The Role of Language of Instruction in Promoting Quality and Equity in Primary Education

Carol Benson

in Lessons in Educational Equality

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199755011
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918867 | DOI:
The Role of Language of Instruction in Promoting Quality and Equity in Primary Education

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Early literacy, relevant content learning and effective classroom communication is necessary for education to make a difference in marginalized children’s lives. Teaching in the learner’s home language has the potential to make schools more inclusive and participatory, and will go a long way to attracting children to school, keeping them in school, helping them succeed in learning literacy and other curricular content, and giving them an equitable opportunity to participate in society. This chapter examines the obstacles to learning that result from teaching students in a foreign language, and reviews the evidence of how and why learners’ home languages should be used for literacy and learning. It argues that teaching additional languages should be part of a systematic approach to the school curriculum through bi- or multilingual education. The chapter discusses policymaking with regard to languages in education, explores where the problems lie and concludes with strategies for moving forward.

Keywords: home language learning; linguistic equity; language of instruction; educational equity; bilingual education; multilingual education

Chapter.  10454 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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