The infinite variety of language means that even the choice of mother tongue is not an easy one. Urdu is the mother tongue of only a minority of Pakistani children. In Punjab most families speak Punjabi at home. So why does TCF not teach Punjabi children in Punjabi? Because, says Riaz Kamlani of the charity, “there are a dozen languages in Pakistan, and we don’t have the resources to use them all as a medium.” Urdu is a compromise.
语言多种多样，这意味着即使选择母语也并非易事 。乌尔都语是巴基斯坦少数儿童的母语 。在旁遮普，大多数家庭在家里说旁遮普语 。那么为什么公民基金会不用旁遮普语教学呢？基金会的里亚兹·卡姆拉尼说，因为“巴基斯坦有十几种语言，我们没有足够资源把它们都用作教学语言 。”用乌尔都语已经是一种妥协 。
These complexities mean that mothertongue teaching requires careful planning. Ben Piper, who leads a usaid-funded literacy programme in government schools in Kenya, found, to his surprise, that children taught in their mother tongue learnt less maths than those taught in English or Swahili (the mother tongue of only a minority of Kenyans). The problem, he realised, was that teachers are assigned jobs by a central agency, without regard to their mother tongue, so they often do not understand the local language in which they are supposed to teach. In Ghana Elorm Apatey was teaching in an English-medium junior high school in the Volta region. To help his pupils, he also spoke to them in Ewe, his and their mother tongue. But because there are so many dialects of Ewe he had to employ linguistically talented pupils to translate for those who did not understand his Ewe.
种种复杂性表明用母语教学要求详细规划 。美国国际开发署资助的肯尼亚政府学校扫盲项目的负责人本·派珀吃惊地发现用母语教学的孩子比用英语或斯瓦希里语（少数肯尼亚人的母语）学的数学知识要少 。他意识到，问题在于，教师是在不考虑其母语的情况下由一个中央机构分配工作的，所以他们经常不懂自己要教的当地语言 。Elorm Apatey在加纳Volta地区的一所英语中学教书 。为了帮助学生，他还用他们共同的母语Ewe说话 。但由于Ewe有如此多的方言，他不得不雇用有语言天赋的学生为那些不懂Ewe的人翻译 。
The complexity of the linguistic landscape in many countries argues not for abandoning mother-tongue teaching, but for developing layered curriculums that ease children into learning other languages. TCF is doing that for the inhabitants of the Thar desert, in a remote part of Sindh province. Their mother tongue is Dhatki. Sindhi, the provincial language, is quite close to that. Urdu, the lingua franca of Pakistan, is necessary but less familiar. English is hardest of all, but as desirable to the Thari people as to anybody else. So the curriculum will start children off in Dhatki and gradually introduce them to the other languages they will need as citizens of Pakistan, and of the 21st century. English will be a subject, not a medium.
在许多国家，语言环境复杂并不意味着要放弃母语教学，而是为了开发分层的课程，让孩子们学习其他语言更容易 。公民基金会正在为信德省偏远地区塔尔沙漠的居民提供帮助 。其母语是Dhatki语 。省级语言Sindhi语和Dhatki语很接近 。巴基斯坦的通用语乌尔都语不可或缺，但并不为人熟知 。英语是所有语言中最难学的，但Thari人对它的喜爱不亚于任何人 。所以孩子们的课程将从Dhatki语开始，逐渐转向巴基斯坦公民所需的其他语言 。英语将作为一门学科，而不是一种教学媒介 。
Such linguistically sensitive schooling demands more resources than most governments can afford. Instead, more pupils are likely to be taught in English, despite the drawbacks that entails. Their parents will make sacrifices to buy what they believe to be an advantage for their children. “If our children don’t speak English, they can’t excel in today’s world,” says Rukayat Tanvir, whose husband is a shopkeeper in Lahore, and who sends five children to an English-medium private school. “It gives me pleasure to hear my daughters speaking English even though I can’t understand what they are saying.”
这种对语言敏感的学校教育所需求的资源大大超出了大多数政府的承受能力 。而更多学生可能接受的是英语媒介教学，尽管用英语教学也会产生一些缺点 。父母会做出牺牲，购买他们认为对孩子有利的东西 。“我们的孩子如果不会说英语，就不能在当今世界出类拔萃，”胡卡亚特·坦维尔表示 。胡卡亚特·坦维尔将五个孩子送到一所英语授课的私立学校，丈夫在拉合尔有一家店 。“听到女儿们讲英文我很高兴，尽管听不懂她们在说什么 。”