Mother Tongue Day at IS Belgrade
Mother Tongue Day is an international event celebrated annually on February 21. The purpose of the day is to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity, and to celebrate the importance of preserving and protecting all mother tongues in the world.
At the International School of Belgrade, we have over 50 nationalities and our students speak 37 different languages! We do our best to promote our students’ home languages throughout the year, as we encourage them to use their rich linguistic repertoires while inquiring into various concepts we cover in our classes, both at Primary and Secondary level.
The use of a mother tongue in international schools is important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it allows students to develop a strong sense of identity and cultural pride. In addition, the use of a mother tongue is crucial for developing language skills. In accordance with the IBO philosophy, students who have a strong foundation in one language are better able to transfer skills and concepts, and learn another language. It therefore helps promote bilingualism and multilingualism. Finally, the use of a mother tongue in international schools can create a more inclusive atmosphere. It provides a way for students from different backgrounds to communicate and interact with one another, which can be extremely beneficial in a diverse educational setting.
Throughout the week, honoring the International Mother Tongue Day, we celebrated all languages spoken at our school. Our classrooms thrived with various events celebrating our diversity, as students participated in numerous language activities and promoted awareness about the importance of preserving mother tongues.
We also had a special Mother Tongue Assembly where our Primary students proudly presented various activities in their home languages, and talked about them in English using translanguaging strategies.
This year we continued offering the mother tongue course in French during the school day, and we have offered a range of mother tongue classes as an after-school program, starting on the week of March 14.
Please continue supporting home languages with your students – their value is priceless!
Divna Stakic, EAL teacher, Mother-tongue Program Coordinator, International School of Belgrade – firstname.lastname@example.org