Elementary education is very important in the education system. At the school starting phase, children find themselves in a new physical environment. Everything is new for them. Most of the classmates are strangers. The way of learning is also new for them. With all these changes if there is an abrupt change in the language of interaction, then the situation becomes complicated. Sometimes it can negatively affect a child’s progress. But, if local language is used in class for complex concepts and to bridge gaps, it can help children navigate the new environment. Also, it will help to transition their knowledge from home to learnings at school. This allows children to make suggestions, ask questions, answer questions and create and communicate new knowledge with enthusiasm. It gives them confidence and helps to maintain their cultural identity. This in turn has a positive effect on the way children see the importance of school to their lives. Good learning will only happen when children have high self-esteem and are well-adjusted in a classroom. If the child is taught a new language that they do not understand, none of this will happen.
The other benefits of local languages in classes are:
When we encourage local languages in classes, we grow up with multilingual communicators and can interact with speakers of different languages.
Learners who use local languages learn more and better. When learners use a local language to learn another language, their level of understanding and performance will also improve.
Teachers can learn from the learners. By noticing a mistake in the target language, often a creative attempt is made to solve a problem using language resources that learners already have.
Encouraging local languages will make learners involve. When children feel their mother tongue is respected, they will show more willingness to take part in the classroom.
Seeing and hearing local languages will make school a safer place. When multilingual signs are created by children for their schools, it means that they are included in decision making, and active in school life. These signs in turn say that many languages are preferred.
Writing and speaking in local languages will strengthen the connections between school and home. Learners can write or audio-record messages provided from the school to home. For example, the lists of essential items for a trip in their local language. This will make parents understand the message clearly. Otherwise, children often do lots of translations to parents.
Hence, the use of children’s local language in the classroom promotes a smooth transition between home and school. It makes children more involved in the learning process. Also helps to speed up the development of basic literacy skills. It will enable more flexibility, innovation, and creativity in teacher preparation also. The use of local language is also more likely to get the support of the general community in the teaching/learning process. It creates emotional stability which translates to cognitive stability. This leads to a better educational outcome.