Language Friendly School

RUTU Foundation for Intercultural Multilingual Education

Netherlands

Evidence of results

Purpose related to Let's Care

Level of Education

PrimarySecondary

Pillars

Safe Schools

Brief description of the Project

Duration

2019-Currently

Scope

International

Funds

Mainly public funding

Objectives

Develop a plan to create an inclusive and Language friendly learning environment involving pupils, teachers and staff.

Methodology

Language Friendly Schools are schools that have developed a language plan involving all members of the school: students, teachers and staff. It is a plan that is adapted to the school’s own needs and aims at creating an inclusive and language friendly learning environment for all students.
With the Language Friendly School, they envision a world in which all children have access to a language friendly-learning environment where they feel accepted and valued for who they are. The vision is that by 2030 no child will be punished for speaking his or her mother tongues in school by 2030, the deadline of the Sustainable Development Goals.
About the methodology, it does not offer a blueprint for what schools should do. Rather, it starts from what schools need and what they can realistically achieve.
At a minimum, schools commit themselves not to punish children who speak their mother tongue. For some schools this is already an important step. By connecting with other Language Friendly Schools they can share good practice and teachers can be inspired to take the next step.

Type of Action

Active MethodologiesLessons

Target Group and Determinants attended

Students (Immigration)

Professionals involved

School ManagementTeachers

Networking - Actors and Institutions mobilised by the Project

Local authoritiesNGOs or third sector organisationsParentsSchools

Enablers

The plan is flexible and realistic, allowing for gradual changes according to the school's own needs. Access to the web allows for a wide range of materials to be made available.

Barriers

Participation in the Network involves a financial cost which, although a minimal percentage of a school's budget, can be a
barrier.

Grade of linkage with the Safe Education Model

Multilingual mother tongue education enables all learners to participate fully in school and society by fostering mutual understanding and respect. Students develop a sense of belonging to the school and improve their relationships with their peers and teachers.

Grade of linkage with the purpose of Let's Care

Research shows that mother tongue education is a key factor for inclusion and quality learning, and that it also improves learning outcomes and school performance. This is crucial, particularly during primary education, as it avoids knowledge gaps and increases the speed of learning and comprehension.

Grade of evidence about impact and political relevance

There are many benefits associated with an education that takes into account children’s mother tongues or home languages:

  1. Children learn better and faster in a language they can understand
  2. They enjoy school more, they feel more at home
  3. Children tend to show increased self-esteem
  4. Parents participation is increased
  5. Studies have reported that when children take advantage of their multilingualism they also enjoy higher socioeconomic status, including higher earnings
  6. On average, the schools perform better, reporting less repetition
  7. Finally, schools report children stay in school longer.

The foundation, on the other hand, does not highlight any type of political impact that the program has had, beyond the local networks that have been generated with families and other educational centres.

Reproducibility

There are currently 15 Language Friendly Schools in Canada, the Netherlands, Saba (Dutch Caribbean) and Spain, with over 30 schools from various countries that have expressed interest.
This innovation is scalable because it is not connected to any definite languages, but is rather a model of a whole-school approach to multilingualism and respect to different languages."

Outcomes

Multilingualism, mother tongue, inclusive school

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