English Overdose: How Much Is Too Much?
With an increase in English medium, public and international schools the country, the emphasis on English as a spoken medium of interaction in the educational institutions is increasing like never before. Parents too are keen on seeing their little ones chatter away in the much preferred language, just as they hop out of the cradle. It all might sound good, the fact that this whole concept of English speaking has a less noticed yet strong flip side as well.
While English is a language accepted globally and its mastery is a skill which needs to be acquired naturally, we forget the basics of child rearing here. If the acquired skills are making children acceptable in the society in general, an overdose of the same might end up curbing their innovative and creative sides. For, it is a known fact that creativity is best addressed in ones native language or the mother tongue.
The children of today are sounding a more confused lot as far as the language is concerned, as the onslaught of these foreign words begins from the first day of school itself and maybe sooner in many cases.
Today studies have even started showing proofs that an infant’s cries and screams when recorded and analysed have shown that a baby cries in his or her native language; the one his or her parents had been using while he was inside the womb. The mother tongue therefore, becomes the child’s thinking language. This clearly is an indication of the importance of mother tongue and the need for a child to have the freedom to express in it.
“In the meeting, the participants discussed the level of confusion a child goes through listening, talking and thinking in his mother tongue and suddenly being bombarded with a foreign language. Learning English is important to make the Gujarati students competent at the global level but that cannot replace the mother tongue of these kids.”
There is need to lessen the difference between the thinking and spoken language. The schools should give equal importance to both the languages and exposure of the child to both should be balanced. There should be gradual and continuous exposure of a child towards the language, where the child moves from spoken skills to writing skills and finally literature.
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