Menu

NIS Stories

The Importance of Maintaining Mother Tongue

maintaining-mother-tongue

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:

  1. Faster intellectual development
  2. Stronger connection to your culture
  3. Ease in mastering new languages
  4. Greater socioeconomic benefits

 

1. Faster Intellectual Development

 

There have been numerous studies looking into the link between language acquisition and the development of essential academic skills, such as critical thinking and enhanced literacy skills

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.

Studies have shown that children maintaining a connection to their culture via mother tongue language positively affects their mental health, reduces stress, and strengthens connections with others.

 

3. Ease in Mastering New Languages

 

When your children have already developed their multilingual skills, picking up new languages comes to them with increased confidence and ease. 

Some studies have shown that adults who have learned a second language, particularly those who have learned at least two before the age of five, have denser grey matter in the left hemisphere of their brain, which is the section responsible for language and communication.

 

4. Evidence of Greater Socioeconomic Benefits

 

Studies have found that multilingual children enjoy a higher socioeconomic status than their monolingual peers, and are also more likely to earn a higher salary.

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.”

 

This is a link to the community profile landing page