I recently had a meeting with my son's teacher. In the meeting she suggested that I stop teaching him arabic and focus only on English. Arabic is a big part of our family.

She said only with reading and writing. She said to wait until he reaches first grade. We recently returned to America. So my question is should I take this advice or should I continue in teaching my son how to read and write Arabic?

  • 1
    I think this question will be better served on parenting.stackexchange.com. In fact, such questions have been asked and answered there before. You'll also find advice from parents who have done just that. Would you like me to migrate it?
    – prash
    Mar 18, 2015 at 17:38
  • @prash Why do you think it's better for parenting? The advice is not about general education/upbringing, it's about language acquisition. In fact, I'm going to add this tag.
    – Alenanno
    Mar 18, 2015 at 17:56
  • @Alenanno because of questions like 1, 2, 3, etc. Anyway, this is something parents are deeply concerned with, amd spend a lot of time working on.
    – prash
    Mar 18, 2015 at 17:58
  • 1
    @prash Since this question has been already well-received on here, I think that the best course of action would be to suggest the OP to ask the same question on Parenting. This would allow him to have different perspectives on the same issue, a linguistic one and a parental one.
    – Alenanno
    Mar 18, 2015 at 18:01
  • @Alenanno Alright :)
    – prash
    Mar 18, 2015 at 18:03

3 Answers 3


I understand you to be saying that you are a native Arabic speaker living in America. Is that correct? In that case I think this teacher has given you extremely bad advice. All professional linguists recognise the great value of learning as many languages as possible when young. Children are the best learners of languages. I assume (correct me if I am wrong) that English is not your own first language. In that case it is much better for you to speak to your child all the time in Arabic rather than in your perhaps less than perfect English. Your child will be exposed to English in school, from his friends, from television and so forth. This way he will grow up in the very privileged position of speaking two languages perfectly.

  • 4
    A little background to this answer: some 20 years ago it was "common wisdom" ("research had shown") that it's bad to teach children multiple languages, it was said that such children tend to reach lower language proficiency than unilingually raised children. Today, "research has shown" that while children who are taught multiple languages tend to be a little slower in reaching proficiency, in the long term it seems to help them, and what really matters is whether the people teaching a language are themselves proficient in the language. Mar 18, 2015 at 14:29
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    If your family normally speaks Arabic, by all means continue to do so. If your son does not already speak Arabic (there is no context given in the question, which means we must make assumptions), he should normally pick it up from the rest of the family if they all speak it. If he already speaks Arabic acceptably for his age, make sure he picks up English from his friends and school. Ignore the teacher; she clearly understands nothing about language. I'm afraid that's true of most teachers in Anglophone schools; they're not taught anything about it, so they don't have anything to teach. Mar 18, 2015 at 14:30

Teach him Arabic!

Remember the famous line: "Never Let Schooling Interfere With Your Education".

Teaching your son a second language will actually make him smarter and expose him to different cultural views. Personally, I have learnt Arabic, Zulu and Afrikaans as secondary languages during my schooling. Even though I don't speak those languages as fluently as a native, I can still read and write in all of them.

I am sure that he will be grateful to you when he grows he up.


Nobody ever died because he knows too much languages. This is the best thing to do for your child and learning when very young is extremelly easy. Later it becomes harder.

YOU Should change the TEACHER, she does not understand anything

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