Understanding Diversity: Divide Between Home and School Languages

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Divide between Home and School Languages

  • India is a multilingual country and the Constitution is committed to protect the multilingual nature of India. In terms of linguistic diversity, it has a variety of languages and dialects.

  • The home and school language divide indicates the situation where medium of instruction at school is different from the language used at home. For example, the school may use English as a medium of instruction while at home; Tamil is used by the child and her/his family to communicate with each other and with neighbors.

The divide between the home and school can occur due to:

  • Family moving from one part of country to another

  • Lack of availability of a school using mother tongue as medium of instruction in the area

  • Local dialect not given its due importance in the school

  • Being first generation learners

  • Teachers coming from different language background

Effects of Home and School Language Divide on Children

  • Not able to make friends with peers

  • Not able to score/achieve/perform well in academics

  • Repeated failure or poor performance in school leads to low self-esteem and higher dropout rate

  • Low self-confidence

  • Lack of belongingness to the school and academics

  • Not able to read, write and express

  • Children are less likely to enroll and succeed in school

  • Parents are less likely to participate in their children’s learning

  • Children do not take pride in their identity and heritage

All languages including tribal as well as English should be valued equally. All mother tongues are appreciated as an important link between the young child and the school. In case of first-generation learner, teaching in the initial years should be in mother tongue and less stress on the learning of second and third language as support may not be available to the child at home to learn these languages.

The absence of such divide implies:

  • Schooling becomes fun and a joyful experience

  • Self-confidence of children will improve

  • Children will be able to relate with the school experiences, hence develop a feeling of belongingness of “my school”

  • Makes friends with peers, leading to social inclusion and interaction

  • Children communicate effectively with teachers and others

  • More retention in school

  • Children are be able to create linkage with the outside world

  • Expands the reach of education

  • Improved learning outcomes during primary school

  • Helps protect and preserve local languages

The home-school language divide can be overcome to a large extent by adopting the mother tongue as medium of instruction in primary schools and gradually weaning off from mother tongue and initiating learning of second and third language. Local communities also have rich cultural resources: local stories, songs, jokes and riddles, and art, all of which can be used to enrich language and knowledge.

Influence of Gender and Caste Stereotypes on Children

Stereotypes

  • Stereotypes exist in all societies. Stereotypes are fixed ideas or assumptions about a group of people. These fixed ideas or stereotypes or assumptions may not be necessarily true or universally accepted. Most of the time how we perceive each other can be determined through oversimplified assumptions about people based on particular traits, such as race, sex, age, caste, religion etc.

  • An individual belonging to that group about which stereotype exists is expected to have the characteristic of that stereotype. Stereotypical beliefs can be rigid, but they do and have changed over time.

  • Stereotypes are not always inherently negative, but because they are assumptions that disregard a person’s individual and inherent abilities, opportunities and environment, they tend to be prejudicial. Negative stereotypes hinder peoples’ ability to fulfill their potential by limiting choices and opportunities.

Gender Stereotypes

Gender stereotyping is related to behavior associated with girls and boys and creating beliefs about qualities possessed by a man and a woman. The table below provides examples of qualities expected in woman and man by the society.

Gender Stereotypes
Gender stereotypes

Woman

Man

Dependent

Weak

Less important

Emotional

Implementers

House keepers

Supporters

Fearful

Independent

Powerful/strong

More important

Logical

Decision makers

Bread winners

Leaders

Brave

Teachers should be conscious of not promoting any stereotypes or reaffirming the existing ones.

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