Language in a Special Point of View

By Hannah V. Camiring

Paper presented at the 2nd Philippine Conference Workshop on
Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTBMLE 2)
held February 16-18, 2012, at the Punta Villa Resort
Sto. Niño Sur, Arevalo, Iloilo City, Philippines


In a country where more than one hundred languages are spoken, the difficulty of communicating arises, even for a thought of coming up of a language to bind every individual in the country is still difficult (Linguistic Society of the Philippines, 2011). The role of education is crucial at this point since educating learners to communicate would be one of the main goals of the schools. With the numerous numbers of languages we have here in the Philippines, it is a great task to come up with a common language understandable by all.

Many of our schools today are still struggling whether to make use of English or Filipino in teaching. There had been various moves to make both as a medium of instruction in the elementary and high school education, the Bilingual Policy. Over the years, since history had it, the issue of Bilingual Policy had been an onoff scenario in the education system.

The Linguistic Society of the Philippines was involved in the formulation of the Bilingual Education Policy in 1974 and conducted a formal evaluation of its implementation for the period 1974 to 1985; based on the results of that evaluation, the Policy was revised in 1987. Several of its recent round-table discussions have focused on the Philippine language agenda for the 21st century: even as the role of the ethnic languages is recognized and upheld, the concern remains the development of Filipino as a national language and the maintenance of English as the global language remain key concerns (LSP, 2011). Now the new move to use the Mother Tongue Based Multi-Lingual Education is becoming a more popular language issue.

It cannot be denied however, that in this perspective, only regular learners are being considered. The problem on the use of English, Filipino, or the Mother tongue of the learners is a struggle for Special Education Teachers. It may not be a problem per se but a more suitable word is “confusion”. For Special Education Teachers dealing with students who are nonverbal, this is an immense concern.

To read the complete article, click on Camiring – Language in a Special Point of View.

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