Mastery in the MOI first before overloading on other foreign languages

Sec. Luistro

That DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro comes out swinging — as reported in the accompanying article — on the idea that public school teachers start training in foreign language teaching is a surprise — and a difficult one to understand — considering that majority of his own teachers have not even mastered the constitutionally mandated medium of instruction (MOI) used in school namely, English. Is this the reason why he is for K+12 which adds 1 year of kindergarten, 1 year of junior high school and 1 year of senior high school, or 3 more expensive years to the old 10-year basic education cycle so he can justify adding non-essential subjects to the basic curriculum? For sure, knowing some foreign languages gives one an advantage in the global stage, but in this day and age when there’s a glut of FREE, self-paced, and self-help language learning resources on the internet, why can’t we just leave those who have a need to learn other languages to so learn on their own? So many of our students won’t even have a chance to use the foreign languages they are taught, so why do we keep beating this path?  The draft, World Bank Education Strategy 2020″, released by the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) for comment (comment phase already closed), contains an appeal “to governments, donors, community leaders, and employers to focus more on education that prepares young people for the jobs market rather than on the time they spend in school. Unless you can convince me that majority of our students will be working in environments where their foreign language skills are required — like outside the country — then the push to train public school teachers in foreign language teaching is rather a misguided course of action in the scheme of priorities. — JP

Public school teachers start training in foreign language teaching

By Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) Updated April 28, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) has started the summer training of all its public school teachers teaching foreign languages under its Special Program in Foreign Language (SPFL) wherein it seeks to teach French, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Mandarin in select public high schools.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro said that the continuing education for the public high school teachers was part of their thrust to invest in their teachers, and consequently, the millions of public school children.

“We believe that all students deserve quality education,” Luistro said.

“But we cannot give this to our students if we will not provide our teachers opportunities to acquire the necessary skills and education relevant to the present needs of the education system,” added Luistro.

DepEd has been pushing for initiatives not only to improve learning outcomes but also to achieve the kind of education in the country that is at par with global standards. It also conducts programs that will enhance the competencies of teachers and upgrade the quality of teaching in public schools by giving them scholarship grants towards their professional advancement.

SPFL is among the department’s efforts in enhancing not only public school teachers’ but also students’ foreign language proficiency and global competencies.

“Knowledge in foreign language will allow us to participate in intellectual discourses during engagement in social, political and economic issues in a wider global and scientific community. And as we communicate our thoughts and understand others, we can further develop our potentials and enhance our capacity in learning life skills, as well as the cognitive and affective competencies, required of us to connect to the world,” Luistro stressed.

One hundred four teachers are being trained in Spanish, 29 of them are representatives of selected pilot schools, while the remaining 75 teachers are delegates from expansion schools. The Ministry of Education, Embassy of Spain, and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for the Development of the Kingdom of Spain collaborate with DepEd for the SPFL in Spanish. Instituto Cervantes, Manila serves as the venue (April 11-May 25, 2011).

A total of 39 teachers from the National Capital Region (NCR) and Region VII are participating in SPFL in Japanese, sponsored by Japan Foundation and now being held at the Philippines-Japan Friendship Center, Makati City (April 11-May 27, 2011).

Nine teachers from NCR are taking part in the SPFL in French, while nine teachers from Region VII are attending the French Language Program – Summer and Face to Face Follow-Through Training. The French program, in coordination with the Alliance Francaise Manila and Cebu, commenced (April 25-May 21, 2011) at Alliance Francaise Manila and Cebu.

Training in German involves 32 teachers from NCR, 15 of them are new teachers attending the training (April 11-May 28) while the remaining 17 are pilot teachers who will attend the May 2-27 training. The program is in partnership with Goethe Institut-Philippines, Makati City.

Meanwhile, Confucius Institute at the Angeles University Foundation is conducting a training on the Chinese language to six teachers (April 25-May 31).

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