In countries that more than one literacy languages spoken. Education systems face the challenge of deciding the language that should be use in the classroom. Learning a new language can be a challenging task for children. Instead studying in a language the child already speaks could be a better option to support literacy and schooling results.
An approach that is common for multilingual communities is to use bilingual education. In which instruction is offer in both the mother language as well as an official language. There is a wealth of evidence that early exposure to two languages.
Whether at the home of a bilingual family member or at school through an education program. That is bilingual can help children develop spoken language abilities. These abilities vocabulary as well as awareness of the language’s. Sounds can predict the children’s reading skills in the early years. The evidence for this has been discover in sub-Saharan Africa as well as beyond.
Support Reading Skills Literacy
We wanted to be aware of the ways in which school and home environments can support reading skills. In multilingual communities that have low literacy levels for example, remote Cote d’Ivoire. Our goal was to discover the possibility that bilingual school. And home environments can benefit children’s language and reading abilities in this regard. We also wanted to know what factors could impact reading outcomes in these settings.
We conducted research in Cote d’Ivoire in 2016 to 2018. There are more than 70 dialects spoken across Cote d’Ivoire. Yet French remains the main language used for instruction in the majority of primary schools. The results are not great with just 53% of the young children between 15 to 24 are proficient. We assessed children’s reading and language abilities. In both their mother tongue as well as in French as well as compared results between children. In bilingual or French-only schools that were raise in monolingual or bilingual families.
As expect, we found that children who raise in bilingual families had better reading. And language abilities in comparison to their counterparts who are monolingual. Unexpectedly, students at French-only schools scored higher in reading and language tasks. The reason was the resources offer in French-language schools. This suggests that the efforts to incorporate multi-lingual education should support by improve resources. Such as teacher training and materials for classrooms in the mother tongue of the student.
The Literacy Research
Rural households located in Cote d’Ivoire don’t speak French and so children are introduced in the French language at the time they begin at school. This disparity between the languages spoken at home and that used in school could contribute to the percentage of children fail to complete their grades. just 73% of the children continue to attend school until the final year of primary and just 53% of the children between 15 and 24 years old are proficient.
Cote d’Ivoire initiated a national-scale program known as the Projet Ecole Integree at the beginning of 2001. It that included instruction in the classroom in a mother language along with French. Researchers from our team were intrigued by the ways that children’s spoken language abilities and reading proficiency varied depending on school and home circumstances in rural multi-lingual communities with low literacy.
We Looked At Differences Between
The bilingual mother language and French as well as mono-lingual (mother mother tongue and French only) homes and schools that are bilingual in the Project French-English bilingual schools in the Project Integree program as well as traditional French-only schools.
We analyzed 830 children’s speaking abilities in their native language (Abidji, Attie, Baoule, Bete) and in French and also test their reading skills in French.
We expected it, based previous research that linked early bilingual experiences to gains in reading and language skills Children from bilingual families beat their peers in monolingual families on every reading and language tests for both of the two languages.
However, The School’s Results Weren’t As Easy To Interpret
Children in bilingual schools have the opportunity to repeat classes less often than students in traditional schools that are exclusively French. This suggests that teaching in their mother tongue might help them understand the school curriculum.
In general, children who attended bilingual schools had lower scores in reading and language tests in each language, compared to children who attend traditional schools that are exclusively French. This result was opposite of what was anticipated in light of previous research on bilingual education.
It could have been due to variations in the quality of the education children received from the two kinds of schools. The quality differences may be due with the usage of mother language classes in bilingual schools. Teachers were not equipped with sufficient resources or training to instruct students in mother languages. Traditional French schools did not have the same difficulties because the teachers were educated to teach French instructions and possess the right French teaching materials in their classrooms.