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24 February, 2020 00:00 00 AM

What teachers can do to promote Bangla

Since our children start formal education from the school, our teachers have immense scopes to take some initiatives for giving a real history of the language movement and linguistic culture of Bangla
Dr Md Mahmudul Hassan
What teachers can do to promote Bangla

Bangla is our only language by which we can express our feelings, emotions, experiences and opinions to others freely with no hesitation. We can also share our views, thoughts and wills of minds. Bangla Language is our language and the language of our parents and grandparents, that had been achieved after a great sacrifice of our heroes of the country.  None but we, the Bangladeshi people, have an enriched history of achieving our very own right to speak in our mother tongue Bangla. It's a supreme achievement while the heroic sons of the nation sacrificed their blood. It was the first counterblast from Bangladeshi nation against discriminatory approach of the ruling government of East Pakistan in 1952 which led them later to protest against all unfair or inequitable treatments upon us.  So, today’s International Mother Language Day is the most emotional experience while our predecessors had directed a language movement for establishing "Bangla" as "National Language" in Bangladesh, about which thereafter, in November 1999, UNESCO declared 21st February as International Mother Language Day and from 2000 it has been celebrated worldwide.

Since Bangla is the language of our heart, our duty should not be finished only within the observance of the day by laying flowers on the monuments of martyrs. It's our own duty to establish the use of Bangla in a proper way while applying in any aspect of our life. Our children should be taught in their schools by our teachers who play a vital role in building up nation as the architect.

It’s a matter of distress that in the revolution of the eras, we are going to forget teaching our children about the importance of mother tongue and its proper uses. We sometimes feel proud that our children can speak in any other language rather than Bangla. We do not even feel bad if we ignore our mother language. Moreover, In our country most of the schools and colleges follow the national curriculum which is taught in both English and Bangla medium. The teachers who teach in Bangla medium, they usually practice Bangla with the students. As a result, the students have a good opportunity to learn Bangla language with full understanding and emotions. But if it is English medium in either the national curriculum or international curriculum, the teachers usually get minimal scopes to practice Bangla language, which keeps a negative impact on learning Bangla language by the students that seems to be ignored in the so called process of teaching and learning in our country.

Beyond the declaration of UNESCO in 1999 as International Mother Language Day, it was designed to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.  But we think this day is important as it is a time to reflect on our own languages and how they shape who we are and how we view our world. Our language is a deep part of our cultural identity and a rich source of stories, proverbs and sayings. We have been reflecting on why we need to respect our language and the languages of those around us. Off the record, this is a true fact that keeping our children in learning only Bangla language is not always easy, as parents, to raise a child in more than one language. In our international school curriculum setting, we find that many children have more than one language, the language(s) at home are developed and maintained while in school they have a need to learn and use English. Besides, parents of our modern world have a mind that if their children are bilingual or multilingual, they are rich or elite class people in the society. Yes, knowledge in multilingualism is necessary to communicate with the whole world to ensure sustainable development of the country. Language is of course central to our spoken and written communication in all areas of life. We understand that in being bilingual or multilingual we are exposed to more than one perspective and culture we have an increased awareness of the need to be more internationally minded. But it shouldn't be by neglecting our mother language. We have to respect our mother language and promote our culture, traditions and literary facts through this language.

We of course, extend learning in more than one language in our school. We also encourage responsibility as we talk about respecting the languages in our community, here in school and in our wider world.  We were amazed to learn that there are around 6,000 languages currently spoken but a little saddened to hear that many will soon become “extinct”. A Learner Profile attribute is communicator which is defined as: “They understand and express ideas and information confidently and creatively in more than one language and in a variety of modes of communication. They work effectively and willingly in collaboration with others” That’s why Nelson Mandela also said in other ways “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

International Mother Language Day is celebrated in our country on 21 February of every year with great festivity which teaches our children only to lay flowers to the martyr’s monument and wear mourning badges. Every year we also arrange so many cultural events, such as - musical show, talk show, drama, stage show etc. Our journalists and intellectuals give their valuable opinion regarding this occasion. But this should not be the only way to celebrate the day, we have to have such occasions so that our young generation can be inspired to realize it's inherent significance. Nevertheless, this is a good sign that in our country the school authority is instructed by the government that this day would be observed as a part of school activities so that the students can instill themselves in learning the importance of mother language and its uses. I strongly believe that teachers are the only resource to promote the ideas of improving the mother language and establishing its constructive base on the emotions and feelings of the children and adults of the country.

 Since our children start formal education form the school, our teachers have immense scopes to take some initiatives for giving a real history of the language movement and linguistic culture of Bangla as our mother language. The following steps may be taken in the school as I propose:

•     A teacher has to prepare the subject curriculum in such a way that students must have the respect on learning Bangla language.

•    The teachers should conduct Bangla classes with proper rules of pronunciation and well conversant language in Bangla.

•    Students should have the regular practice of Bangla in any certain period.

•    The teachers must have a good vocal in Bangla speaking with a realistic Bangla accent and intonation.

•    A teacher should arrange some events in the classroom like debate, public speaking, extempore speech, drama etc.

•    Sometimes, teachers may arrange Bangla handwriting completion, essay writing competition, Bangla vocabulary or spelling completion etc.

•    Students are to be instructed or inspired to respect the mother language with heart as it is our source of mind expression.

•    Teachers have to be more serious about arranging a session regularly to enhance the reading habit of the students in the classroom.

•    Teachers also will inspire the guardians/parents to practice Bangla in their day to activities at home and insist their children to use Bangla language in proper method.

•    If it is English Medium school all teachers should have a session every day in the school to practice correct Bangla words and apply it in their real life behavior.

•    Whatever cultural events are arranged in the school, that should be conducted in Bangla and list out the items of the other languages of the world.

•    Teachers should discourage the students from escaping from satellite aggressions of nowadays neither at home nor at school.  

•    Teachers may open any club or research center and also archive to get the information for improving our mother language.   

If we only confine our respect to the mother language within the celebration on 21 February of every year, it will be a risk that this prestigious language of Bangla will be lost in the rapid flow of the other language cultures. Because, the way satellite media has sat upon our own culture, we may be in a dilemma of losing our mother language soon. We have to think about how we can come out and escape from Satellite Aggression. We will require to set our mission and vision with specific action plans. We wish Media (both print and electronic) will play a leading role regarding this issue.

Therefore, we have to realize that mother language in education refers to when a school or educational institution integrates the language a child is most familiar with their mother tongue into the classroom lesson along with the school’s lesson. The teachers and the institution authority should pay special emphasis on learning Bangla language with care and good thoughts. This is normally the language that the child speaks at home with their family. Young children are caught in the often confusing political and policy making decisions of adults who find it difficult to respect home languages and home cultures. Unfortunately, accounts of children being singled out and punished for speaking their native language have been reported by educators across the country especially in English Medium Institutions.

So, we must learn that our children who grow up in their own mother land should confidently speak in Bangla as their mother language and on it we have to be serious of reviving our language with its own image and dignity. Beside our teachers’ role, the parents and all kinds of professionals can play a vital role in rescuing our mother language from any sort of the aggressions of the satellite media.

The writer is Education Researcher and  Principal, Daffodil International

School, Dhaka.



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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