By Dr. Lalaine F. Yanilla Aquino
University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City
Abstract: This research focused on the effects of bilingual instruction on the acquisition of literacy skills of preschoolers. An experimental design was used, with language of instruction as the independent variable and the different literacy skills as dependent variables. The sample consisted of preschool children belonging to an urban poor community in the Philippines. They were given pretests and were divided into three groups: Monolingual Filipino, Monolingual English, and Bilingual. They were taught different literacy skills for eight weeks and were then administered the posttests. Data was analyzed and evaluated in the light of the central processing and script-dependent hypotheses. Based on the data, it can be inferred that monolingual instruction in either Filipino or English had a stronger effect on the children’s literacy skills compared to bilingual instruction. Moreover, mother tongue-based instruction, as compared to second-language instruction, had stronger effect on the preschoolers’ literacy skills. Such results have implications not only for mother tongue-based (MTB) but also for English as a second language (ESL) instruction in the country.
Keywords: mother-tongue based instruction, bilingual education, biliteracy, preschool education, cross-linguistic transfer of literacy skills