In deze tijd, waarin scholen zijn gesloten en op afstand leren de norm is geworden, staat ons onderwijs onder druk. Ongelijkheid in de toegang tot kwalitatief onderwijs wordt vergroot door gebrek aan digitale middelen of ondersteuning van ouders. Juist nu kan deze periode van thuisonderwijs ook nieuwe kansen bieden voor meertalige kinderen, zeker bij lezen. De input van thuistalen zal groter zijn, wat de taalontwikkeling kan stimuleren. Dit leidt uiteindelijk tot een betere ontwikkeling van de schooltaal. 

Uit onderzoek onder tweetalige kinderen blijkt dat voorlezen helpt bij de taalontwikkeling van zowel de thuistaal als de taal die op school wordt gesproken. Hierbij is samenwerking met de ouders essentieel. Als een verhaaltje tijdens de les in het Nederlands wordt voorgelezen, en kinderen hetzelfde verhaal wordt voorgelezen door hun ouders in de voorkeurstaal, dan stimuleert dit de taalontwikkeling in beide talen. Vooral prentenboeken zonder tekst zijn hierbij een goed middel, omdat meer interactie wordt gevraagd. Bovendien kan dit helpen om met ouders in gesprek te gaan en om zo samen te werken aan de (taal)ontwikkeling van het kind.

Continue Reading

Language Friendly School in Toronto, Canada

Language Friendly Schools welcome and value all languages spoken. Image of the Silver Creek School in Toronto, Canada.

The Rutu Foundation works to eradicate all forms of language based discrimination in education. We do this by supporting Language Friendly Schools. We also encourage international human rights bodies to clarify that such acts constitute human rights violations.

On 27 March 2020, the Rutu Foundation submitted an Alternative Report on Language Based Exclusion, Punishment and Discrimination in Dutch Education to the United Nations Committee which oversees the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

Although quantitative data is lacking, there are strong indications that the practice of prohibiting students (and their parents) from speaking a language other than Dutch in school is widespread in the Netherlands. This includes stopping students from speaking their home languages with each other while playing on the playground. Or asking parents not to use their mother tongue with their children when they drop them off and pick them up from school. Continue Reading

Every year on the 21st of February we celebrate the more than 7.000 languages spoken in the world. But did you know that in most countries, the vast majority of students are not allowed to use their home languages at school and are sometimes even punished for it? Punishments can take many forms. As recent as 2009, little kids from India were forced to wear a sign around their neck that they would never speak their home language.

Why schools prohibit or punish the use of home languages

There are many reasons why schools prohibit, punish or discourage the use of home languages. Often it is well-intentioned, as teachers believe that this is the best way for children to learn the school language. However, these practices are harmful and there are much better ways this can be achieved. With happier kids, parents and teachers as a result! 

One of the main goals of the Language Friendly School programme is to help ensure that by 2030, the deadline of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, no child is punished for using his or her mother tongue at school.

During our second Language Friendly School webinar, we took a closer look at why Language Friendly Schools commit to encouraging their students in using their home language, and agree never to prohibit or punish them for doing so.

Continue Reading