EL1 Our Mother Tongues as Living Languages

Mercy Karuniah Jesuvadian

Dr Mercy Karuniah Jesuvadian

School / Organisation
National Institute of Education

1.00 p.m. – 2.00 p.m.

Room 309

Register Sharing Session


Dr Mercy Karuniah Jesuvadian has over 16 years’ experience in training and teaching. She has taught in both secondary and tertiary educational institutions in Singapore. She holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (1998, NIE). She graduated with a Masters in English Studies from the National University of Singapore (2002) and a Masters in Early Childhood Education from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore (2007). She earned her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Early Childhood Education from NIE, NTU in 2016. She is currently a Lecturer in the Early Childhood and Special Needs Department at the NIE. Her research interests include early child development, family studies, parent-school collaborations, teacher professionalism in Early Childhood and research methodologies. She especially seeks to foreground the voices of young children in research concerning them.


Brain-based research on bilingualism indicates that there are cognitive benefits in learning two languages, namely English Language (EL) and Mother Tongue Languages (MTLs). Children who are bilingual have greater focus and concentration skills, and are able to maintain focus on a task and achieve their goals. The learning of two languages (EL & MTL) in the early years also results in acquiring both languages at a higher level. However, this depends on how much the language is used at home, school and other settings, as well as how much emphasis and importance is given to the language.

Areas covered during the sharing session will include the importance of bilingualism in the early years, how children learn languages and how adults (especially teachers & parents) can support and encourage children’s learning of languages. The Nurturing Early Learners (NEL) Framework for MTLs (launched by MOE in 2014) will also be presented during the session.

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Our Journey

Jointly Organised By:

Supported By:

Jointly Organised By:

Ministry of Education, Singapore
Committe to Promote Chinese Language Learning
Malay Language Learning and Promotion Committee
Tamil Language Learning & Promotion Committee

Supported By:

Early Childhood Development Agency
Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism
National Library Board, Singapore
Gen G
Tamil Murasu