Maintaining one’s native language enriches their understanding of the world, strengthens their ability to communicate with others and facilitates international understanding.
Ensuring you enroll your children in a school that offers an environment and programs that not only are committed to teaching them additional languages, but also helps them maintain and embrace their mother tongue is essential.
Why it’s Important to Maintain Native Language
There has been considerable research on the importance of native language maintenance and development.
The benefits of maintaining one’s mother tongue while also speaking other languages fluently include:
- Greater academic progress
- Greater cognitive advantages
- Greater job prospects
- Greater chance of getting into post-secondary
“We believe that native language is at the heart of human communication, thinking and feeling,” said Avery Udagawa, Head of the Native Language Program at International School Bangkok (ISB). “Language is a marker of identity and culture, helping us to make sense of ourselves, our perspectives and our world.”
Having a multicultural international school campus and a multilingual upbringing are assets in our increasingly interconnected world - both of which increase students’ levels of empathy and risk-taking.
To truly harness the power of language learning, you need to ensure your children have access to a strong native language program.
Benefits of a Strong Native Language Program
Studying languages in school ensures students develop essential skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and the ability to see and comprehend alternative perspectives. Students with access to a strong language program develop an awareness of similarities and differences between the native language and subsequent languages.
Through a native language program, schools can ensure proficiency in your children’s English and their mother tongue for if and when they return to their home country - whether for university, college or their career.
The benefits of a strong native language include:
- Leveraging students' languages to enhance all of their content learning
- Helping give students the ability to see and celebrate the rich linguistic diversity of their student body
According to Udagawa, this all connects directly to social justice.
How ISB’s Native Language Program Helps Students Maintain their Mother Tongue
To help students maintain their mother tongues, ISB runs Native Language Programs throughout the school day in all three schools and a Native Language Academy after the school day, both of which are hosted in a number of languages including Japanese.
“In addition to these programs, we also encourage students to use their native language within the school day and to practice at home with their families,” said Udagawa.
At ISB, the Native Language Program helps students:
- Communicate effectively and efficiently for a range of purposes and audiences
- Explore and develop a personal appreciation for reading
- Explore, compare and contrast cultures from around the world while showing respect for various cultural backgrounds and perspectives
- Interact respectfully with people from different cultural backgrounds and perspectives
- Inquire into and evaluate the consequences (local and world-wise) of individual and collective actions
- Create and/or contribute solutions to global challenges
- Earn a bilingual diploma
ISB also offers additional resources for Japanese families available from our school library.
Earning a Bilingual International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma at ISB
Earning a diploma in a student’s mother tongue - or another language of their choosing - can ensure a greater selection of where they can go to post-secondary and where they choose to work in the future.
When students earn a score of three or above in two languages selected from the IB Diploma Program (DP) course studies in the IB language and/or literature, they receive an IB bilingual diploma at the end of high school.
Sometimes the best way to see if ISB is the right fit for your family is to learn about the experiences of someone who has been in your shoes. Learn how one ISB student was able to excel academically while still maintaining Japanese as a native language.
Ensuring your children can maintain their mother tongue while also helping them develop excellent English skills - and other languages - is just one of the benefits of an ISB education. We also offer a challenging, international curriculum, a diverse student body, a vibrant community, a strong commitment to student support and college and university counseling support.
Are you interested in an ISB education for your children? Click the link below to discover how to apply to ISB.