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Journal of Education and Practice ISSN 2222-1735 (Paper ISSN 2222-2!!" (#nline $ol.%& No.

2%& 2'13

www.iiste.org

The Role of Mother Tongue in Early Childhood Education


()pa*io .+. Effiong ,epart-ent of curriculu- studies and educational tec.nolog/& 0ni1ersit/ of Port 2arcourt. 3i1ers state& Nigeria. 4E-ail5 alorafingers6/a.oo.coAbstract 7.e i-portance of education to .u-anit/ can ne1er *e o1er e-p.asi8ed9 it is against t.is *ac)drop t.at e-p.asis is *eing laid on t.e education of a c.ild w.o is t.e future leader. :o1ern-ent at all le1els and organi8ations all o1er t.e world .a1e reiterated t.eir co--it-ent in education& especiall/ t.at of c.ildren and /out.s &*ut in doing so effecti1el/ &attention -ust also *e gi1en to t.e -ediu- of instruction& deter-ining w.at language will *e used to teac. t.e students is one of t.e i-portant factors to *e considered in c.ild.ood education. +an/ researc.ers& educationists and ot.er sta)e.olders .a1e spent enor-ous ti-e& energ/ and resources enu-erating and e-p.asi8ing t.e i-portance of education to t.e c.ild wit. little e-p.asis on t.e -ediu- of instruction. 7.is paper see)s to raise t.e le1el of consciousness wit. regards to t.e i-portant role -ot.er tongue pla/s in earl/ education of a c.ild. Keywords5 t.e notion of language& -ediu- of instruction& -ot.er tongue& t.e role -ot.er tongue in c.ild.ood education. 1. INTRO !CTION 7.e i-portance of -ot.er tongue in t.e education of a c.ild especiall/ at t.e earl/ stage is of great para-ount. +ot.er tongue .ere represents t.e first language of a c.ild w.ic. could *e language of .is;.er parents or t.at of t.e i--ediate en1iron-ent. Ps/c.ologicall/& t.e proper de1elop-ent of a c.ild is closel/ related wit. continued uninterrupted usage of t.e language of .is i--ediate fa-il/& friends and people t.at t.e c.ild is ac<uainted wit.. Educationall/& t.e c.ild cannot learn t.e facts and ideas of w.at is *een co--unicated unless .e .as an understanding of t.e language of instruction. (European Journal of social science 2''= In conte-porar/ ti-es& t.e use of second language in teac.ing during t.e earl/ education of a c.ild .as gain pro-inence especiall/ w.en t.e language in <uestion is percei1ed as t.e elite language */ -e-*ers of t.e societ/. 7.is is a co--on practice of so-e pri-ar/ sc.ools especiall/ in (frica and ot.er de1eloping continent& a situation t.at .as pro-pted t.e need to reiterate t.at -ot.er tongue is t.e culture of t.e c.ild& it is t.e -ediut.roug. w.ic. culture is e>pressed .ence ignoring t.e c.ild?s -ot.er tongue w.ic. is a fa-iliar language and co--unicating wit. .i- as soon as .e gets into t.e sc.ool en1iron-ent wit. a different language would a-ong ot.er t.ings i-pede t.e educational &ps/c.ological growt. and de1elop-ent of t.e c.ild. ".# T$E NOTION O% &AN'!A'E @anguage -a/ *e defined as a set -eans of co--unication& it denotes a set of signs and s/-*ols w.ic. is generall/ accepted as referent for concepts. @anguage is *asicall/ used -ost in two for-s w.ic. include t.e spo)en for- and t.e gesticulation for- *ut it can also *e transferred to suc. -edia writing especiall/ if t.e spo)en for- is una1aila*le or for record purposes. A.et.er spo)en& written or */ gesture& language ser1es as a *ridge a-ong people of 1arious tri*es and races in t.e world. (.# MOT$ER TON'!E )&1* +ot.er tongue si-pl/ put -eans t.e first language a c.ild co-es in contact wit. or t.e language of t.e i--ediate en1iron-ent. 7.e o>ford ad1anced learners dictionar/ defines -ot.er tongue as t.e first language a c.ild learns to spea). 7.e -entalist ps/c.ologists *elie1es t.at a c.ild ac<uires .is -ot.er tongue at a tender age wit. t.e .elp of w.at t.e/ referred to as t.e @anguage ac<uisition de1ice (@(, & a de1ice in w.ic. t.e -entalist ps/c.ologist *elie1es to *e present in t.e c.ild?s *rain wit. t.e pri-ar/ function of ac<uiring language .it is wort./ to note t.at at t.e earl/ stage& t.e c.ild naturall/ i-*i*es t.e structure of .is -ot.er tongue. +.# ,ECON &AN'!A'E )&"* Second language refers to t.e language learnt after t.e ac<uisition of -ot.er tongue or first language. 0nli)e t.e case of -ot.er tongue w.ere t.e c.ild i-*i*es t.e language structures naturall/& a second language learner -a)es a conscious effort in ac<uiring t.e structures of t.e target language. -.# ME I!M O% IN,TR!CTION,. +ediu- of instruction .ere refers to t.e language used */ teac.ers to teac. in sc.ools& it entails t.e c.oice of 1er*al co--unication *etween t.e teac.ers and t.e students. 1%1

Journal of Education and Practice ISSN 2222-1735 (Paper ISSN 2222-2!!" (#nline $ol.%& No.2%& 2'13

www.iiste.org

..# T$E RO&E O% MOT$ER TON'!E IN C$I& $OO E !CATION ..1 IT %ACI&ITATE, &EARNIN' 7.e use of -ot.er tongue in t.e earl/ education of c.ild .elps in facilitating learning& it ser1es as a -oti1ation as t.e c.ild -o1es fro- t.e )nown& w.ic. is t.e -ot.er tongue to t.e un)nown w.ic. is t.e second language or target language. ,illip 7ir)e/ &a -e-*er of #disa (di1as.i -auc. (#(+ a state foru- for tri*al to pro-ote earl/ education in t.e -ot.er tongue in India ad-itted t.at .e faced a great deal of difficult/ in .is sc.ool da/s *ecause of t.e -ediu- of instruction. Birst language taug.t s.ould *e w.at c.ildren are fa-iliar wit.. C7ri*al c.ildren w.o are not taug.t in t.eir own dialect or -ot.er tongue in t.e initial /ears find learning difficult.D 2e also noted t.at t.e c.ildren are una*le to full/ understand classroo- teac.ing and te>t*oo)s properl/ as t.e language see-s to *e strange to t.e-. .." IT /REE , CON%I ENCE AN /ETTER ACA EMIC 0ER%ORMANCE E.ildren are a*le to e>press t.e-sel1es and understand concepts and su*Fect -atter taug.t in -ot.er tongue. ( stud/ was carried out on fifteen Italian interpreters w.o were wor)ing for t.e European 0nion (E0 & t.e interpreters were also all e>tre-el/ fluent in Englis. language. 7.e stud/ re1ealed t.at t.ere were differences in *rain acti1it/ w.en t.e su*Fects (interpreters were s.own words in t.eir nati1e language 1ersus ot.er languages t.e/ were co-petent in& a*out 17' -illiseconds after a word is s.own& t.e researc.er recorded a pea) in electrical acti1it/ in t.e left side of t.e *rain area w.ere words are recogni8ed and t.ese *rain wa1es .ad a -uc. .ig.er a-plitude w.en t.e words were in Italian& t.eir -ot.er tongue ot.er t.an ot.er language t.e/ were e>posed to. 7aiwo (1=!'51!3 *uttress t.is point */ sa/ing t.at C( language of t.e .o-e in w.ic. is trans-itted and t.e foundations to t.e c.aracteristic parental and filial ties are laid -a)es c.ildren to *e -ore proficient and produces .ig. degree of s)ills and co--and.D ..( IT 0RE,ER1E, T$E &EARNER, I ENTIT2 AN C!&T!RE Instruction in -ot.er tongue also preser1es t.e c.ild?s identit/ and culture. 7.us (won/i (1=!' as)ed Ccan one identif/ wit. .is culture wit.out spea)ing t.e -ot.er tongueD. 7.is goes on to s.ow t.at -ot.er tongue connects t.e c.ild wit. t.e culture of t.e societ/ t.at .e co-es fro- and s.apes .is identit/. Nelson +andela also supported t.is 1iew w.en .e said CIf /ou tal) to a -an in t.e language .e understands& it goes to .is .ead& *ut if /ou tal) to .i- in .is -ot.er tongue t.at goes to .is .eartD. 7.is portra/s t.at -ot.er tongue .old close ties to learner identit/ and culture& .ence den/ing t.e c.ild of .is -ot.er tongue would tanta-ount to den/ing .i- .is culture. ..+ MOT$ER TON'!E 0RO1I E, T$E 0REMI,E %OR &EARNIN' OT$ER &AN'!A'E,. +ot.er tongue .elps t.e c.ild to ac<uire and con1erse in languages ot.er t.an .is -ot.er tongue. 2ere t.e c.ild gets ac<uainted wit. t.e nuances of .is -ot.er tongue and on t.at foundation9 .e uses t.e- to learn ot.er languages especiall/ w.en t.e -ot.er tongue and t.e target language s.are a si-ilar structure. It also .elps t.e c.ild to de1elop stronger literac/ s)ills and c.ildren co-e to sc.ool well prepared to learn t.e language of t.eir i--igrant countr/ and -a)e progress educationall/. 3.# CONC&!,ION It is pertinent for t.e go1ern-ent& organi8ation& teac.ers and ot.er sta)e .olders in t.e educational sector to renew t.eir co--it-ent to t.e use of -ot.er tongue as t.e -ediu- of instruction in earl/ c.ild.ood education. Negligence in t.is regard -ig.t result in t.e following5 It creates difficult/ in t.e learning process as t.e c.ildren .ardl/ learn effecti1el/ until t.ere is so-e degree of -aster/ in t.e language of instruction. It ro*s t.e c.ild of .is personal identit/ and social status. 7.e i-position of a new language on a /oung learner not onl/ denationali8es and disorgani8es .i- *ut also de*ases .is personalit/ ((woni/i It does not create an at-osp.ere of continuit/ *etween t.e .o-e and t.e sc.ool for t.e c.ild as t.e c.ild is e>posed to a different language i--ediatel/ .e gets to sc.ool. It neglects t.e *asic rudi-ents of t.e c.ild?s cultural .eritage w.ic. language in essence is t.e 1e.icle of trans-ission. References Eu--ins& Ji-. Gilingual E.ildrenHs +ot.er 7ongue A./ Is It I-portant for EducationI (1aila*le at .ttp5;;www.iteac.ilearn.co-;cu--ins;-ot.er..t-. International 2erald 7ri*une& +a/ 23& 2''!. Grain (cti1it/ 3e1eals +ot.er 7ongue. (1aila*le at .ttp5;;www.i.t.co-;articles;ap;2''!;'5;23;europe;E0-BE(-:EN-Ital/-@anguage-#f-7.oug.ts.p.p CGrain acti1it/ re1eals -ot.er tongueD pu*lis.ed on +arc. 23& 2''! in t.e International 2erald (raro-i (2''5 .7.e -ot.er-tongue language of institution and issues in -et.odolog/. 7.e federal repu*lic of Nigeria& t.e national polic/ of education.%t. edition (2''% #lag*afu #.# (2''= t.e c.allenges of using Nigerian language in -odern education.

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