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Multilingual Education

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Shibika Suresh

on 8 April 2013

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Transcript of Multilingual Education

Multilingual Education Exploring the various facets Multilingualism The act of using multiple languages by an individual speaker or by a community of speakers. A social phenomenon governed by the needs of globalization and cultural openness. Need to acquire additional languages is promoted by the ease of access to information facilitated by the Internet. Multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world's population. The definition of multilingualism is certainly a subject of debate in the very same way as the definition of language fluency. It is very difficult to define an individual as being multilingual. Since most speakers do not achieve the maximally ideal level, language learners may come to be seen as deficient and by extension, language teaching may come to be seen as a failure. MULTILINGUAL
EDUCATION "First-language-first" education, i.e, schooling which begins in the mother tongue and transitions to additional languages. MLE programs are situated in developing countries where peakers of minority languages tend to be disadvantaged in the mainstream education system. STAGES Takes place entirely in the child's home language. Building fluency in the mother tongue. Introduction of oral second language. building oral fluency in second language. Introduction of literacy in second language. Using both the languages learnt, for life long using. NEED OF MT-BASED MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION Children be taught mainly through the medium of their mother tongue (MT) in school for the first 6-8 years. But later in school children need abstract intellectually and linguistically much more demanding concepts. They need to develop these abstract concepts on the basis of what they already know in their mother tongue. If the child has the MT as the teaching language, she understands the teaching, learns the subjects, and has very good chances of becoming a thinking, knowledgeable person who can continue the education. Those who do have access to school but do not speak the official language when they enter the education system find that their knowledge, experience and language are treated as a disadvantage. The children who go to the primary schools are often teased by other students for using their MT in the classroom when they talk to their counterparts. MT-based education policies and programs have consequences for the language communities, for nations, and indeed, for the world in general. These include: Further disempowerment of girls Lack of access to social, political, economic and physical development processes Loss of languages, cultures and of knowledge systems. Ineffective and inefficient use of human resources DISADVANTAGES OF MT-BASED EDUCATION ADVANTAGES OF MT-BASED EDUCATION A structured program of language learning and cognitive development providing. A strong educational foundation in the first language. Successful in bridging two or more additional languages. Enabling the use of both/all languages for life-long learning. Conclusions Same competencies, but different paths Mainstream children who speak the school language Mainstream children who do not speak the school language L1 (School Language) Competencies achieved by the end of Grade 3. L1(Home Language)
L2(School Language) From Theorists and Researchers Regarding the focus on building a strong educational foundation in the L1:

The most powerful factor in predicting educational success for minority learners is the amount of formal schooling their received in their L1.. Only those language minority students who had 5-6 years of strong cognitive and academic development in their L1—as well as through [L2]—did well in Grade 11 assessments (in South Asia). (Thomas and Collier, 2001) Jim Cummins

citing Baker and Skutnabb-Kangas. Regarding the continued development of oral and written L1 and L2 (that is, both taught as subjects), at least through primary school:

When children continue to develop their abilities in two or more languages throughout their primary school years, they gain a deeper understanding of language and how to use it effectively. They have more practice in processing language, especially when they develop literacy in both, and they are able to compare and contrast the ways in which their two languages organize reality. Supporting the MTBMLE(Mother Tongue-based Multi-Lingual Education)

At the beginning of education,mother tongue instruction is very important not only to develop a strong educational foundation, but also to strengthen the cognitive development of learners. Unless the mother tongue is used in education, there is a big gap between the student’s home and the school. By developing literacy skills in the first language, MTBMLE helps strengthen the first language and provides a smooth transition from L1 (First language) to L2 (National language) or L3 (International language) to be used as a medium of instruction. Pushkar Kadel, 2010. Regarding the focus on building a basic level of oral fluency in L2 before introducing reading and writing in that language:

...oral proficiency in the target language [is] of critical importance for the development…of reading comprehension among third and fourth-grade students…

(Droop & Verhoeven,2003) Ludo Verhoeven Language education policies should offer equal and proper emphasis on the use of mother tongues as a medium of instruction. Multilingual education has its pros as well as its cons. Loss of languages, cultures and of knowledge systems. Underutilization of human resources. The cons are: Creates gender imbalances and alienation from heritage language and culture. The pros are: Children get exposure to different languages. This helps them become comfortable with people from all walks of life. It helps the children broaden their horizons in the sense that they become global citizens.
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