Mother Tongue Instruction Essay
Mother tongue instruction
Language is used by all as a means of learning, communicating and understanding – Mother Tongue Instruction Essay introduction. As a teacher, one would do their best to accommodate their learners, even if this means to teach in a language that would be best suited to them. As a rainbow nation with eleven official languages, South Africa’s diverse cultures are known throughout the world. Many of the inhabitants are either bilingual or multilingual which may pose problems when it comes to education. The preferred language of a country is used to govern and engage in economic affairs and social agenda’s with other countries.
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Language can be learnt in two ways and through many different forms. Acquiring a language is a simple way of learning languages because it is done unconsciously. By listening to the way words are formed and the sounds used in the words help one acquire the language. Learning a language is done through formal instruction in a school setting. Due to the vast amounts of information needed to pass onto a learner, many schools have given learners from grade nine to grade twelve the opportunity to choose their preferred additional language.
Although in our South African constitution it states that learners have the right to be taught in a language of their choice, many students attend English medium schools as the language is understood by most of the South African population. In order to learn a language, one needs to understand the basics from which preschool and grade one learners are taught. Mother tongue instruction in schools has negative and positive qualities and may be a preference more than anything else, whether children in school should be taught in their mother tongue. If the curriculum is taught in a language many of the children understand, the pass rate of learners would increase and the understanding of the curriculum would afford teachers more time to put the curriculum into practise rather than having to explain it to the learners. Misconceptions and miscommunication between people would become less as the understanding between the learners would be clearer. It awards learners with the skills to understand the outcome by basing literacy on their personal experiences. The negative side of having children taught in their mother tongue would be that, by separating the children we once again create an impression of segregation and discrimination. If a language is not the mother tongue of a learner they cannot be taught by that specific teacher or in that specific school. Learners may also find it difficult to associate and socialise with peers as the language barrier would prevent them from doing so. Language barriers may also pose a problem further on in the work place as communication may not be clear. Learners taught in their mother tongue would also find it difficult to travel to countries beyond the borders in which they live as the fundamentals may not be in place for languages other than their own.
By limiting learners to their mother tongue instruction, there would be no elaboration or building on of their vocabulary. If mother tongue instruction were to be implemented, curricula would then need to be translated into these different languages and well as text and work books. This would hamper learning and teaching and may result in learners not being able to formally write or give speeches in their mother tongue.
Although the want for education and learning in the mother tongue is seen to be beneficial to the learner, more and more of the official languages spoken in homes are being replaced by English. Thus we can conclude that mother tongue instruction may not be as useful to learners or teachers alike. This could also add complexity to the matter and complicate something that could be very simple.
http://www.modersmal.skolverket.se/engelska/index.php/mother-tongue-education Seligmann, J. (2012). Academic Literacy for Education Students. Cape Town: Oxford University Press