Home languages in schools


Crisfield Educational Consulting for Home Language Education

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
– Nelson Mandela

Every child arrives at school with a language, and sometimes with more than one. If these languages are not the same as the school language they are still a fundamental part of a child’s identity, and every child has the right to have their home language(s) embraced, valued, supported, at school. No matter how minor their language, or the status of the language in the community, these languages represent an integral part of a child, and must not be side-lined, neglected or stamped out. Research shows clearly the value of MT/L1 sustainability and the overall benefits to the academic, cognitive, linguistic and social growth of children. Schools who welcome children from other language backgrounds have a duty and a responsibility to ensure that each pupil continues to develop in all their languages. Home Language tuition is one pathway to this goal, but there are many ways in which schools can promote positive models of bilingualism and encourage all pupils to thrive because of their languages rather than in spite of their languages.

CEC has defined three different models for home languages support in schools;

  • The Extra-curricular model: classes in different languages are offered after school, usually community organised
  • The Parallel model: home language tuition is offered within the timetable of the school day, but organised separately from the main curriculum
  • The Integrated model: home language tuition is offered as a part of the regular school day and the learning is connected to the main curriculum

An analysis of the pros and cons in each model can be found in the article Do we need to change our approach to mother tongue? in the International School Magazine (Summer 2016, p. 11)

In addition, CEC works with schools to promote additive bilingualism and to help develop a “languages across the curriculum” model, in which all languages can be and are used for learning in schools. More information about this approach can be found on the Translanguaging page.

CEC also works in partnership with LanguageOne to provide teacher-training, parent-training, and collaborative curriculum models for Home Language Support in schools, worldwide.

For more information on LanguageOne’s Mother Tongue programming, visit their website through the link below.



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s