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June 2002



Education of mother-tongue


                                                              By Dr. Harnek S. Kaile 

Language is an essential element in the culture of a society. It is the flesh and blood of culture. It helps in the preservation of culture and development of civilization. According to Bloomfield, "Language is a learned arbitrary system of vocal symbols through which human beings interact in terms of their common cultural experience". Without language, human development would come to a standstill. In fact, we cannot imagine a human society  without language.


Though an individual should learn as many languages as possible, apart from his mother-tongue, yet it cannot be denied that he can express his views in the best possible manner only in his mother-tongue. Ballard rightly says, "A child thinks and dreams in mother-tongue". Thus, mother- tongue has much more importance than all other languages and special attention should be paid

to its teaching.


It was previously thought that academic achievement of a child depends solely upon his intelligence i.e. the higher the I Q, the more the marks. But in 1962, the achievement of highly creative and highly intelligent groups was studied by Gatzels and Jackson by sorting


(a) the highly creative group comprising top 20% on the measure of creativity but not commensurately high on the intelligence measure and


(b) the highly intelligent group representing top 20% on intelligence but not commensurately high on creativity measure.


Despite the difference of 23 points in I Q, these two experimental groups were found equally superior in test achievement to  the total parental sample to which they belonged. Later, it was concluded in a large number of studies that, alongwith intelligence, creativity contributed significantly towards academic achievement.


The author of this article conducted a study upon 250 students of different schools and came to the conclusion that achievement of children in mother-tongue depended as much upon creativity as upon intelligence. It was also found that the achievement of children of high socio-economic group was not commensurable with their creative talent. Generally, parents of such children

have preference for English and carelessness towards mother-tongue and ultimately, the children feel disinterested in the mother-tongue. Also, it was found that the achievement of children belonging to low socio-economic group was far less than expected. Lack of adequate facilities and proper environment become obstacles in their academic growth.


Here are a few suggestions for education of mother-tongue:


1. Proper attention should be paid to the development of creative talent in children.


2. Parents of high socio-economic group and their children should be educated about the importance of mother-tongue.


3. The attitude of the teacher towards children belonging to low socio-economic status should be sympathetic and such children should be helped in the purchase of books, clothes etc.


4. Special prizes should be given to high achievers in mother-tongue.




DR.HARNEK SINGH KAILE, Ph.D.(Education), M.Phil(Education), M.Ed., M.A.(English), M.A.(Punjabi) has 28 years' experience as a lecturer in a college of education, and is presently Principal, G.H.G.Kh. College of Education, Gurusar Sudhar, Distt Ludhiana (Pb.) India. He has published many research papers, including Bharti Sikhya Churahe Te (in Punjabi) which has been translated into English and is being serialised here.


Dr Kaile can be reached by e-mail at mailto: