Mother tongue day: 21 february 201421.02.2014
UNESCO’s position towards multilingual education is strengthened as part of its efforts to promote global citizenship education.
According to UNESCO, “Education for Global Citizenship aims to enable learners to play an active role in both the local and global levels to address global challenges and, ultimately, contribute proactively in creating a more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable world”.
UNESCO advocates for mother tongue instruction in a bilingual or multilingual education approach in the early years because of its importance in creating a strong foundation for learning: the use mother tongue with young children at home or in pre-school prepares them for the smooth acquisition of literacy in their mother tongue and eventually, the acquisition of the second (perhaps national) language at a later stage in their schooling.
As a UNESCO associated school, Miras International School is committed to providing its students with opportunities to access their mother tongues, which is granted in our revised Language Policy and supported with our aspiration for extending printed and multimedia resources in different languages and steps undertaken to designing and implementing individual Mother Tongue support programmes.
To make a stronger focus on multilingualism recognized by the International Baccalaureate as “a fact, a right and a resource” for education and ‘multilingual education’ referred to in UNESCO’s vision as “the use of at least three languages in education: the mother tongue; a regional or national language and an international language”, the Mother Tongue Day programme this year was broad enough to include a range of activities to celebrate the growing number of our current students’ mother tongues. Grades 5-DP1 students were challenged to write opinion articles on buring issues “What is my mother tongue to me?” and “Many languages: our common identity”, with the students’ responses having been displayed in the Secondary and Primary atriums. Senior grade students participated in UNESCO-developed survey “Frequent Asked Questions on Endangered Languages”, whereby they could compare their opinions with the ones suggested by the organization to make conclusions. Initiated by the librarians, the campaign entitled “Discover the multilingual world” received further responses and feedback from the school’s community. Additionally, both Primary and Secondary school students were able to practice “survival phrases” in existing mother tongues, which are being displayed at the moment and planned to be transformed into “mobile culture corners” across the school.
The final assembly held on 21 February 2014 turned out to be the culminating activity of the Mother Tongue day, which, in fact, grew into a week. Working in their House teams Secondary school students created presentations aimed at promoting different languages and, importantly, different cultures — the cultures represented by the student population. The presentations were well received by the audience that comprised Grades 4-DP2 students and teachers. We hope that the Mother Tongue day will become a starting point for a school-wide campaign to promote multilingualism in our growing intercultural community.
Reference made to the source of information in preparation of this article: