Friday, October 16, 2009

Skutnabb-Kangas on MTM Education

"Literacy and Oracy in Mother-Tongue Based Multi-Lingual Education" is the title of a public lecture which Tove Skutnabb-Kangas will deliver at Mahatma Gandhi Institute in Moka in Mauritius. She argues that, "The most important PEDAGOGICAL reason for the world’s ”illiteracy” is the wrong medium of teaching" (slide 37) - and proceeds to present a vast amount of evidence to show that linguistic genocide and lack of LHRs (linguistic human rights) in education is co-responsible for
  • “illiteracy”, lack of school achievement, educational waste, poor life chances;
  • disappearance of groups/nations/peoples (through forced assimilation);
  • homogenising knowledges and ideas and preventing optimal multicreativity;
  • killing of the world’s languages and linguistic diversity, and TEK (Traditional Ecological Knowledge), as prerequisites for the maintenance of biodiversity. (slide 99)

As David Hough did in his essay (about which I'd blogged this July), Skutnabb-Kangas too spends some time answering some frequently asked questions:
  • Why should children be taught mainly through the medium of their mother tongue (MT) in school for the first 6-8 years? They know their MT already? (slide 107)
  • Parents want children to learn English (and French). If children are taught mainly through their MT the first many years, how do they learn English (and French)? (slide 112)
  •  Isn’t it enough if children have the first 3 years in the MT and then the teaching can be in English? (slide 116)
  • Parents want English-medium schools. What are the likely results? (slide 121)
Her conclusion:

"Mother-tongue based MLE for the first 6-8 years, with good teaching of English as a second language and French as a foreign/second language, and possibly other languages too, with locally based materials which respect local knowledge, seems to be a good research-based recommendation for Mauritius." (slide 126)

1 comment:

गिरिधर | giridhar | గిరిధర్ said...

The findings of the hearing are summarized on the Lalit Mauritius website.

That page also has a link to the full report - "Findings of LPT Hearing on Harm Done by Suppressing Mother Tongue in Schools" (DOC file).