Friday, February 19, 2010

Learning the mother-tongue

We found this article in the Times of India on 'English vs. mother tongue' (via this post on the Pratham blog) which says,
"...we are still left with the challenge of facilitating intuitive learning in a classroom. Children who struggle with any language are the ones who have no exposure to that language in their daily lives. There are natural processes that occur when we learn our mother tongue or when we learn languages in a multilingual environment. How do we bring these into the classroom?"
and the article goes on to describe a method of immersive language learning that helped children of indigenous communities learn several languages.

Some of the discussions we have had in the comments section of this blog and others and on Twitter are relevant to this issue. Mothers tell us about the value of reading to their children in the mother tongue, that Tulika's books have played crucial roles in helping their children improve their knowledge of their mother tongues. All of them reinforce the value of reading in the mother tongue.

Here are some quotes:

utbtkids says, "I live in California. Tamil is my mother tongue. But to my kids, 5 years and almost 4, after they started fulltime school, Tamil has become their mother's tongue!
I work as a preschool teacher and am fully aware if the benefits of encouraging home language. But I hit road blocks every now and then.
At times like these Tulika's bilingual books and Tamil books have been very helpful. Though I cannot provide complete immersion, I heavily rely on Tulika to provide print awareness. I own atleast half of your publications, btw :) My children love Tulika books. Their favorite is The Seed and Brahma's Butterfly.
I also volunteer to teach Tamil for the California Tamil academy and use your books to enhance the classroom experience of the kids in my class."

Sandhya says, "Tullika books were specifically recommended by my daughter's Hindi and Kannada teachers at school for improving her language skills. For a while, they were even available through a parent at school. My daughter loved them, esp. the bilingual ones. She can now read most of those for her age by herself."

says, "I do think with technology, kids are exposed to more cultures/practices and are learning to enjoy that-colloquial language too...Also what we seek out as parents matters - we celebrate diversity - no reason why a story from the other end of the world cannot touch my heart and change my life - even if I do not get the nuances of the culture

ChoxBox says, "When we moved back to India, I bought Tulika books to get my older child familiar with Kannada - the bilingual as well as only Kannada ones."

babylovesbooks had this post on reading to the child in the mother tongue. Responding to a comment by Tulika, she says, "Yes, when it comes to kids, there’s really no limit to how much they can learn and absorb. Most of the time, it’s a question of how much effort and time we grown-ups are willing to invest in them. I’m sure Tulika books make a great impact in this regard. I will definitely be checking them out for my daughter."