Report from the MLE training camps

C. Arzadon

C. Arzadon

Ched Arzadon’s report from the Multilingual Education training camps:

May 8, 2009.  We have an ongoing 22-day MLE training at UP.  Simultaneously, we are conducting a similar training/workshop at Valenzuela City attended by all the Grade I teachers from 5 chosen schools. We hope that Valenzuela City will be our first urban-based MLE model.

Next Monday we will meet with the district supervisors to discuss the re-sequencing of their budget of work (based on the PELC) and the shifting of the language of testing for the 5 MLE schools.

During our training at Valenzuela, each teacher participant is to produce one big book, 3 charted stories, riddles/rhymes, and advocacy plan/materials. Each participant will also do a teaching demo. It’s a novel idea for them to teach English through the mother tongue. There will be some 150 original stories submitted and the good ones will be reproduced for others to use. Those interested are invited to attend the open house on Friday, May 15, where the participants will display and present their outputs.

There is a dearth of instructional materials (can you imagine Grade I pupils being deprived of hearing and reading children stories?) even at these Metro Manila based schools.  And so the teachers are so thrilled that they will start the school year with an ample supply.

Since MLE starts with the familiar and moves into the unfamiliar, the participants were required to make colorful and original stories about people, places, things, and events in Valenzuela. We told them it should be “very Valenzuela.”  One teacher conducted her own research about why their barangay is called Ugong and she made a captivating story about it. Another teacher created a gripping story about a mother who was treated for free in a nearby hospital.  There is a story about the industries found in the area, about a barangay that is known for their rice cakes, and many more. And so when the pupils listen and read the stories about familiar items around them, they would easily connect and they would feel that their family and community are important enough to be featured in a book. They see themselves as the main actors and not just mere consumers or spectators of stories that took place in alien places.

Here’s the “breaking news” report bylined by Alexander Villafania in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on May 8, 2009:

Educators trained on native tongue teaching

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Education has began [sic] a summer program to train primary school educators on using their mother language as a medium of instruction.

About 50 teachers from grades 1, 2, and 3 from Luzon and Visayas schools joined the month-long training.

The training program enables teachers to prepare action plans to teach in the local dialects while enhancing their competencies in preparing curriculum, teaching materials and strategies.

Workshop outputs include lesson exemplars using Multilingual Education strategies for teaching beginning reading and for integrating content and language lessons for elementary grades, production of a multi-lingual “Big Book,” microteaching and advocacy plan.

Teachers will also be given lessons in English and Filipino.

DepEd partnered with the University of the Philippines College of Education, Reading and Teaching in the Early Grades Areas, Summer Institute of Linguistics, and Translators Association of the Philippines.

It is part of the DepEd’s Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education project, which is itself a continuation of the Lingua Franca Education Project conducted in 1999.

In a statement, DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus cited studies that pointed to better learning skills of primary students who are taught in their mother tongues.

Lapus said students are able to conceptualize and think deeper when being taught in their mother languages. Conversely, they find it difficult to learn when the medium of instruction is a language not familiar to them.

3 thoughts on “Report from the MLE training camps

  1. Educating the Educators

    Nang mabasa ko ang isang artikulo sa ( tungkol sa programa ng pamahalaan para magkaroon ng pagsasanay ang ilang mga guro sa pagtuturo gamit ang mga pangunahing wika ng mga mag-aaral sa antas 1, 2 at 3, ako’y nadismaya kaagad.

    Ang nagsulat sa nasabing artikulo, si Alexander Villafania, ay nagsabing “The training program enables teachers to prepare action plans to teach in the local dialects….” Local dialects? Ibig sabihin ang mga wika sa Pilipinas ay mga dayalekto lamang. Para sa isang mamamahayag, tila baga kulang ang kaalaman ni Villafania sa sariling salinlahi, bagama’t may mga dayalekto halos lahat ng mga wika sa Pilipinas, ang mga ito ay kinikilalang bahagi pa rin ng mga medyor na wikang kinabibilingang nito.

    Halimbawa, ang Tagalog na sinasalita sa Bulacan ay dayalekto ng wikang Filipino, na isa namang ginawang istandard na Tagalog. Ang Cebuanong sinasalita sa Bohol ay dayalekto ng wikang Cebuano.

    It seems that until now our supposedly educated classess do not even know the distinction between a dialect and a language. For the record, Tagalog, Cebuano, Bicolano, Hiligaynon, Ilokano, Waray-waray (the major languages of the Philippines) ARE NOT dialects. They are separate languages though they share many words and syntax.

    If we continue to think like Villafania when it comes to the rich cultural and linguistic heritage of our country, what hope do we have in improving as a country. We don’t even know what the HELL is the difference between a language and a dialect within our borders.

    If our teachers continue to think like Villafania, our country has serious issues to solve. Only then can true economic progress truly come to our country.

    Our educators should be re-educated about our ownselves, our own heritage. Tragic but certainly a legacy of our colonial past. Something that still chains our minds to a mental set-up of servitude and indifference.

    Aside from being a registered nurse by profession, I am also a licensed elementary teacher and a self-described Filipinist, nationalist and patriot. Everytime I read something like the said article published in a major news outlet, it breaks my heart big time.


  2. Hi Ched,

    Thanks very much for the info.

    Last April 27-30 I facilitated a session with the teachers of Santiago in Agusan del Sur. PBSP asked me to conduct a training prior to the Reading Camp that the teachers will handle the following week. I introduced the mother tongue as bridge to teaching reading and we had so much fun. I asked them to write their stories in their mother tongue and it turned out that most of them speak Surigaonon- a variant of Visaya which is similar to Bohol language. It was a very short training and I used as sample a locally produced book that has Tagalog translation from English and from there, they made further translation to Surigaonon. They were able to produce 1 big book which they will try out during the reading camp.

    Teachers felt excited to try using the mother tongue. I used the material of Dr Nolasco to give the background information. Unfortunatley, the ones who attended the training were the grade 3 – 6 teachers but they promised to share with the grades 1 and 2 teachers. The Principal is worried that the DepEd higher ups might not approve of what we planned to do. I promised I will give them the DepEd order and will ask Dr Yolly Quijano to write to the Regional Director, the Superintendent, Supervisor, down the line.
    I have not checked yet how the reading camp went.

    What I would like to do is try out a similar training that you’re doing in Luzon here in region 10. This time I want to focus on the Manobo, Maranao and Visayan languages. I’d need your help to get this organized with materials and funds.

    Thanks and warm regards,


  3. Ched, hi,

    I am coming home for a summer break on May 17. Can we sit down–you and our key MLE people–so we can help/collaborate with possible MLE trainings in the Ilocos?

    Please tell me how to get in touch with you, adingko. Adingko, kunak, ta 75 years old-akon. (I am smiling because I realize how tough you can be with this struggle!)

    Saludos, abrazos,


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