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Don’t teach English to your children in Class I

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Global research shows that children should learn reading and writing in their mother tongue first. Only after they can read fluently at a minimum of 45-60 words per minute can they absorb what they are reading. Such fluency is most easily achieved in the mother tongue. Once that is established, learning a second language becomes much easier.

Premature teaching of a second language — like English — can prevent a child from learning to read fast enough in its mother tongue. Early reading and writing is vital: children that cannot do so fluently by Class 2 will likely never catch up with classmates in higher classes.

English is important. But even more important is reading and writing in your mother tongue.

For the full text in today's TOI, click here

Perhaps, this is the mistake that 'cosmopolitanists' are making.

Muralidhar Rao


RKCHARI's picture

People in Glass Houses......

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Would someone care to find out what education a Tambram like Swaminathan Ankleshwar Aiyar got in his formative years as a child?

He studied in Doon School from the age of eight, never having gone to any Tamil Medium School (before going to Dosco) in Delhi where his parents lived, studied in St. Stphen's College (was actually my classmate!), then went to Cambridge University to obtain his Tripos.

How can he espouse the cause of mother tongue being taught to children in schools without himself having set any such example?

Why are we so gung-ho on schools teaching in mother tongue? Why cant pre-school children leanr mother tongue from their mothers and fathers?

School like IIMs / IITs are meant to hone certain skills in the field of knowledge, apart from building character and enlarging the child's vision sowing the seeds of a world vision. Should that not be done in the most efficient language - English?

Just because we were ruled by the British for over 200 years, must we have an aversion for the language? Who says Indian language and cultural growth will suffer if children are not ingrained at school in their mother tongue?

Is not the Marathi Manoos dialogue sickening?




s_yajaman's picture

Tend to agree - education is a marathon not a sprint

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 I think a lot of rote learning has to do with the fact that the child does not understand what is being taught.  I just put my children in their place.  Just imagine if they go to school and maths, EVS, etc were taught in Hindi.  They would barely understand what is being taught.  To score marks, they would simply rote learn questions and answers.  That would not be beneficial in the long run or even in the short run.

I also feel that languages are taught completely wrong in school.  They should begin simply with conversation, listening to stories, etc before they start with reading and writing.  That is how we learn our mother tongues.  Where is the hurry to start reading and writing?

At RKC - it is also a sign of intellectual integrity to abandon your cherished ideals and beliefs  in the face of opposite but convincing data.  He hardly decided which school he was going to - it was his parents.






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blrpraj's picture

i disagree

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I completely disagree in this analysis that a child learns to read more fluently and faster in his or her mother tongue.

First of all has anybody defined mother tongue?

Secondly, folks realize that on a lot of occassions parents come from different linguistic backgrounds; so which language prevails - father tongue or mother tongue? 

Thirdly, Indians have made a mark globally; and yes; a few of them have had their primary education in their so called "mother tongue" (let's say Non-English language) but majority of them are English educated. All of them have done just fine and are equals. What matters is the environment, the education  system and the drive to achieve/exell.


Some of my thoughts on a similar topic that actually spawned this thread can be found at -

rs's picture

This article is total

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This article is total nonsense. In fact research shows that bi or multi lingual children actually do better than other students in other aspects as well. If anything, the poor performance is an indication of bad teaching.

idontspam's picture

Kids pick up 3 to 4 languages

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Kids pick up 3 to 4 languages easily as they travel & grow. Adults only tend to enforce their own prejudices & beliefs on children who dont get to decide such things. So go easy on your children & let others make decisions for their own children

s_yajaman's picture

What about the parents' POV?

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I wonder where the poor parents fit into how they want to bring up and educate/school their children because everyone seems to make a decision on the parents' behalf.

The "best for the child" in my opinion is a smokescreen for language chauvinists to push their agenda.  The best for my child is also safe roads, clean air, playing space, etc.  How come that never features in any discussion?  Half of learning happens outside school. 

Let me decide in which school I want to put my child in.  If I am old enough to have one, I am old enough to make certain decisions.  I decide his/her diet, his/her TV schedule, his/her play time.  Does the state interfere in this?  It may not be the "ideal" decision but till I see an ideal government and an ideal school and an ideal society I will not let that weigh on my conscience.

 I have not heard of any rule that says the best food is the one that is grown locally (say ragi mudde) as that is what the local child can digest best given that the ragi mudde contains local culture and if the child does not eat the mudde, the child will grow up incomplete!  

Is the real issue then that if I give the freedom to choose, then people will rush to English schools?  So what if they do? And  so the latest thing they bandy about is how perfect Europe is because they teach in the mother tongue and how that is THE model to follow.  Why? This is cherry picking data at its worst.  A model is good because it conforms to your bias is not a sound argument.

At the core I think is the issue of what a child's rights and whom does the child belong to and who ultimately is responsible for bringing up a child.

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