What is the role of students’ home language in the classroom?


Education Connections

In the past few decades, education policy has gone back and forth in regards to the use and place of students’ home language in classroom instruction. However, recent research suggests that the incorporation of students’ home languages in the classroom, alongside English instruction, can help reduce the stress of the learning environment, allows instructors to use richer and more authentic texts, encourages students to think critically and make connections across languages (which can help deep learning and recall), and provides students with additional support to encourage continued learning and language development (Butzkamm, 2003).

For a discussion of why home language instruction and supports can be beneficial for your students, as well as how you can start including home language supports in your classroom, check out this article.

For some further information and discussion around the place of home language use in the classroom, be sure to hear this 7-minute interview from Larry Ferlazzo.

Finally, for a little more background on the research surrounding home language use in the classroom, try this resource from Colorín Colorado.


Butzkamm, W. (2003). We only learn language once-the role of the mother tongue in EFL classrooms: Death of a dogma. Language Learning Journal, 28 (1), 29-39.

Babies remember their birth language – scientists


Tell parents to use their heritage language with their babies right from birth and thereafter. Read more here:  http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38653906

Parent Guide for English Learners—English and Spanish versions


Download at http://educationnorthwest.org/resources/parent-guide-english-learners-english-and-spanish-versions

Quick and Easy: How to Collect Information from Parents


I love the idea and the use of Google forms!  Learn how to do it here:  http://www.simplek12.com/3-minute-problem-solver/collect-information-parents/

Parent Information: Why You Shouldn’t Stop Speaking Spanish at Home


Please share with your immigrant communities:  http://educationpost.org/why-you-shouldnt-stop-speaking-spanish-at-home-for-your-child-to-succeed/

Teacher Advocacy Starts With You


To all my friends: Consider sharing local cultural events with your schools and with home families.  Can you imagine how proud families are to see their childrens’ teachers at their events?  Here is one example of how I do it:

I am proud of my community for offering many cultural events celebrating the contributions and heritage of various community cultures. Please share the list with your schools, faith, and social communities and encourage others to bring their families to learn and make new friends. Be a bridge-builder. It starts with each family.


Encouraging Parents to Speak Their Heritage Language With their Children


Please make an effort to educate parents on how important it is to maintain their home language.  Read more here in Yes, You Will Have Haters. Speak to Your Kids in Another Language Anyway at http://forward.com/scribe/348871/yes-you-will-have-haters-speak-to-your-kids-in-another-language-anyway/

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