4.5 Use of one’s mother tongue

The appropriate use of the mother tongue can help teachers to evaluate the knowledge and understanding children bring with them and help them to learn further, as illustrated in the following case study.

Case study 7: Mr Auckbar uses the Creole language in his Form I class

Mr Auckbar wants to teach relative position of objects to his class in a primary school in Port Louis, Mauritius. He knows that, in Creole, the concepts of left/right, over/under, top/bottom, front/back, that can be translated asgoss/drawr, lor/en ba, la o/en ba, divan/derrier, are particularly difficult for his young pupils. He knows the importance of using English in his class, but he also knows the value of a multilingual approach and he is sure that at home his pupils will have heard these words when their parents ask them to store various objects. He decides to check and enhance their understanding of these concepts in Creole before resuming in English.

During researching the TESSA resources, and particularly in Section 1 of Module 3 on Literacy ‘How can you help pupils to practise language structures in a natural context?’, Mr Auckbar noticed some useful strategies. Using examples of activities based in games, he was able to help pupils develop an example of these concepts. The children took great pleasure to build scaffoldings with their rulers, pencils, erasers and pens, following the instructions given by Mr Auckbar in Creole then in English; first slowly and then faster and faster when the children had gained confidence and showed that they understood the concepts. Finally, Mr Auckbar and the pupils were really happy when some of the children could give the instructions in English and made ​​sure that their friends had placed the objects correctly.

With continuous use of the TESSA resources, Mr Auckbar found other examples and case studies in Section 4 of Module 3 on Literacy [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] : ‘How to benefit from the knowledge of a local language?’. He decided to keep them at hand to reinforce the main constructs in relative position of objects throughout the class session.

4.4 Use of technical vocabulary

5. Planning and preparing lessons to include all pupils