The Implementation of the Mother Tongue in Education: Theory, Practice and Attitudes
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For a long time, monolingualism has been imposed on multilingual children by public schools. Home languages are neglected or even taboo, since it is often thought that it is a disturbing factor in L2 acquisition, and policy makers fear that it will block successful integration into the society. An increasing body of literature claims the opposite and did not only show that bilingual children who were proficient in both languages outperformed monolinguals in almost all cognitive tests, but also that the implementation of the home language in classrooms has a positive impact on the L2 acquisition of pupils. More and more people are beginning to realise the benefits of the use of the mother tongue in classrooms, for example in the form of translanguaging. EDINA has actively contributed to this process. Currently, Europa experiences a large influx of immigrants from western and non-western countries, and similarly, the Dutch society is confronted with a rapid growth of immigrant children, yet they are an under-researched group (Onchwari et al., 2008). In order to meet the educational needs of immigrant children, the EDINA-project, which consisted of three (The Netherlands, Belgium and Finland) cooperative countries, was established. This thesis aims to investigate what attitudes towards bilingualism and the implementation of home languages in education were throughout history, if outcomes of scientific studies have had an influence on attitudes towards the implementation of native languages in education during those periods and whether the EDINA-project had a positive influence on attitudes of project members and non-project members with regards to the use of native languages in education. An attempt to answer the first two questions is made by means of literature review and the second question by means of data collection by conducting interviews and surveys. Non-project members of EDINA were asked to fill in a survey and project members were interviewed. The main results include a positive change in attitudes of project members regarding the use of the mother tongue in education and non-project members were positive about EDINA and assumed that the Tools will have a positive effect on their schools and workplaces.