Essays on Importance Of Mother Tongue In Modern Education
Role And Influences Of Mother Tongue Education Essay
The issue in this case is not simply the fundamental mother tongue argument (which almost
everyone does not seem to question), but the possibility of mainstreaming MLE in so-called formal
education platforms. While the resistance is more explicitly about the need to sustain the efforts
of the national language project in fostering national unity and national consciousness among
Filipinos, the MLE challenge to bilingual education surfaces the covert ideological boundaries
between those who are included and excluded in the collective imagining of the nation.
In her short essay “Mother Tongue”, ..
MOTHER TONGUE INSTRUCTION AROUND THE WORLD
The literature on the use of the mother tongues or the first languages of learners has been
overwhelmingly positive (Thomas). The Global Monitoring Report of UNESCO (Education for All)
summarizes the rich field thus far:
The choice of the language of instruction used in school is of utmost importance.
Initial instruction in the learner’s first language improves learning outcomes and
reduces subsequent grade repetition and dropout rates. (17)
However, this seemingly unproblematic fact about mother tongues becomes a highly
politicized argument if it is located in specific sociopolitical contexts. Indeed, the role of mother
tongues in society and education depends on whose society and education we are talking about.
Benson, for example, notes that in many ex-British colonies mother tongue schooling has been a
historical by-product of separate and unequal development, for example the institutionalization
of Bantu education during the apartheid era of South Africa, although pedagogical strategies
emerging from this discriminatory practice have become potential agents of change towards
equitable education. Similarly, mother tongues have served as compensatory tools to reverse the
trend of illiteracy and high school dropout rates in many marginalized communities and countries
around the world, for example in Guatemala where only less than half of its rural Maya languagespeaking
population is enrolled in school and further half drops out after first grade.
Moreover, still according to Benson, mother tongues have also served as representations
of new political ideologies of many societies around the world, for example the explicit political
valuing of pluralism in the constitutions of Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia; while
clearly educational development objectives drive the institutionalization of mother tongue
instruction such as the ones used in Mozambique, Nigeria, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea.
The point here is that, while mother tongue instruction has proved to be pedagogically sound,
its valuing differs across communities and societies. The many layers of ideology and politics which
undergird it reveal, in particular, a specific politics of language and education and, in general, a
sociopolitical landscape characterized by tension between inclusionary and exclusionary policies.
Mother tongue instruction does not and cannot happen in a vacuum; even as it argues for its
superiority over other modes of instruction, it is enmeshed in many other social issues. Unpacking
these issues surrounding mother tongue instruction can reveal rich information about postcolonial
language politics in many societies today.