International Mother Language Day

On 7 November 1999 UNESCO announced that February 21st would be International Mother Language Day.  A day when we would pay special attention to our Mother Tongue (home language), especially if it is a “dying language or dialect”.

February 21st was chosen to recognize the 1952 Bengali Language Movement in Bangladesh.

International Mother Language Day is designed to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and promote multilingualism. (Wikipedia). The UN linked this to the fourth sustainable development goal that of Quality Education.

MBIS is an extremely rich and  diverse language community that is characterized by our acceptance, respect and celebration of the many cultures to be found here. We therefor took full advantage of this special day in  the PYP:

  • Assembly that week was all about International Mother Language Day and we showed our students saying a few word in the many languages we have in our classrooms. Seeing ourselves and our friends on screen is always a fun thing to do. We were all impressed by just how many languages we have between us !

(Thanks to Ms. Meghna and Ms. Jenifer for the assembly and all our wonderful talented PYP students).

  • Guest readers to our assembly and classes to read to us in their mother tongues.
  • Daily display outside our library of a range of the books we have in languages other than English.
  • We talked about respecting each other’s languages and being empathetic and caring to those who were still learning English, the main language of communication on our campus.
  • We acknowledged that to be caring and principled we should not exclude people from our conversations by using a language they do not know
  • Human graphing in assembly – students stood up when they hear their country mentioned in a song – Where are you from?

At the end of the song we looked around and most of our community was standing, just of few of us were not, so we “flipped” and those who had not been mentioned in the song stood up and told the assembly where they came from\ and what language they spoke.

In the PYP we are keen to develop students who can communicate in more than one language and from PYP 2 we offer Hindi, German and French. We also support parents with a space to hold language clubs as part of our Extra Curricular Programme.

You may find these interesting:

en.unesco.org/international-days/international-mother-language-day

http://www.cbc.ca/parents/learning/view/how-to-help-kids-retain-their-mother-tongue

Ms Helen and Ms Devaki