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Building on our students' home languages

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Last updated by Breda Matthews

Hi everyone,

   This week Rachel has asked about assessments for Level 4 EAP standards. Thank you for your suggestions and for anyone who doesn’t have the link, this is the EAP VLN group.


We also shared 


During lockdown parents and students were encouraged to read in their first language. There is a large body of research showing that the use of mother tongue benefits second language development. Learners are more likely to be successful in English (or any language) if they use what they know in their mother tongue to help them with their new language (Cummins, 2000).

"In the process of learning English, children's primary cultural and linguistic identities should not be submerged, nor should the process of learning a new language and culture be a one-way journey away from family and community." Gibbons, 2015.

Working from home provided an opportunity for parents to support the development of a learner's home language. The chance for learners to discuss learning in their home language provides learners with:

  • additional confidence in their school work, in both languages
  • additional vocabulary in both languages
  • valuable time spent thinking and working in their home language, using this as a support for articulating themselves in English
  • support in reading in their home language (perhaps on curriculum topics).

How can we build on this as we return to school?


Reminder: Applications close for  TESSOL further study awards on Friday 15th May. If you have questions as to whether you would be eligible to apply please ask the Ministry directly, contact details are on the linked page.


Shared with us

MANATESOL is hosting "Zooming in to the future".This will be a discussion led by Dana Taylor and Gwenna Finikin and featuring Dr. Gillian Skyrme. You will find details of this online event on TESOLANZ Talk, the TESOLANZ Facebook page.



Rotuman Language Week  Noa'ia 'e mạuri! Sunday 10 May to Saturday 16 May. The theme for this special week is "Putua ‘os fäega ma ‘os ag fak Rotuma. Nurturing our Rotuman identity through language and culture".  Find resources on 

Samoan language week, Sunday 24 May - Saturday 30 May.


The next CLESOL Conference has been postponed until 08 – 10 October 2021


On other communities

On Primary ESOL Online Janet shared some resources related to Kiribati

Have a great week everyone

Breda Matthews

Facilitator: Secondary ESOL community 


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