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Understanding of the Importance of Mother Tongue Learning

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Abstract

Mother tongue is valuable due to several reasons. Mother tongue is vital in framing the thinking and emotions of people. Learning to speak in the mother tongue is very necessary for a child's comprehensive development. Being fluent in the mother tongue, which is also known as the native language, benefits the child in numerous ways. It associates him to his culture, ensures enhanced cognitive development, and supports in the learning of other languages. A child first comprehends what is around them through the language they hear their mother communicating in from before they are born and thought their lives. Many children across the developing world are learning very little in school, a reality that can be linked to teaching that is in a language they do not fully understand. It is a practice that leads to limited or non-existent learning and acquisition of knowledge and skills, alienating experiences, and high drop-out and repetition rates. To improve the quality of education, language policies need to take account of mother-tongue learning. Models of education which ignore the mother tongue in the early years can be unproductive, ineffective and have a negative effect on children's learning. Mother-tongue education at least in early years can enable teachers to teach, and learners to learn more effectively.
International Journal of Trend in Scientific Research and Development (IJTSRD)
Volume 5 Issue 1, November-December 2020 Available Online: www.ijtsrd.com e-ISSN: 2456 – 6470
@ IJTSRD | Unique Paper ID – IJTSRD35846 | Volume – 5 | Issue – 1 | November-December 2020 Page 77
Understanding of the Importance of Mother Tongue Learning
Rajathurai Nishanthi
PhD Research Scholar, Department of Sociology, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India
ABSTRACT
Mother tongue is valuable due to several reasons. Mother tongue is vital in
framing the thinking and emotions of people. Learning to speak in the mother
tongue is very necessary for a child’s comprehensive development. Being
fluent in the mother tongue, which is also known as the native language,
benefits the child in numerous ways. It associates him to his culture, ensures
enhanced cognitive development, and supports in the learning of other
languages. A child first comprehends what is around them through the
language they hear their mother communicating in from before they are born
and thought their lives. Many children across the developing world are
learning very little in school, a reality that can be linked to teaching that is in a
language they do not fully understand. It is a practice that leads to limited or
non-existent learning and acquisition of knowledge and skills, alienating
experiences, and high drop-out and repetition rates. To improve the quality of
education, language policies need to take account of mother-tongue learning.
Models of education which ignore the mother tongue in the early years can be
unproductive, ineffective and have a negative effect on children’s learning.
Mother-tongue education at least in early years can enable teachers to teach,
and learners to learn more effectively.
KEYWORDS: mother tongue, communication, different language, linguistic gap
How to cite this paper: Rajathurai
Nishanthi "Understanding of the
Importance of Mother Tongue Learning"
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INTRODUCTION
A language showsavital part in the life of a human being. The
language facilitates a comprehension of surrounding,
learning of concepts and achieving of several skills. A child
who ably learns their heir lives, amass extensive language
skills that help them to express themselves and developing
their thinking capacity. Additionally, this language cultivates
confidence and a sense of self-worth to a child in learning
other things.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that
goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language that
goes to his hea
-Nelson Mandela-
Mother tongue is the first language one learns as a baby, the
language one grows up knowing, which is also known as the
native language. A child first comprehends what is around
them through the language they hear their mother
communicating in from before they are born and thought
their lives. Mother tongue is appreciated due to numerous
reasons. Mother tongue is central in framing the thinking
and emotions of individuals. Learning in school highlights
with the use of mother tongue. Mother tongue is a influential
tool in advancing the learning in people.
The importance of mother tongue is studied because when
children develop their mother tongue, they are
simultaneously fostering a whole host of other essential
skills, such as critical thinking and literacy skills.
REASONS OF IMPORTANT TO MOTHER TONGUE
Intellectual Development
Studies have shown that cognitive development as well as
intellectual improvement is relatively faster in those who are
fluent in their mother tongue. It has also been noted that if a
student is educated in his/her mother tongue, the
proportion of his or her educational achievement is greater
than someone who is taught in a different medium other
than their mother tongue.
Develops a personal and cultural identity
Mother language develops a personal and cultural identity.
Personal identity emerges out of a person’s understanding of
themselves, their surroundings and their history. An
individual hears their native language first when in the
womb, and it subconsciously begins determining their views
and emotions. Thus, it develops the foundation of instance
connection with family, society, culture, and identity. Its
strong foundation makes a strong accepting of oneself
through an understanding of social origin and character in
the most basic and natural manner. Additionally, by
upholding of the different language spoken in society,
cultural identity arises that flows unquestionably in other
phases of an individual’s life.
Better connection with culture
Languages are the greatest significant way of keeping our
culture alive. Repeatedly the direct translation of one
language to additional might not carry the same essence as it
is in the source language. Thus, the best way to thoroughly
recognize about a culture is to know the language. Mother
tongue benefits us stay associated to our culture and our
roots.
IJTSRD35846
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Develops a strong foundation for learning additional
languages
If one has a strong understanding of their mother tongue, it
is easier for him or her to master a new language. When a
child reads out in their mother tongue since childhood, he or
she would have stronger literacy skills in additional
languages. Mother tongue advances a strong basis for
learning additional tongues. Children are capable of learning
numerous languages while young.
Hence, having a strong basis in their mother’s language
equips them the skills to learn extra languages. Children
achieve this by transferring the different structure of
language to other languages. Grammar that advances when a
child learns their native language is easily transferable,
whereby a child can easily guess the meaning or read
between the meanings of words in different languages.
Commercial benefits
As the businesses go the native way, the significance of
mother tongues has exponentially increased. Thus, in such a
scenario, having a firm understanding of your mother tongue
where you know how to read and write is enormously
helpful if you are concerned in becoming an entrepreneur.
The opportunities associated to monetizing with the benefit
of one’s mother tongues are vast in today’s market scenario.
Develop and understand communication skills
In child hood, when children spend their time with parents,
they improve communication skills, skills that become
paramount in school locations, for them to participate in
class. Also, when parents tell stories and deliberate matters
with their children, it grows their terminology and concepts.
Thus, when learning is conducted, the children effortlessly
follow and understand, resulting in educational success.
Creates job opportunities
The mother tongue makes job opportunities. Increased
immigration and population advance of international
students who speak additional languages other than English
characterize the society. Thus, to facilitate effective
communication and understanding of each other, different
sectors of the economy, such as schools, health and in
businesses, necessitates the need for an understanding of
different languages. Consequently, the necessity for persons
competent in different languages arises in the job market.
Understanding and fluency in several native dialects hence
give individuals an upper hand in becoming language
specialist, thus, gainfully employed.
Elicits the development of strong family bonds
Mother tongue elicits the growth of strong family bonds. In
numerous households, mostly those of immigrants, some
family members such as grandparents and parents do not
understand English universally utility in different countries.
Thus, when a child grows up with particular emphasis on
speaking in a Language other than their mother tongue,
results in linguistic gap with some family members,
consequence in an emotional disconnect with other family
members.
Stimulates their confidence but also creates
awareness of their individual
The knowledge of the native language is a fundamental
aspect of a person’s life. It only stimulates their confidence
but also creates awareness of their individual and cultural
identity. Facilitates learning and adoption of other
languages, creates job opportunities and keeps families
tightly joined.
The Pride
Knowing your mother tongue well is a matter of pride. It
boosts one’s confidence and creates awareness in the
individual’s mind while also helping them connect with their
cultural identity in a better manner. Mother tongue has a
huge positive influence in defining the personality of an
individual; however, the medium of education which is
usually English also encourages parents to speak to their
children in their second language. Thus, this leads to
confusion in the minds of the children and hence, they face
difficulties in mastering both first and second language.
CHALLENGES OF MOTHER TONGUE LEARNING
The dominance of non-mother tongue education
In many developing countries, a significant proportion of
children enter school not speaking the language of the
classroom. Many education systems favour using national or
‘global’ languages instead of Mother-tongue teaching.
Education is often carried out in the old colonial language, or
an international language, such as English.
This is based on the belief that certain internationally
‘important’ languages give children a competitive advantage
in later life. UNESCO notes: “Africa is the only continent where
the majority of children start school using a foreign language”.
Education is almost universally offered in the old colonial
languages – French, English or Portuguese – which most
young people do not speak at home.
For instance, in Zambia, where English was the educational
language (among non-English speakers),
It was found that at the end of primary schooling children
were unable to read fluently or write clearly. Many failed
examinations because they could not read and understand
the instructions. Reading skills were poor, even among
secondary school children. Literacy skills in tertiary
education were unsatisfactory: students failed to read and
grasp information due to lack of reading skills and poor
writing skills.
Lack of mother-tongue learning underscores pre-
existing inequalities
There is a strong equity dimension in the failure to provide
mother-tongue education. The language children are taught
in often reflects broader societal inequalities or asymmetries
in power.
For instance, marginalized tribal groups struggle to have
their identity and languages fully recognized, respected or
understood within wider society. The failure to provide
mother-tongue teaching is a form of discrimination that
perpetuates these inequalities. Children from poorer rural
areas or from ethnic and linguistic minorities are less likely
to receive a quality education, and more likely to become
non literate adults.
Many children in minority language communities, especially
those living in remote areas, face significant challenges in
accessing a good quality education. When pre-existing
International Journal of Trend in Scientific Research and Development (IJTSRD) @ www.ijtsrd.com eISSN: 2456-6470
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pockets of marginalization, poverty, or poor teaching quality
intersect with schooling in an unknown language, children
may never make it to school, or if they do, will find little
meaning in the classroom to keep them there.
Minority groups continue to make up a large proportion of
those left out of classrooms. Ensuring more inclusive
education policies which guarantee all children’s right to
education, will involve providing education to minority
groups in their own language.
HOW TO IMPROVE TO MOTHER TONGUE LEARNING
Begin literacy teaching in mother tongue
A curriculum, rooted in the child’s known language, culture
and environment, with appropriate and locally-developed
reading and curriculum materials, is crucial for early
learning success. Using the home language in the early stages
of schooling in multilingual contexts supports child-centric
policies. It starts with what is familiar and builds in new
knowledge. It creates a smooth transition between home and
school; it stimulates interest and ensures greater
participation and engagement. This prepares children for the
acquisition of literacy and encourages fluency and
confidence in both the mother tongue and, later, in other
languages, where this is necessary.
Ensure availability of mother-tongue materials
Children need to be engaged in and excited about reading
and learning and this can only be done if the materials are
ones which they will understand and enjoy. In most
developing countries, the only reading material children see
are school textbooks, which are often in very short supply.
Other materials to support learning are hardly ever
available. Without access to good materials, children struggle
to become literate and learn. In most low- and middle-
income countries, the majority of primary schools have no
library, and books are luxuries which families cannot afford.
For children from minority language communities, the
situation is even more dismal. Textbooks are rarely available
in local languages.
Provide early childhood education in mother tongue
Literacy development starts early in life, and the home
environment is an important factor in children’s learning
achievement. It helps build the knowledge and skills children
need for learning to read. Where parents and the community
are supporting literacy development, results show a marked
improvement. The earlier children are exposed to stories the
better their reading is: reading for only 15 minutes a day can
expose children to one million written words in a year,
thereby helping them to develop a rich vocabulary. Children
with access to materials at home are more likely to develop
fluency in reading.
Support effective teaching methods
Successful teaching of early literacy skills is dependent not
only on the provision of suitable materials, but also on the
way these skills are introduced and taught. Rote learning and
memorization, with a textbook focus, will likely result in a
child’s reading fluency and comprehension remaining
limited. Teachers need to use engaging instructional
strategies, where children are active in the learning process.
Such strategies only become feasible when children
understand the language of instruction and can therefore be
interactively engaged.
Train and deploy mother tongue teachers
Mother-tongue education requires teachers whom share the
language and culture of the children. It also requires that
teachers are trained in the same language they are to teach
in. Some teachers may not be truly proficient in the language
of instruction, and may struggle with teaching in a
‘dominant’ language they are not fluent in themselves or
they may come from a minority language group and have
been excluded from the learning process due to a lack of
training materials in their language. Sometimes a lack of
understanding can cascade down the generations where a
teacher, who never fully understood their own teacher, is
attempting to teach a child who barely understands the
language.
CONCLUSIONS
Many children from corner to corner the developing world
are learning very little in school, a truth that can be
connected to teaching that is in a linguistic they do not
completely understand. It is a practice that leads to
inadequate or non-existent learning and acquisition of
knowledge and skills, alienating experiences, and high drop-
out and repetition rates. To develop the quality of education,
language policies need to take account of mother-tongue
learning. Models of education which ignore the mother
tongue in the early years can be unproductive, ineffective
and have a negative effect on children’s learning. Mother-
tongue teaching at least in early years can enable teachers to
teach, and learners to learn further effectively. For too long,
mother-tongue education has been mostly unnoticed by
policy makers. While there are encouraging signs that the
policy pendulum is beginning to swing towards a greater
understanding of the importance of mother-tongue learning,
there is still a long way to go. More governments are
developing policies and programmes that take account of
mother tongue in the early stages of learning, but there is
still a need to express better policies, make sure better
preparation for the introduction of second languages and
ensure adequate resources are set aside. The Global
Campaign for Education believes that evidence proposes that
there is assured areas which should be prioritized in policy
development, to confirm more responsive and well nuanced
policy development in the field of mother tongue learning.
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Executive Summary Language is an integral feature of educational practice in the classroom. Teachers communicate content and instructions via language. Learners listen and interact via language in the process of learning. The normal assumption is that the language of the classroom is either well-known to or quickly learned by students so that educational outcomes meet specified expectations. When this assumption is valid, evaluation of educational effectiveness can largely ignore the issue of language as a variable shaping educational outcomes. But what if the assumption is NOT valid? Can we still ignore language as a significant variable in understanding the performance of educational systems? In many countries—both developed and developing—a significant portion of the school-aged population enters school NOT speaking the language of the classroom. In some cases these are the children of immigrants or other linguistic minorities. In other cases, the use of a colonial language for educational purposes means that all or virtually all children begin school in a ―foreign‖ language. Furthermore, such children only succeed in the classroom to the extent that they quickly master the second language. The last thirty years has seen slow but steady growth in doubts about the merits of the second language model of instruction. In a number of cases, these doubts have been accompanied by or based on experimental programs designed to test the potential of an alternative educational model in which the mother tongues of children are used as languages of instruction in the classroom. This paper examines some of the research which has emerged in the last ten years comparing, where possible, the educational outcomes of similar populations (usually immigrants or linguistic minorities) participating side by side in the two models. The intent has been to look beyond a comparison of cognitive outcomes in an effort to identify other consequences—sometimes unanticipated—of the mother tongue model. Specifically, the paper examines data from six different initiatives in mother tongue education from five different countries. From the data, a number of suggestive insights about the nature, viability, and impact of mother tongue educational models are identified and briefly explored. These deal with (1) the optimal sociolinguistic conditions for effective mother tongue education; (2) the time taken to produce good readers; (3) the function of teachers in mother tongue programs; (4) the impact of the mother tongue model on developing facility in the second language or language of wider communication; and (5) an examination of some of the possible impacts of mother tongue educational models.
Book
A modified version was published in print in both English and French in 2011: Adama Ouane and Christine Glanz (eds). Optimizing Learning, Education and Publishing in Africa: The Language Factor. A Review and Analysis of Theory and Practice in Mother-Tongue and Bilingual Education in sub-Saharan Africa. Hamburg/Tunis: UIL/ADEA. 2011. ISBN 978-92-820-1170-6 Adama Ouane et Christine Glanz (dir.pub.). Optimiser l’apprentissage, l’éducation et l’édition en Afrique: le facteur langue. Étide bilan sur la théorie et la pratique de l’enseignement en langue maternelle et l’éducation bilingue en Afrique subsaharienne. Hamburg/Tunis: UIL/ADEA. 2011. ISBN 978-92-820-2103-3
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