Mother tongue instruction

definition

Mother tongue instruction generally refers to the use of the learners’ mother tongue as the medium of instruction. Additionally, it can refer to the mother tongue as a subject of instruction. It is considered to be an important component of quality education, particularly in the early years (UNESCO, 2003: 13). 

UNESCO. Education in a multilingual world: UNESCO education position paper, 2003. 

example of use

To ensure that children acquire strong foundation skills in literacy and numeracy, schools need to teach the curriculum in a language children understand. Mother tongue based bilingual (or multilingual) education approaches, in which a child’s mother tongue is taught alongside the introduction of a second language, can improve performance in the second language as well as in other subjects (UNESCO, 2016: 3)

UNESCO. If you don’t understand, how can you learn? Global education monitoring report: policy paper 24, 2016.

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