While studying in English at an international school, maintaining your children’s mother tongue can prove challenging, but is absolutely possible when they are provided with the right tools inside and outside the classroom.
At Nagoya International School (NIS), we understand the importance of mother tongue in education, which is why we’ve incorporated this belief into our curriculum.
To learn more about why it is important to maintain one’s mother tongue, we spoke to Noriko Partridge, Mother Tongue Lead and Japanese Teacher at NIS.
Why is it important to maintain your mother tongue:
It can be a challenge to teach “abstract skills” via a second language, but when there is already an understanding and a connection to the subject matter in a child’s mother tongue, you will find they are better able to master challenging skills and concepts more effectively and efficiently.
“This power [of the mother tongue] helps the cycle of communication skills, researching, thinking, analyzing, hypothesizing, consolidating the ideas, and lastly producing and outputting one’s ideas into the community,” said Partridge.
“As the community language in NIS is English, for those whose mother tongue is not English, this communication cycle in their first language will boost their ideas by breaking the wall of the language differences.”
2. Stronger Connection to Your Culture
When your children learn in their mother tongue, they are continuously maintaining a connection to their native culture, which will not only benefit them academically, but also mentally and socially.
“We are aiming to help our students become effective communicators by obtaining one or more additional languages within themselves. Language learning supports the development of intercultural understanding and respect, as well as appreciation of one's own language and culture,” said Partridge.
By embracing a student’s mother tongue while also studying in English, you are setting your children up for success.
“The power of generating ideas and communication also helps children express themselves, which gives them an opportunity to discover who they are,” said Partridge. “They re-recognize their identity and regain their confidence by opening themselves up to their community.”