Those who grasp a language command more than words MODERSMÅLSCENTRUM I LUND THE MOTHER TONGUE CENTER IN LUND

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1 Those who grasp a language command more than words MODERSMÅLSCENTRUM I LUND THE MOTHER TONGUE CENTER IN LUND

2 The Mother Tongue educational foundation and cultural link Many of the young people living in our municipality have a non- Swedish mother tongue. For these students the mother tongue is both an educational foundation and a link between domestic and school life. Mother tongue is also a vital learning tool. Students who are proficient in their mother tongue find it easier to learn both Swedish and other academic subjects. Mother tongue plays a major role in building your identity and strengthening your self-belief. Students who receive mother tongue tuition obtain the highest grades in Swedish schools. (Report 321: 2008, Swedish National Agency for Education)

3 What does research say? School is a social and cultural meeting place where children and young people are preparing for life in an increasingly internationalised society. Mother tongue support and tuition helps to form an understanding about how languages and cultures can meet. Researchers have found that mother tongue support and tuition: Makes it easier to learn Swedish and other languages Leads to academic success and higher grades Makes children and young people at school feel more self-assured Qudos Shaur The mother tongue breeds self-assurance Qudos Shaur is passionate about working with children. As Lund s head teacher in Dari, he is convinced that your mother tongue is particularly important for a person s self-confidence. On the EU s list of eight key competences, the first is communication in the mother tongue. Mother tongue tuition is vital because language is a tool for learning how to communicate and think, says Qudos Shaur as he watches his young Dari-speaking students stream out on their break. Qudos, who is a qualified teacher and Doctor of Philosophy from Moscow State University, maintains that the mother tongue is particularly important for building identity and strengthening self-confidence. Many immigrants to Sweden become torn between their old country s and new country s cultures. We humans cannot change our identities overnight. This is where mother tongue tuition can help build a bridge between the two cultures, he says. You have to know yourself in order to truly accept other people. This is the basis of human interaction and the first step towards becoming integrated into society. Mother tongue tuition strengthens your grasp on your native language and in turn makes it easier to learn other languages. Once you learn the structure and grammar of your mother tongue, you have a reference point and basic toolkit for learning a new language. My work as a mother tongue teacher has taught me that students who understand the concepts of their academic subjects in their native languages can translate them into Swedish. This in turn leads to better grades at school, he says.

4 Mother tongue tuition in Lund In Lund Municipality, the Mother Tongue Center in Lund, provides mother tongue tuition in more than 35 languages. The process for applying for tuition is as follows: Principal Use your mother tongue at home every day. Children who receive mother tongue tuition at pre-school at an early stage and continue to receive tuition at school, gain a high level of proficiency both in Swedish and their mother tongue. It is a unique opportunity. Municipal council The municipal council issues information about the requirements for mother tongue tuition The principal approves or rejects the application.once an application is approved, the principal sends a work order to the Mother Tongue Centre The student or his/her guardian sends an application for mother tongue tuition to the school principal Student The center provides tuition if a suitable teacher in the language concerned is available and if there are at least five applicants for the language. Mother Tongue Center in Lund

5 Who is entitled to tutoring? Mother tongue tuition is available to students at elementary and upper-secondary schools, providing the mother tongue is a living language at home and the student has a basic level of proficiency in the language. Lund Municipality can provide mother tongue tuition if a minimum of five students wish to receive tuition in the language and there is a suitable teacher. At pre-schools, multilingual children should have the opportunity to develop both their Swedish and mother tongue language skills. The Mother Tongue Center s teachers are available as support for the pre-schools in their work. This form of collaboration involves a mother tongue teacher coming to the pre-school and helping children develop their mother tongue skills and their sense of multicultural affinity. Hathairat Wendel Instils pride and self-assurance Hathairat Wendel is the municipality s head teacher in Thai. She sees on a daily basis how mother tongue tuition instils a sense of pride and self-assurance in the children. Domestic minority languages Mother tongue tuition in a domestic minority language (Samish, Meänkieli, Romany, Finnish, Yiddish) can also be provided even if there are fewer than five students and the mother tongue is not spoken at home. Many of my students are either from Thailand or one of their parents is Thai. In other words they grow up with two cultures, says Hathairat Wendel who has completed teacher training both in Thailand and in Sweden. While it is essential that these children learn Swedish, it is also important that they preserve their knowledge of their mother tongue and culture even if they live in Sweden. It is important to feel a sense of pride in your origins. Students who know their mother tongue and culture well and are aware of their roots, gain a sense of self-assurance. The children and young people, who attend the mother tongue classes, enjoy the process of learning their own language. In the classes at pre-school we help the children develop their language skills through play, singing and dancing. We paint, make things and play games together. The other kids in pre-school also get to learn a little Thai. When I m not there the Thai kids sometimes tell the others what things are called in Thai. We focus not only on language but also on culture. We compare aspects of Swedish and Thai culture, for instance, she says.

6 What do the Policy documents say? Pre-school According to the Policy document for pre-schools, pre-schools should ensure that children whose mother tongues are not Swedish have the possibility of developing their language skills in both Swedish and their mother tongue. At pre-school, multilingual children should have the opportunity to develop their cultural identities. Study counselling Students should if necessary receive counselling in their mother tongue to help them achieve a satisfactory level in their various academic subjects. The decision about which students should receive student counselling rests with the school principal. Study counselling is suited to the student s individual needs. Elementary school The syllabus for mother tongue tuition focuses on two areas: language and culture. The mother tongue is regarded as a communicative tool and the programme is designed to help students develop a multicultural identity on their own terms. Upper-secondary school At upper-secondary schools there are different courses (each course carries 100 study points) in the subject: Modersmål 1 (Mother Tongue 1), Modersmål 2 (Mother Tongue 2) and Modersmål aktiv tvåspråkighet (Mother Tongue, active bilingualism). The programme is designed to help students achieve a level of proficiency in 2 languages and make them aware that a grasp of your mother tongue and knowledge of your old country s culture is a major asset both in Sweden and in an international context.

7 MODERSMÅLSCENTRUM I LUND THE MOTHER TONGUE CENTER IN LUND Gymnasieskolan Vipan Vipeholmsvägen, building D Lund Mari Bergqvist, Director Camilla Ekberg, Assistant Director Production: cozmo.se Photo: Jenny Leyman. Printing: CA Andersson.

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