Home > Our Curriculum > Academic > Instructional Programmes > Mother Tongue

Mother Tongue

Chinese Painting.jpg Malay Anklung.jpg Indian Flowers.jpg


Bilingual education in English (EL) and the Mother Tongue Languages (MTLs) remains a cornerstone of Singapore’s education system. EL, as the common language of instruction, enables all our students to plug into a globalised world.

The learning of MTL has provided a link to their heritage and Asian roots for the various ethnic groups. Collectively, the learning of EL and MTL by the different communities has shaped Singapore into a cosmopolitan city that embraces multi-lingual and multi-cultural diversity and attracts people from both East and West. Furthermore, with the rise of China and India, and the integration of ASEAN, learning our MTLs will gain increasing relevance and provide our students with a competitive edge. As such, all students should pursue their MTL for as long as possible and achieve as high a level of proficiency as they are capable of attaining.

The Mother Tongue Programme is a four-year curriculum which aims to develop proficient language users to communicate, appreciate our culture, and establish connections with other communities in Asia and beyond.

Teaching & Learning Approach

Our Mother Tongue department uses the Parallel Curriculum Model (PCM) as a tool for curriculum planning. The Core Curriculum reflects the essential language skills which are scaffold in a spiral progression across Sec 1 to 4. The Curriculum of Connections expands on the Core Curriculum by guiding students to make connections of macro concepts and themes withinor across disciplines.

The Curriculum of Practice guides the students to understand and apply concepts and principles of the discipline in doing authentic tasks. Lastly the Curriculum of Identity guides the students in gaining a better understanding of their own strengths and values. Hence, the curriculum designed is centred on engaging the students with interactive and innovative teaching strategies.

The main pedagogical strategies include Socratic Questioning, Cooperative Learning, problem-based learning and interactive activities such as role play, debates and oral presentations. Lessons conducted are student-centred and they focus on developing students’ critical thinking and creative thinking. ICT is also incorporated into lessons to support self-directed and collaborative learning.

To complement classroom learning, opportunities will be given to students to experience beyond classroom authentic learning. These include

  • Cultural / social immersion overseas programme to deepen social and cultural understanding of the countries
  • Cultural Performance Exposure Scheme to expose students to MTL-related cultural performances and programmes
  • Mother Tongue Fortnight activities to allow authentic usage and exposure to MTL
  • Mentorship (such as Author-in-Residence Programme to guide students in creating literary work)
  • Performance Tasks (such as students do research on current affairs topic)
  • Collaborations with institutions for talks, seminars and competitions
  • Enrichment programme (such as drama and short film for Lower Sec, Public Speaking for Upper Sec)


Sec 1 – 4 Mother Tongue Fortnight Activities

Mother Tongue Fortnight activities enable students to have authentic usage and exposure to MTL. Students are exposed to a wide range of activities during the MTL Fortnight in addition to learning and using the language. During the MTL Fortnight, a wide range of external MTL activities are conducted to enable students to learn and use MTL in novel and exciting ways. These activities include hands-on cultural activities, debate workshops, talks by local directors and authors etc.

Chinese New Year Drawing


Chinese medicine talk - Acupuncture


Uriadithal (Indian traditional game)

Flower Tying Activity


Learning the Angklung


Trying traditional kuih

Talent Development Programme

To maximise the potential of our students, they are given the opportunities to join the talent development programme which includes workshops, participation in competitions etc.

Author-in-Residence Programme


Our girls won Raffles Institute Challenge Trophy 2018

Pesta Pantun by NUS Malay Language Society – runner up


Overseas cultural immersion programme

School immersion programmes are also organised for students as immersion experiences have a positive effect on students’ MTL learning as well as their attitude towards MTL.

Shijiazhuang, China


Regional Study Programme, Vietnam