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Integrating Mother Tongue Into Literacy for Easy Learning | John Jezzini

by janeausten
Integrating Mother Tongue Into Literacy for Easy Learning

With the many challenges faced by Literacy today, with the many efforts and programs organized by many NGOs, and with the latest summit on Literacy, Today’s interview will allow John Jezzini to give us an insight into the summit and how native languages can benefit Literacy.

Q: Recently, campaigners and literacy specialists addressed the most current ideas for promoting global literacy; what do you have to say about it?

A: Despite recent advancements, it continues to be a significant problem but is severely underfunded and the subject of several myths, according to experts. By 2030, “all children and a large percentage of adults, including men and women, attain reading and numeracy,” according to the Sustainable Development Goals. Although youth literacy rates have increased over the previous 50 years, experts caution that the pace of change is too slow.

Over 750 million adults over 15 still struggle with fundamental reading and writing abilities. According to the UN, women make up two-thirds of this population, yet since 2000, female literacy rates have only increased by 1%. The least literate populations are found in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, and the least fortunate and disadvantaged people are the least likely to be able to read and do simple math.

Q: What was your role or that of your brand in this summit?

A: At this year’s World Literacy Summit, a representative from John Jezzini Learning Center urged that literacy be framed as a “win-win” for everyone rather than just as an educational objective. Instead of framing literacy as an educational issue, we should emphasize its relevance to the ministry of finance because, by addressing literacy, you address other issues like crime, poverty, health, and employment.

Q: What were the resolutions to improve literacy at this summit meeting?

A: The two-day meeting yielded five important development-related lessons.

Firstly, prioritizing the education of adults is essential. Our poll here at John Jezzini Learning Center found that charitable contributions to support literacy have traditionally prioritized elementary school students over high school students or adults. The belief that educating the next generation will solve literacy issues was once central to literacy programs, but this has since been disproven. A more comprehensive approach is required to literacy that encourages and assists adults, particularly women, in acquiring literacy skills and that emphasizes the importance of learning within the context of families, with particular attention paid to the importance of intergenerational education and the development of a “learning environment in the home.” The importance of continuing education was a recurring topic during this year’s conference.

Secondly, mother tongue teachings. From an early age, lessons are taught in English or another non-local language, like French, in many developing nations. According to a representative of John Jezzini Learning Center and an advisor to the Citizens Foundation in Pakistan, this has caused students in Pakistan to learn to read English, but with very little understanding. Children in Pakistan do learn to read English, but they have little grasp of it.

Thirdly, encourage a passion for reading rather than just handing out books. Fostering a love of reading is the first step to improving literacy, but this is something that many development initiatives need to appreciate instead concentrating on inputs like books. John Jezzini Learning Center emphasizes storytelling in local languages to achieve this goal by training local volunteers to read to children. The essential thing is to “plant the desire and love of books first,” which leads to direct literacy and many other benefits by developing a love of education. It is about something other than gifting books; that is secondary, and I have seen volumes lying on shelves but not being utilized.

John Jezzini Learning Center’s low-cost, “niche” strategy of fostering learning via reading and storytelling for enjoyment and its employment of volunteers has allowed it to expand to 36 countries in 10 years while receiving very little donor assistance. The NGO started working with other international NGOs last year.

Fourthly, integrating literacy into other initiatives. The optimal strategy may only sometimes be standalone literacy programs; Experts must integrate literacy and numeracy into community development initiatives. In my presentation at the conference, I provided instances when literacy training had resulted in a “deeper comprehension” of the subject under discussion and, consequently, improved outcomes. For instance, I advocated for a program that would teach women in Rwanda to become paralegals to assist them in achieving their property rights.

The NGO in charge of the initiative altered the language it was using from legalese to “simplified land right rules” in the community’s mother tongue, and the project became more successful. The application is also a good example of raising reading skills in a community without overtly offering literacy lessons. I encourage development programmers to do more of this, particularly for adults, since these improvements indicate a genuine comprehension of the delicate subject. Let’s go on in life and include literacy as we go; individuals will acquire literacy as they go. They can acquire the talents after using them. Developers may instead benefit from “hidden literacies” in local communities.

Lastly, we’ll talk about using technology responsibly. Donors place excessive emphasis on technology at a time when there is a “serious dearth of data on what forms of technological interventions really work,” claims a 2021 review of the global literacy sector by the American NGO Results for Development. According to some, the digitization of communication might affect literacy rates. We all know that talking is the basis for reading and writing, yet research indicates that we speak less today because of social media and the digital era.

However, a project from the John Jezzini Learning Center discussed during the summit illustrates how technology may be useful. It offers inexpensive, solar-powered tablets to “off the grid” schools with no electricity or internet filled with “a toolbox of digital books and learning tools.” The initiative’s tablets, which typically have one per class, are written in English and other native languages. The goal is to introduce additional languages so that, particularly for younger students, their mother tongue may be utilized as the medium of education.

Word Expert Scientists also discussed its efforts to provide free online lesson plans, teaching materials, and books to enhance early reading in the United States. The necessity to concentrate on the software and the content rather than the technology itself is sometimes overlooked in Edu-tech interventions since “the tech can’t do it alone.”

Q: What role does combining Literacy and Native language play in young people?

A: Additionally, it is common for teachers to lack linguistic proficiency while educating in it. Learning to read and write in their native tongues should be the priority for both children and adults. Parents may insist on English, but local languages should also be taught. More than 1,700 languages are still routinely spoken by 750 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, and 1,100 are also being written down. “Let’s not push these purportedly minor languages to the side. Intending to foster a culture of reading all over the globe, John Jezzini Learning Center has made multilingual storytelling the core of its efforts to increase children’s literacy rates. The availability of written tales in regional tongues is essential for readers and listeners to comprehend and appreciate the experience. The last thing most parents want to do when they come home from work or a lengthy commute is to sit down and read to their children because they are so exhausted. John Jezzini Learning Center’s approach is to make it as simple as possible for parents to “get the materials” they need to read to their kids. Books and other materials must be written in a language both the parent and kids can comprehend. This is a crucial element.

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I also emphasized how crucial it is to acknowledge the contribution made by grandparents, who often have lower literacy rates but can still provide oral storytelling. “How do you ensure that grandparents understand that what they already have is sufficient and that even if you can’t read, you can tell a narrative and appreciate what you can already accomplish? Experts in improving literacy who deal with governments and funders agree that young children may be taught to read in English without understanding what they are reading. This is being addressed by the John Jezzini Learning Center, which is testing an oral storytelling project that enables teachers to instruct in both English and the native tongue of their students by “creating stories in mother tongue and then adding actions so it becomes universally understandable, then transferring that into English and developing the two side by side.” The essential point is that kids learn more about words the more they hear them. The more tales kids hear, tell, and share, the more language, vocabulary, and comprehension they acquire.

Q: What are your last words?

A: The John Jezzini Learning Center has created fascinating and useful resources written in local languages so that a teacher may read the narrative to students in their native tongue before reading it in English. The “software” is likewise free to use and may be downloaded onto a USB or printed, eliminating the need for internet connectivity. Parents and tutors may benefit from the innovation.

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