8 benefits of using the minority language as Lingua Franca to the Majority Language homework

In “Handling the arrival of Majority Language homework in a minority language home”, I mentioned the imminent arrival of the Majority Language (ML) homework in our strictly minority language (ml) home, and how it concerned me as to the effect on my eldest’s use of her languages.
Since the beginning of the school year, and my 6 year old entering Year 2, she now has ML homework almost every night.  As planned, we use our mls as lingua franca to explain them.  And from doing so, I have already drawn some benefits from it:

  1. My daughter seems confident in the subject matter in both languages
  2. She gets to learn the ml academic vocabulary
  3. It awakens her curiosity to learn in the ml – for instance, she loves to learn to count backwards in all 3 of her languages and not just in the ML (original homework set).
  4. She loves to match her ML knowledge with her ml knowledge – for example, she did a 3 columned poster with the weekdays in our 3 languages, and she enjoyed being able to see side-by-side the names in all 3 of her languages.
  5. It creates more ml discussion opportunities or topics you would never have talked about otherwise.
  6. Adding a little ml homework – it does not have to be a lot, but it creates the opportunity to work on their ml literacy skills.
  7. Coming to grips with treacherous concepts – I have noticed that since she has ML homework, she has been more regularly confronted the English “E” sounding like the French and Spanish “I”, and inverted pronunciations of “J” and “G” between French and English. And she now seems to grasp these much better thanks to this regular confrontation.
  8. It provides discussion and translation material – Obviously, not all homework enable ml use.  Learning ML poems off by heart is typically one of them.  Though it can also act as a topic of ml discussion and for older children, poetry would be an opportunity to work on a translation.

All in all, so far the strategy of using the our 2 ml as lingua franca to my daughter’s ML homework has been a success.  Let’s hope this may continue to be so as she grows and the nature of the homework becomes more complex…

Do you see any more benefits? Please share them in the Comment section.

3 Comments

  1. I think using the ml to explain the ML homework is a great idea, particularly as it is usually academic language that children lack when they only use a language in the home setting. Good luck with continuing to use all your languages with your children!

    Liked by 1 person

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