Guest Editor Dr Sun He (Sabrina)
Today, it is common to see our students speaking and writing the English language more often than their mother tongue language (MTL), both at home and in school.
Indeed, studies have shown that there has been a substantial disparity in language use and proficiency between English and MTL since a child’s preschool years. This departure from MTL is consistent with the decline of ethnic language usage in Singapore families.
What, then, does this mean for bilingual education in Singapore?
This suggests that schools and the larger society have to play a more prominent role in MTL maintenance.
In this issue of SingTeach, we invite teachers, researchers and educators to share interesting insights and unconventional tips on bilingual perception and instruction, as well as emphasize the importance of practice in order to achieve effective teaching and learning of MTL.
In The Big Idea article, we explore the concept of balanced bilingualism and why it is important for language proficiency and socio-emotional well-being.
In addition, students from NIE’s Malay Language course embarked on an educational visit to Hawaii in October 2018 and they shared their experiences with us in this issue’s In Their Own Words article.
With better learning motivation and proficiency via various activities such as shared book reading, it is my hope that our students can enjoy a harmonious bilingual education and that can be done with guidance from our trusted educators. Change may take time, but it is definitely possible in time to come.
– Dr Sun He (Sabrina)