Mother Tongue

Mother Tongue

 

At Kowloon Junior School we believe that mother tongue language development is crucial to maintaining cultural identity and emotional stability. Research literature defines mother tongue as the “language learned first, the language identified with as a native speaker, the language known best and the language used most”*. As an international school, Kowloon Junior has a rich and complex multilingual student background of mother tongue speakers and we have a special responsibility to recognise and support each and every aspect of language development for our learners. We do this by ensuring we create a rich language and literacy environment to achieve success for all our students and value the strength of a child’s mother tongue to gain a deeper understanding of language and how to use it.

 

Research shows that children learn more effectively if they continue to maintain their mother tongue alongside English and may develop more flexibility in their thinking as concepts, language and literacy skills are transferred. Therefore, we strongly value the importance of encouraging families to keep their mother tongue alive at home and to use it as a means for their child to share their knowledge with others.

 

Kowloon Junior School also offers a variety of authentic and meaningful learning opportunities for students to access the curriculum in both English and in the children’s mother tongue. We understand that the most conducive environment to language learning is in a positive and encouraging one and this occurs within the curriculum through listening and speaking activities across all stages of the school.

 

 Opportunities include;

·         ‘Unpacking’ central ideas and new vocabulary in mother tongue groups with parents to increase social and academic vocabulary

·         Sharing class and library literature

·         Cultural Celebration Days and the UN Mother Tongue Day

·         Support for parent-led mother tongue maintenance groups where communities of speakers of the same language can gather together

·         Conferences conducted in mother tongue settings

·         Lunch Clubs for children to socialise in and across language groups

·         Class presentations

 

For more information on mother tongue, please refer to our school’s Language Policy (found under the ‘Our School’ / School Policies tab on the school website).
If you are interested in supporting the mother tongue programme at Kowloon Junior School please contact Miss Louise Logan:  louise.logan@kjs.edu.hk

 

* Learning in a language other than mother tongue in IB programmes, April 2008, p. 1

 

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