Is Mother Tongue Essential For A Deeper Understanding Of Concepts?

Language holds the key to understanding and without it any concept taught is meaningless.

The National Education Policy move to introduce teaching and learning in the mother tongue is a particularly strong bold move. The prelude of the mother tongue will encourage a child to go to school with enthusiasm. The mother tongue is not just a language but a sense of belonging and valuing it can aid in fostering respect for one’s heritage. Being bilingual will also open up social and cultural opportunities for students and help one develop new perspectives. 

NEP 2020 is exactly on the lines of Basic Education by Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi Ji said that “school must be an extension of the home. There must be concordance between the impressions which a child gathers at home and at school, for a deeper understanding of concepts. We can achieve a natural flow of thoughts through our mother tongue only”. 

Language holds the key to understanding and without it any concept taught is meaningless. It has been proven time and again through research that students who study in their mother tongue find it easier to learn the information presented, retain it for longer periods and find it easier to understand the concepts and relate them to real life. 

Quantitatively, studies also show that children who receive schooling in their mother- tongue language in early grades have better learning outcomes overall and have significantly better literacy levels.  

The proposed system provides a very promising prospect for our future education system and can revolutionize the teaching-learning process. However, there are few creases in the proposed plan which can be ironed out by making certain changes in the system. If with careful planning this system is implemented successfully, I am certain it can make a positive impact in our current education system. 

Strengthen Foundation for Learning 

Home is the first school for any kid and children should be taught in their mother tongue. Beginning with mother tongue at home and learning in a foreign language in school slows down the learning process. Any foreign language can be easily learnt by a child even after grade 5 because of brain plasticity. When the language of instruction is in the mother tongue, children can understand concepts faster and retain them for longer. 

Engaging in Classroom Conversation 

The use of mother tongue as a medium of instruction in the classroom helps students to understand easily and connect with the classroom conversation. Learning in foreign language may lead to distraction among students. Due to the use of English language, many parents are not able to participate in their child’s schooling. This will increase the rate of parental participation in a child’s schooling and will lead to strong home-school partnerships. 

Increasing Mental Skills 

Being bilingual enhances analytical skills, they have higher synaptic activity in the brain due to multiple languages which shows higher mental flexibility and processing power. Learning in local language will boost self-confidence and will be able to express themselves in better ways. 

Maintaining Cultural Heritage 

India has different and beautiful languages which are unique in itself. The loss of our languages and dialects will be a cultural loss not just to India but also to the world. Learning through mother language or local language helps children to connect with their ancestors in a way which others can’t. Developed countries offer education in their native language which helps in preserving and maintaining cultural heritage. 

Despite its various advantages, there are a few shortcomings to this approach. Firstly, this concept is hard to implement in metro cities where the students from multilingual backgrounds attend the same school hence, it is hard to enforce a language as the primary mode of teaching. Another downfall of this approach is that it does not take children who need to transfer from one city to another in mind. The children who transfer schools could face challenges adapting to a new language in their new schools. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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