I am sitting in the 2nd grade classroom in one of the Czech elementary schools in the Czech Republic. It is break time.

There is one girl (B1), with a Vietnamese background, wandering around the classroom. Other girls follow her to the back of the room. They smile, look at each other. One girl with the Czech background (B2) starts to talk to her.

B2: Say something in Vietnamese.

B1: (She is nodding “no” with her head)

B2: Please! (She is standing in front of her, smiling and rubbing her hands together, a gesture for “please”)

B1: (She is nodding “no” with her head and tries to turn around)

The Czech girl continues begging her, but she doesn’t say anything in her mother tongue and leaves.

Focus on the case:

  • What do you think about this episode?
  • What do you think the Vietnamese child felt during this episode? (what thoughts, what emotions, …)
  • Why do you think the child refused to speak in her home language?

Focus on your experience:

  • Did you observe anything similar to this episode in your teaching? How did you cope with such a situation?
  • Did you ever listen to children talking about their home languages? Or in their home languages? What do you think about it?
  • Do you ever try to talk with the children of your classroom about their home languages?
    • …or about what they feel about their home language?
    • …what are their reactions?

Themes: Making all languages visible and a resource for the class and Promoting multilingualism in the classroom

Resource type: Observe and reflect

Tags: language awareness and multilingualism

Age range: 6+

Available in: English and Italian