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Mother Tongue Day

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On November 17, 1999, UNESCO proclaimed February 21 to be International Mother Language Day and it was first observed on February 21, 2000. As of recently, ISB has taken to the holiday, and begun to celebrate and acknowledge the importance of ISB.

The signs and music around the cafeteria for the past few days is not random, it is part of our high schools celebration of International Mother Tongue day. Although the official day was February 21st, the school has made efforts to appreciate the diversity of all the native languages that ISB houses. With the relatively new native speaking programs in the high school, we talked with one of the many native teachers, Ms. Choi (Korean Native), about the importance of maintaining native languages

ISB has 6 languages in which they offer native programs, as well as IB native courses upon request for languages such as dutch, german, and hebrew. Ms. Choi believes that “mother tongue is one of the most powerful tools used to preserve and convey culture” and that “maintaining this language helps the child value his or her culture and sacred heritage from their ancestors.”

The school is obviously aware of the value that mother tongue has, but is it really worth celebrating? Well after talking with Ms. Choi, we learned that it is. “By promoting the use of mother tongue languages, including all majority and minority languages, the world is able to transfer traditional and cultural values and knowledge.” The lengths ISB has taken to introduce well taught and challenging native language programs for students, is extreme and the benefits are as well. With these programs in place, students are able to start to “preserve and build sustainable futures.”

The importance of mother tongue should not be overlooked. It is the prerequisite to helping maintain a society in which one’s culture and heritage is preserved and celebrated. Imagining a world without mother tongue is the same as imagining a world where the past is no longer acknowledged. But what are your thoughts on mother tongue? Please tell us in the comments below.  

 

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Student Life at International School Bangkok
Mother Tongue Day