualitative data. Findings indicate that the participants’ positive beliefs are influenced by distal factors, such as cultural features, their own backgrounds, and socio-demographical characteristics. However, the lack of their theoretical knowledge regarding the subjects seems to have a negative impact on these beliefs.

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Abstract

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Research indicates that parents play an essential role in their children’s musical and language development. Moreover, neurocognitive studies point to the similarities between music and language processing. Based on the previous literature, the present study focuses on the Turkish immigrant parents’ beliefs and practices regarding three crucial educational areas: Music education, bilingual language acquisition and benefits of music education for bilingual language acquisition. Interviews, observations, and post-activity questionnaires are applied to generate qualitative data. The findings are presented as follows. Firstly, the beliefs and practices regarding music education are discussed: Parental roles, behaviours and strategies, benefits of music education, as well as Turkish music and emotions. Secondly, beliefs and practices regarding bilingual language acquisition are examined: Understanding of bilingualism, language preferences, difficulties, bilingual family household strategies. Finally, beliefs and practices regarding the role of music education on bilingual language acquisition are scrutinized: Varied understandings, practices (baby steps) and awakening of the interest. Comparison of the results from three categories indicate that the participants’ positive beliefs are influenced by distal factors (cultural features, parents’ own backgrounds, and socio-demographical characteristics). However, the lack of their theoretical knowledge regarding the subjects seems to have a negative impact on these beliefs. Because parents may not be improving themselves regarding the discussed subjects, parent-child practices seem to come short, or they face different difficulties. In the light of this information, recommendations for practice (policy makers, practitioners, parents) and for further research are discussed at the end of the study. ←5 | 6→←6 | 7...

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