Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB MLE) – Philippines
(13 Feb 2010)
The Benefits of MTB MLE
The preponderance of local and international research consistent with the Basic Education Reform Agenda (BESRA) recommendations affirms the benefits of Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB MLE).
MTB MLE Institutionalized in DepEd
Convinced of this overwhelming evidence showing the advantage of learners who undergo learning in their first language, the DepEd issued DO 74 on July 14, 2009, and thus institutionalized MTB MLE “as a fundamental educational policy and program” within the DepEd “in the whole stretch of formal education including pre-school and in the Alternative Learning System (ALS).”1 To this end, the DepEd, along with partners both in government and in non-government organizations, have joined together to support DO 74 by strategically planning for the implementation of MTB MLE country-wide. This is a summary of that Strategic Plan.
MTB MLE Foundational Principles
As stated in DO 74, notable international studies (cf. Thomas and Collier) and local studies (cf. the Lubuagan program and study) clearly show the benefits to children who are educated under a MTB MLE method and pedagogy as compared to those who are not. These studies show that: a) Use of L1 allows learners to learn to read and write more quickly; b) Learners learn an L2 and an L3 more quickly when learning is first conducted in their L1; c) Learners who begin in their L1 realize greater and more efficient cognitive development and are better prepared for more and more cognitively demanding subject matter later on in their learning experience; and d) Learner achievement and performance is better measured when done in the learner’s L1, which reflects the learner’s real knowledge of concepts rather than their knowledge (or lack of knowledge) of the language in which the concepts are tested. The language of learning should also be the language of testing.
6 Areas of Focused Activity, 1 Overall Impact
In order to achieve a single, overall Impact for learners within the educational system in the Philippines, DepEd and its partners are focusing their efforts on 6 areas of focused activity in their Strategic Plan (StratPlan).
Our Vision/Impact Statement: Relevant and Quality Education for All
Our desired Impact: Learners are enjoying relevant and quality education which supports their home languages and cultures; Learning outcomes are improved country-wide; And the Philippines is succeeding in its goal of Education For All.
Activity Area #1: Social Preparation and Advocacy
DepEd and its partners recognize that without the support and participation of the citizens of the Philippines, the goal of relevant and quality education for all through use of the learner’s L1 cannot be achieved. The goal/outcome of this activity area: Philippine citizenry are aware of, support, and are mobilized to accomplish the purpose, goals, and pedagogy of MTB MLE.
Activity Area #2: In-Service Training (INSET) of Teachers and Managers
In order for MTB MLE to be institutionalized as a fundamental educational policy and program in the whole stretch of formal education, the DepEd and its partners must work to build into the educational system the capacity, that is, the capability, knowledge, competence, and faculty to implement the program at all levels of the education system. In order to do this, MTB MLE trainers must be equipped, teachers trained, and the numbers of these must grow yearly in order to address the large numbers of learners at the basic education level.
The goal/outcome of this activity area: DepEd and Private sector schools have the administrative and leadership capacity, the knowledge base among national level policy-makers and educators, the training capacity, and the teaching capacity in MTB MLE, and are implementing MTB MLE country-wide on an increasing scale, and propagating this teaching and training for an increasing number of policymakers, educators, trainers and teachers.
Activity Area #3: Materials Development
There are approximately 170 languages spoken in the Philippines. The Philippines is ranked the 10th most linguistically diverse nation on earth. Filipinos who speak some of the nation’s lesser known languages are frequently marginalized from the mainstream of Philippine education, commerce, and society due to language barriers. Materials must be developed even in the lesser known Philippine languages in order to reach the overall impact of quality and relevant education for all Filipinos. Strategies will be developed within this activity area to ensure that quality education materials are produced for all Filipinos in as many languages of learning (mother tongues) as necessary.
The goal/outcome of this activity area: Adequate L1 materials are available for each language taught in the MTB MLE program which integrate PELC’s standards through adapted curricula using language-specific orthographies.
Activity Area #4: Pre-Service Teacher Education
The bilingual education policy institutionalized in the Philippines in 1974 mandated two languages of instruction: English and Filipino. Additionally, it allowed for use of the L1/mother tongue as an auxiliary language of instruction. Since 1974, education has primarily been done in English and Filipino. Two things have resulted from this. First, speakers of other Philippine languages have for decades learned that their language (and culture) is not important. This has led to the death and disfavor of many Philippine languages. Second, since 70% of Filipinos do not speak either English or Filipino at home, most Filipinos attend school not understanding the languages of instruction. As a result, school becomes an effort to learn these languages, rather than an effort to learn the concepts being taught using these languages. Learning of new concepts and development of critical thinking skills have been displaced by mere language learning.
Teachers trained in MTB MLE education methodology must learn new methods of teaching, such as teaching language (English and Filipino) using the learner’s mother tongue; and teaching Math and Science using the learner’s mother tongue. The goal/outcome of this activity area: Teachers graduating from pre-service teacher education programs are well versed in the theory and methods of MTB MLE and are able to access necessary resources, human and material, to implement MTB MLE in their classrooms.
Activity Area #5: Policy Development and Resource Mobilization
This new education initiative will require the will of leadership to make space for it within the current DepEd and education bureaucracy. It will also require new, and creative ways of acquiring currently available local, regional, and national resources, as well as finding new sources for funds needed to implement the new policy. The goal/outcome for this activity area: MTB MLE is being planned, implemented, and managed well at all levels of the education system due to well written policies, and through a well developed organizational structure for this purpose. Funding is available for MTB MLE from local, national, and international sources, and managers and teachers are able to access this and other sources of funding for implementation and training purposes.
Activity Area #6: Assessment, Monitoring, and Evaluation
Careful attention must be given in the implementation process of MTB MLE in order to ensure quality outcomes. Therefore, MTB MLE programs must be certified for quality of content and delivery, training, and teaching, and school programs must be accredited by DepEd as approved MTB MLE programs.
The goal/outcome for this activity area: Well defined protocols and measurements are being used by the DepEd and by the CHED to assess, monitor, evaluate, and accredit various MTB MLE activities all across the Philippines.
For the rest of the MTB MLE StratPlan, click on: