Teachers Should "Use Learners' Strongest Language in Classroom" | Teachers College Columbia University

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TC’s Carol Benson: Teachers Should “Use Learners’ Strongest Language in Classroom”

Carol Benson, Associate Professor of International & Comparative Education
Carol Benson, Associate Professor of International & Comparative Education
At the Comparative and International Education Society Conference on March 9, Carol Benson, Associate Professor of International and Comparative Education, said students who acquire learning skills in their mother language first have a better chance of continued success in school. Benson participated in a panel about the value of teaching children in their strongest language. She is quoted in a story distributed by the Public News Service.  

According to the PNS story, where more than one mother language is spoken at home, educators should ideally “use learners’ strongest languages if possible at the beginning to build on those skills,” Benson is quoted as saying, adding that instruction in the mother language should not stop after early grades but continue beyond primary levels and in adult instruction.

The PNS story reports that “development donors and ministries of education increasingly recognize the value of mother language instruction and literacy, but applying it in the classroom is a complex and challenging task,” said experts on the panel. UNESCO reports that children learn best in a language they can understand, yet up to 40 percent of children around the world do not have access to education in a language they speak and comprehend. The report also highlights that being taught in a language other than one's mother tongue can cause minority language speakers to fall behind and experience long-term detriments to learning outcomes.

To read the full story, go here.

Published Monday, Mar 13, 2017