Nothing amps up our heartbeats more than a meaty report from Prof. Ched Arzadon, our trusty, energetic MLE activist-reporter out there. Here’s her latest:
I brought my 2 MA classes (UP College of Education), about 20 students, to Davao last September 4-6 to visit MLE and ALS classes in Tagum City and Davao City. They learned a lot and were so inspired with what we saw—-big and small books, primer, posters and instructional materials all in the local language. What encouraged them most was to see the very enthusiastic teachers and the most zealous of them, their division MLE Coordinator, Ms. Allen Guillaran. ALS department provided us the ride and while travelling and having lunch with ALS people, Ms. Allen kept on “preaching” about MLE to them. One mobile teacher who was working with the Higaonon community for adult basic literacy was convinced and said she would like to know how to create a primer for their ALS program.
I was really fascinated with Ms. Guillaran especially when she said that for 25 years she served as an English teacher and later as the English Program Supervisor for Tagum. It troubled her that students, though they can decode English text, couldn’t comprehend meaning and so when she learned about MLE she embraced it instantly. She tried thinking of a word to describe her experience and then she blurted, “It’s like being born again! And I am now repenting from what I did thru MTBMLE.” She is like a third generation MLE “convert.” She was trained by Mrs. Nini Del Rosario (another MLE champion) and her team who were trained in that 40-day training of trainers by Rose Villaneza and others who attended the MLE course at Payap University (Thailand) two years ago.
I am glad to see that what is being passed on down the line is not just the “how to’s” of MLE but the advocacy. The participants of the 40-day regional training of trainers formed a Facebook group which they called “MTBMLE Advocates.” It’s the avenue where they exchange info and updates. Yesterday I was talking to a teacher who participated in that multi-billion project (BEAM) funded by AusAid and he said that he was amazed to see the quick and enthusiastic acceptance of MTBMLE. He said, “It was like magic!”
I think one reason for such enthusiasm is that MTBMLE is our own program, funded by regular DepEd budget, not something that is propelled by a foreign funded project. It also addresses the unease and difficulties that teachers had for a long time in having to use an unfamiliar language to teach literacy and numeracy. Now with MLE, pupils participate more actively and can express their thoughts more profoundly (when their lesson was S sound to represent the local word for roof, the students began describing the roof of their homes, something that hardly happened when the medium was English).
So I think we made a good start. Right now the regional trainers are having their debriefing at Cebu City to discuss what happened during the regional MLE training last summer. Again we congratulate our DepEd MLE champions, especially Undersecretary Yolly Quijano, Dr. Para Giron, Dr. Rose Villaneza and the 100 regional MLE trainers for making all these possible.
I hope we can all continue to serve and support DepEd in any way that we can as they implement and sustain MTBMLE in their pilot areas and as they scale up the program in all schools all over the country.
I will write more as we visit other MLE sites this school year.