Pondering the creation of a mother-tongue program for your school, but not sure where to begin? Here are some considerations to think about before implementing your program in order to make sure it is the best it can be:
The Aim of Your Program
Before pitching your program to your administration or to parents, the first thing you must be clear on is the intent of your program – will it provide a means for students to practice their mother tongue in conversational settings or academic – because this makes a difference.
Conversational: If you are setting up a program catering to conversational language, it could be as simple as offering times after school or during lunch hour where students can gather independently or with parent volunteers who speak the language to converse, play games, watch movies, etc.
Academic: On the flip side, if you are looking to set up a program for academic language purposes, then the following will require careful consideration:
The Size of Your Program
Once your vision for the program is clear, the next thing to consider is the number of students at your school who may be interested in such a program and the best way to do so is by sending out a survey to parents. Once you know the size of the program you are looking to build and the languages you will need to cater to, you will have a better idea of how to proceed.
With your objectives and your numbers on hand, this step entails figuring out when to schedule your program, which will be relatively easy to do if your program is conversational and you plan to offer it during lunch hour or after school. On the other hand, if your program is based on academic language, and it is something you would like to offer during scheduled class time, then you will need to determine if the mother tongue will be offered in lieu of another subject area, or if the number of students interested in the program is high enough that it may be considered its own subject area, comparable to a Modern Foreign Language class that students can opt to take.
Another idea to enhance your mother-tongue program would be to offer staff training on ways to incorporate the mother tongue into one’s lessons. In this way, not only are students offered the chance to practice their mother tongue during your program, but they can also do so in their classroom – a benefit for the students themselves and for their classmates as they will have the opportunity learn more about their language and their culture.
If you are looking for some easy ways that teachers can incorporate the mother tongue into their lessons at your school, check out the following article: Incorporating the Use of Mother Tongue in Your Classroom.
With the above considerations in mind, you should be well on your way to setting up the ideal mother tongue program for your school; that said, if you feel like you might need some further guidance, we are always happy to help. Contact us!