Should Young Children Be Taught In Their Mother-Tongue?

As an early childhood educator, I’m sure you have come across the debate about mother-tongue education.

According to Dr Thabo Ditsele, a socio-linguist lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria,

“…. teaching younger children in a language that is not their mother tongue appears to disrupt cognitive ability and interferes with the learning process”.

This finding seems to be in line with the thinking of education specialists, who have for many years promoted the advantages of mother-tongue instruction in the early stages of a child’s education. Yet the majority of our young children are being taught in English and not their mother-tongue. Perhaps a solution would be to teach children in their home language and to gradually introduce English as a co-teaching medium. In this way, children would have the best of both worlds.

Are your children being taught in their mother tongue? Do you agree with Dr Ditsele’s observation? We would love to hear from you – let’s spark a debate!