Friday, 21 June 2013

Encourage Home Language & Bi-lingual Curriculum (or multi-lingual curriculum)

During my relieving in different centres, I found that educators are not really interested in encouraging the children's home languages, especially those language that are not popular, or seemed foreign to the educators. I remembered went into a centre where there's a new boy whose home language was French, the educators were so enthusiastic at designing materials and trying to connect with him, and were making him comfortable in the centre. I was thinking, 'I wonder what material do they have in Hindi, Vietnamese or Arabic?', the ethnic majority of the children in the centre. I found that the main reason of not including the home language is a lack of knowledge of the language and mis-conception of the culture, for example, 'they just let the male grab things from the girls.' was one comment I often heard. Mis-conception or prejudice stops us from having the interest to learn more, period (for the home language).

Another reason for promoting multi-lingual education is that languages are disappearing, watch this TED talk:

At TEDxDubai, longtime English teacher Patricia Ryan asks a provocative question: Is the world's focus on English preventing the spread of great ideas in other languages? (For instance: what if Einstein had to pass the TOEFL?) It's a passionate defense of translating and sharing ideas.

Technology helps bridging the home languages to school, especially if you have ipads (or ipod, iphone, smartphones), the following is a screenshot of an app where you can add your own vocabulary and make it as a game for multi-language learning. We could get parents involved to record the correct pronunciation of the word.

Encourage the home language and helping children transition from home to the education setting could be as simple as learning a list of frequently used words, such as:

  • Greetings (good morning, hi, bye)
  • Manners (please, thank you, have a nice day)
  • Instructions (stop, stand up, sit down, share...)
  • Facts (colours, numbers)
  • Praise (well done, very good...etc)

For the bi-lingual or multi-lingual student, I found it quicker for them to comprehend by keeping the language simple, and use two languages to reinforce meanings.  For example, use 'raining, come in' instead of 'It's raining outside, come on in.' or pointing to a red cup, 'whero, red.'

A method suggested in the Advocacy Kit for Promoting Multilingual Education - Including the Excluded from UNESCO is to speak the home language first, once the child is confident and fluent in the first language, then add on the second.  It could be hard due to resources (employing another teacher who speaks the language), but as mentioned above, using technology and learning the basic of the language helps.

Other apps for learning basic languages:
Free apps from innovative language
80 apps to learn a new language

A web-based program to learn about the language and culture:
Rocket French
Rocket Japanese
Rocket Italian
Rocket Spanish
Rocket German
Rocket Chinese
Rocket Arabic

No comments:

Post a Comment