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Why should parents of ELL students speak their native language at home?

Reasons Why Students and Their Parents Should be Encouraged
to Use Their Native Language at Home

By Charlotte Johnson, ELL Teacher

  • Being bilingual “stretches the brain.”  Research shows that bilingual children are actually more skilled in certain tasks than their monolingual peers.
  • Students can more easily learn concepts in the native language and transfer the concepts, such as telling time, into English.  Conversely, losing the native language before acquiring the English can cause problems with academic performance in English.
  • Many students have given up a lot—their country, their home, their friends, extended family, everything that is familiar.  Language is the one thing they can retain.
  • The home relationship is in the first language.  Families can more easily express emotions in their native languages.
  • To maintain relationships with relatives, it is important to maintain the native language.
  • When families speak only in English, their level of cognitive complexity may be lower than when speaking in their native language.
  • When parents are speaking non-standard English to their children, the children are likely to pick up bad habits.
  • Being bilingual offers the students more opportunities in life such as in employment and social interactions.