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Mother tongue at playtimes

Discussion in 'Primary' started by lkr, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. lkr

    lkr New commenter

    I work at a Brit international school in Europe. We have children from over 50 different countries within our school but a couple of groups of nationalities are significant (the host country and Chinese).
    There has been an issue of some children in primary feeling excluded due to groups of students speaking their home language and not English in the playground and it was picked up by a visiting inspector last week.
    This is incredibly hard to prevent/police though...and I'm not even sure it should be. For those of you with large groups of children with EAL, what do you do in your school about this? I understand that some children feel excluded by this if they cannot access play due to the language barrier, but then I also see the other side whereby our young learners get to express themselves properly and let off steam using a language they are most comfortable in.
    I'm really open and interested to hear your thoughts and what other schools do that have this issue.
    Thank you!
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    The vast majority of our children have English as a first language.
    However for those at an early stage of learning English, we actively encourage the use of home languages outside of lesson time. We arrange lunch seating and so on to facilitate it.

    But if it excludes other children, then it's a tricky one.
    Maybe a rotation of languages each day or some such?
  3. migratingbird

    migratingbird Occasional commenter

    I think this is a little bit odd. I've worked in many international schools, and schools in the UK. At every one, there was always a small group of children (maybe who had just joined the school, for example), that did not understand the main language of the playground. We would never have made/make everyone else change their language to accommodate this. We would, however, promote empathy and kindness to ensure that all children had somebody to play with, whatever their language.

    I'm curious as to whether the inspector would have picked up on this if it had not been the English speakers who were being excluded?

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