Mother tongue teaching in Joensuu, sivun otsikko

Mother tongue teaching in Joensuu

Mother tongue teaching in Joensuu

The mother tongue is the language shared between children and parents. It is the language for personal feelings, expressions, and thoughts. Mother tongue enables a person to maintain contact with the past home country, belong to own language group and read the language group’s literature. The mother tongue helps to understand family’s story and adapt to the new home country.

Mother tongue

A child can have one or more mother tongues. The mother tongue can be a language that is learned first, is known best, is used the most or that the person likes the most and among whose speakers (s)he feels to belong. 

The knowledge of mother tongue helps to learn other languages. A multilingual child learns already from a young age the skills necessary to learn a new language. Furthermore, studying the mother tongue is important because diverse language skills and intercultural understanding are valued in future study and work life.

The goal of mother tongue teaching is to

  • Support the pupils’ multilingualism as well as development of identity and self-esteem
  • Arouse interest in lifelong development of language skills
  • Actively develop multilingualism
  • Support integration into Finnish society
  • Develop the pupil’s thinking and interacting skills as well as positive attitude towards the own language and cultural heritage.

Mother tongue teaching Arrangements

Mother tongue teaching is a supplementary topic for basic education and it is arranged before or after regular school day. The teaching is free-of-charge, but the guardian is responsible for transportation costs. Teaching and participating in mother tongue is voluntary. One can register for the teaching at the time of school enrolment or later by contacting the language and culture groups teaching coordinator.

The organizer determines the teaching arrangements and groups. Mother tongue teaching groups in Joensuu are arranged based on age and skill level. Each mother tongue teaching group has a minimum size of four pupils. The extent of teaching is two hours a week.

Different pupil’s needs and interests are taken into account when planning the teaching. Pupils are encouraged to use their own language in many ways as a part of learning and in school activities. Students learn to listen, ask, answer and communicate in their own mother tongue. They learn to read and write, get to know different texts, children’s and youth literature as well as stories and cultural heritage. Parents’ interest and encouragement support the study of the mother tongue.

In Joensuu, during the 2020-2021 school year, teaching in the following languages is provided: Russian, Arabic, English, German, Bengali, Somali and Dutch. The language groups for the teaching will be determined yearly according to the need, and the teaching can also be begun in the middle of the school year.

Every mother tongue is valuable and worth learning. A child will be interested and want to learn their parents’ own language if languages and cultures are valued in the family. The way that a child experiences the value of their own language also affects how important learning another language, such as Finnish, feels. The child’s languages develop equally if the parents talk to them consistently in their own language and the child has a need to use all languages. 

Detailed objectives

In grades 1–2, the learning of basic language skills is promoted, and pupils are encouraged to use the skills that they have learned before. The topics are focused on the pupil’s daily life. The student practices the use of their mother tongue in various daily communicative contexts.

In grades 3–6, concrete and abstract vocabulary and expressions are increased. Students get to know their mother tongue’s key characteristics, narration and literature, and they practice their own expression. Students’ abilities to create and interpret text are strengthened.

In grades 7–9, there is an emphasis on diversifying oral and written expression and strengthening language skills. Students learn abstract and social expression as well as expressions used by youth. Students are taught deductive and critical reading skills.

Evaluation and Certificates

In grades 1–2, the pupil’s language development and progress are described in the evaluation. Feedback is given on the development of self-expression, growth of vocabulary, progress in reading skills, production of text, understanding of characteristics of the language and culture as well as understanding of the meaning of words and daily communicative contexts.

In grades 3–6, the pupil received feedback on the improvement in oral and written production in their mother tongue. Through the evaluation, a pupil gets information on the strengths and progress of their own language skills as well as their ability to use the mother tongue as a support for learning.

In grades 7–9, the pupil gets feedback about how the ability to understand and use the mother tongue has improved and diversified. The evaluation gives information on how the student uses the language skills as a support for learning, expression and reading.

A certificate of participation in the mother tongue teaching will be given at the end of each school year. The certificate includes the language being taught, extent of teaching, and verbal evaluation or numeric rating.

At the end of ninth grade, the extent to which the pupil has reached the goals of the study of their mother tongue is determined. A grade is given by comparing the student’s ability to the national description of a good ability in the mother tongue. When giving the final grade, all depictions of a good ability are considered regardless of which grade level the corresponding goal is placed at in the local curriculum. Some areas of language ability can compensate for others in the evaluation.

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