Celebrating Linguistic Diversity

Insights from VKE’s International Mother Language Day Celebration

Language stands at the centre of the many interdependent cognitive, affective, and social factors that shape learning – Corson (1999)

Language is the foundation of a multilingual and multicultural society that plays a central role in transmitting and preserving traditional knowledge and culture, in a sustainable manner.

VKE hosts students from highly diverse language backgrounds, speaking around 27 languages as per the school’s language profile survey 2022-23.

VKE honours linguistic diversity through its curriculum and cultural celebrations throughout the year to foster the ideals of international mindedness and IB learner profile. As a part of this endeavour, the MYP and DP celebrated ‘The International Mother Language Day’ on 21st February 2023, to promote multilingualism and intercultural understanding – the facets of IB International mindedness. It was an eventful day with a plethora of activities for different grades of MYP and DP to commemorate the day.

Students of MYP 1 were engaged in a virtual inter-school cultural exchange meet with another IB school, Fountainhead in Surat, where they shared their views on the ‘Significance of etiquettes and values in different cultures’. Students exchanged information about the culture and social etiquette of different states with regard to salutations, respectful words used for the elders, and eating habits. They displayed commendable and well-researched presentations about diverse practices in different cultures followed by a Q & A session that was equally engaging and enriching for students of both schools.

Food is often used to connect people to their cultural or ethnic group and is a means to retain their cultural identity. The champions of MYP 2 participated enthusiastically and presented traditional and festive dishes in their cultures, gaining unique insights into how food helps to discover attitudes, practices, and rituals about diverse cultures. The students also created enlightening websites and brochures, giving information about the unique beauty and culture of their states.

Stories have a way of expressing social structures and the relationship a person has with society, according to his status, class, gender, and economic background. The MYP 3 students engaged in an enterprising creative activity with story building for short plays. The themes espoused values of equality that teach not to differentiate or become prejudiced. Rejection of biases against religion, race, color, gender, sexual orientation, and anti-bullying concepts was the spirit of the play. The world is one and every one is appreciated!

Equity, equality, and fairness, refer not to the rulers, nor to the people in power, but they refer to ordinary citizens of the world, how they communicate with each other, how they treat each other; fairly or with unfairness; impartially or with prejudices, especially in the context of education and knowledge. Defining international mindedness at the core the class of MYP 4 created flipbooks articulating these finer aspects of humanity. With the presentation of self-evolved poems, stories, and speeches in their own mother tongue, they discovered how the themes of fairness, equity, and equality permeate the very essence of every global citizen. Where education is the centre of gaining and using knowledge and information in the international arena, oftentimes, those aspiring to procure quality education face the issue of language barriers. Applying strategic thinking to this problem, the DP 1 students proposed thought-provoking and pragmatic solutions overcome language barriers in education. While the day witnessed enthusiastic and proactive participation from all students, dressing up in their traditional attire added fervour to the celebration. The day concluded with enriched learning that supported multilingualism and intercultural understanding demonstrating international-mindedness.

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