Tag Archive | medium of instruction (MOI)

DepEd Announces National Seminars on Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education

The Department of Education (DepEd) issued DepEd Advisory No. 241 s. 2011 on May 25, 2011, scheduling a series of national seminars on Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTBMLE) that will be conducted by the Southeast Center for Training and Development (SECTD) on the following dates and venues:

  • July 29-31, 2011 at the Baguio Convention Center, Baguio City
  • August 26-28, 2011 at the Leyte National High School Auditorium, Tacloban City
  • October 28-30, 2011 at the CAP Auditorium, Iloilo City
  • December 16-18, 2011 at the Zamboanga del Norte Convention Center, Dipolog City

The seminars aim to:

  1. Identify social, cultural and legal issues of making the mother tongue as the medium of instruction in the early grades;
  2. Present experiences of other countries’ educational system where the mother tongue is used as the medium of instruction;
  3. Discuss theories supporting the use of mother tongue in teaching and learning;
  4. Prepare teachers in designing instructional materials using the mother tongue; and
  5. Equip them with skills in handling lessons using the mother tongue of learners.

The principals, district and education supervisors and elementary teachers from both public and private schools are invited to attend this activity.

A registration fee of Two Thousand Pesos (PhP2,000.00) will be charged each participant. The fee includes snacks (5), lunch (2), bags, materials and certificates.

For registration and further information, contact Mr. Edward M. Soliman, Managing Director, SECTD at mobile phone no.: 0917-5147-952; at telephone no. (045) 491-4117 or send a message through email address: southeastdlc@yahoo.com.

The MTBMLE Express: unstoppable

As I recall, before DepEd Order No. 74 s.2009, there was this gaggle of folks passionate and determined to have the people in DepEd’s sancto santorum look beyond the old bilingual policy of requiring English and Filipino as the MOI at the primary and secondary levels. Although Sec. 7, Article 14 of the 1987 Constitution mandates that “The regional languages are the auxiliary official languages in the regions and shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction therein,” there was no energy and will to implement the mandate. Even then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo got into the action when she issued Executive Order #210 on May 17, 2003 requiring that no less than 70 percent of all teaching areas at the secondary level be conducted using English as the MOI with the remainder to be taught using Filipino as the MOI. So when DepEd Order #74 was given the green light by former DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus while President Arroyo was still running the country in 2009, I was mildly surprised. And, of course, deeply elated.

But the back-and-forth and not-so-subtle horsetrading before that among the MLE advocates who ultimately got the upper hand in creating a sense of urgency (well, we didn’t call it “UNSTOPPABLE” back then) for ‘legitimizing’ MTBMLE (technically, the 1987 Constitution already made it legit) and making it a reality at last was, to call it mildly, furious. When I reviewed old emails prior to July 14, 2009 when DO 74 finally got approved, I noted that there must have been more than a hundred of them over a few hundred pages. Here’s a sampler:

Dear ____,

I think I found the answer to your “sequencing of learning” concern:

“…you have said in the same bullet that “English and Filipino shall be taught as separate subjects through the mother tongue starting from grade IV”. I think you mean “starting from Grade 1″ right? It is too late to start teaching these as subjects in Grade IV…”

Chap. 3 (Theoretical Framework) of The Philippine Roadmap to Multi-Literacy (BESRA) provides the following passages:

“For Marinova-Todd, Marshall and Snow (2000), quality of L2 exposure is more important than age of initial exposure in determining L2 acquisition success…”

“As studies have shown, when the spoken language of a child has an orthographic equivalent, it is best to develop literacy in that language to ensure that child is able to understand what he or she is expected to read. Therefore, it is vital to realize that literacy more easily and efficiently develops in the language that that learner knows and speaks… It can be seen that the present basic education program for language and literacy development does not build upon oral language ability in the first language (L1) but instead immediately teaches children to read in the two target languages of the curriculum. The gap is a significant oversight of the strength of first language literacy contributions to future language and literacy development in additional languages. This is most especially true for the early years when such abilities are starting to form and grow. The difficulties that children might encounter due to the lack of oral language background in target languages create two or more layers of difficulty in literacy acquisition. The first is that students have to learn two unfamiliar languages simultaneously. The second difficulty is having to learn to read in two orthographies while learning to speak these two languages… Not only is it cognitively easier but it also has socio-emotional implications to the child’s well being. When children are made to read in a language they do not understand, often times, children report that their language is not valued in the classroom…”

And the response came tumbling in:

Hi ___,

First, let me say that I am very much in favor of use of the L1 as MOI for as long as possible. Building a strong foundation in L1 will only improve the child’s ability to learn in other languages (building CALP in L1 for 12 years). We have developed sequence of learning charts for the Philippines for 3 langs. (L1 + Fil. + Eng.), and for 2 langs. (Filipino as L1 + English). Let me know if you’d like to see them.

However, in a policy document, it is asking a lot for policy-makers to hold off introduction of Oral and Literacy skills in Filipino and English to the point you advocate. My feeling is it simply won’t be signed if we advocate that hard for later intro. of L2 and L3. So, bringing L2 and L3 in as I have indicated in the document is what we advocate. Additionally, we have proven the effectiveness of this sequencing in Lub., so there’s no worry that it won’t be effective. It will be.

Re orthography, I will say, What we need to do is preserve the uniqueness of Philippine languages by preserving their unique sounds, through unique representations, as much as possible.

There’s so much more history behind Deped 74 and MTBMLE. Probably doesn’t explain much why, for me,  jubilant thoughts and emotions well up when Dr. Isabel Pefianco Martin, associate professor at the School of Humanities, Ateneo de Manila University, writes that the MTBMLE Express is unstoppable! — JP

The MTBMLE Express: unstoppable

mBy Isabel Pefianco Martin
Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 15, 2011


ALMOST TWO years after the Department of Education, through Order No. 74 s. 2009, pushed for the use of the first language in basic education, efforts at implementing MTBMLE (mother tongue based multilingual education) are gaining significant ground. Through the leadership of Dr. Rose Villaneza, DepEd’s national coordinator for MTBMLE, the first of four phases of intensive training has commenced and continues to be conducted throughout the country.

Last school year, pilot programs were implemented in selected schools in Valenzuela and Parañaque. Soon after, 170+ Talaytayan MLE Consortium, one of the most active advocates of

MTBMLE, published a collection of essays aptly entitled “Starting Where the Children Are.” And although House Bill No. 162 sponsored by Valenzuela Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo remains a bill, the MTBMLE Express is speeding up and looks unstoppable.

Click here to read the full article.

Invitation to Make MLE Content Open

No. 2 on the Enclosure to DepEd Order No. 74 approved by former Sec. Jesli Lapus on July 14, 2009 — more than a year ago — requires the “Development, production and distribution of inexpensive instructional materials in the designated language at the school, division, and regional levels with a special priority on beginning reading and children’s literature.  These materials should be as much as possible, original, reflecting local people, events, realities, and appropriate to the language, age, and culture of the learners.

After more than a year of MLE training and content development, there has to be a body of work out there waiting to be made public, put to test, analyzed, improved or pedagogically repurposed.  Multilingual Philippines and a companion website, thelearningplace.ph, are waiting eagerly to publish whatever MLE content (big books, procedural info, white paper, etc.) which has been developed in fulfillment of the requirements of DepEd 74.

We would like to see all the MLE content developed in various participating mother tongue (L1) communities so that stakeholders in those communities — subject matter experts or just simple folks — have the opportunity to examine the stuff, critique it, or recommend ways to improve it. It would be nice to fashion a model for every conceivable type of MLE content for each L1 community so that stakeholders in the community could keep on improving it to make it something of a standard the rest in the community could copy or emulate. There’s very skimpy resource to waste in re-inventing the wheel.

Multilingual Philippines and thelearningplace.ph will be glad to serve as repository for all the MLE content, freely accessible 24/7 by everyone who has a need to access it.

First, LET’S MAKE ALL MLE CONTENT OPEN! The actual MLE assessment questions may be left out for MLE teachers; however, MLE assessment theories and procedures could be kept open, leaving them available for continued discussion to search ways to make them even more effective.

MTB MLE StratPlan Updated

Executive Summary

Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB MLE) – Philippines
Strategic Plan
(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. Continue reading

MLE Implementation: Some Hard Choices Will Have To Be Made

The “Goldilocks” of MLE Implementation:
Possibilities in overcoming
demographic challenges

By Firth McEachern

Firth McEachern

The antithesis of mother tongue-based Multilingual Education (MLE) is an educational system wherein the majority of students learn in a non-native language. This is common in African countries that use colonial languages like French or English to teach their children, few of whom are native French or English speakers. This is also the case of the Philippines, which currently teaches in only two languages—English and Tagalog-based Filipino—despite there being between 120 and 171 indigenous Philippine languages. Since English is the mother tongue of only a few tens of thousands of Filipinos, and native Tagalog speakers account for some 30% of the population, this means that the majority of Filipino students are learning in languages not native to their family, geographic location, community, or cultural heritage.

Fortunately, the present bilingual system in the Philippines is being phased out. In July 2009, the Department of Education issued Department Order 74, declaring mother tongue-based Multilingual Education (MLE) a department-wide policy for all educational establishments under its aegis. In particular, the use of the mother tongue as a medium of instruction will be implemented across all subjects in primary school, starting in kindergarten and Grade One in 2012 and adding a new grade level each subsequent year. Continue reading

MLE Strategic Plan Approved by National Learning Strategies

Click on any part of the above chart to enlarge it.


November 4, 2010

Dear Loopers and MLE folks,

I’m very pleased to inform you that, meeting for the first time since the change of the DepEd Management Team, the National Learning Strategies (NLS) Technical Working Group of the BESRA, approved this afternoon the first  Strategic Plan for the Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education.

Presided by former Bureau of Elementary Education Director now Senior Undersecretary Yolanda Quijano, the TWG paved the way for the final approval of the StratPlan by BESRA’s Coordinating Technical Committee composed of high-level DepEd official.  The StratPlan was presented by SIL Staff and DepEd MLE Consultant Gregory Dekker.

The MLE Plan sees no major hurdles in the immediate future of its implementation except that it will have to make some adjustments when the K+12 Program fully takes effect while the proposed implementing organizational structure will have to be attuned to the  re-engineered DepEd Regional Offices.

Chief Economic Development Specialist
Education and Manpower Development Division
Social Development Staff
National Economic and Development Authority
Amber Ave., Pasig City

I immediately got in touch with Greg Dekker for a copy of the STRAT PLan and on November 6, 2010 came this email:

Dear Joe,

I’m attaching a copy of the StratPlan.

My friend, reforms like these take time. It’s been six months since I submitted this strat plan!

Implementation IS going on, though. We are conducting the Training of Trainers. Phase II is in Iloilo City starting 13 Nov. I am also doing research trips all over the Philippines for my consultancy on MTB MLE.

There is a LOT of interest in MTB MLE. The movement is going forward, and I think we’ll see this implemented, though it may take more time than we planned. The important thing is that we get the quality and capacity we are working for. If we don’t get that, there’s a chance it will die in the long run. [Though, I don’t think the current excitement for it will allow that.]

Blessings, my friend. Nice to hear from you!

Greg Dekker

For the complete MLE STRAT PLAN, please click on the following:

Why Mother-Tongue Instruction Improves Achievement

[The following is an excerpt from Helen Abadzi’s book, Efficient Learning for the Poor: Insights from the Frontiers of Neuroscience, which I recommend for those involved in MLE.]

Learning Essentials

For many children, education in another language is more difficult than expected.  The deficits in native language development common among the poor may inhibit the rapid acquisition of a second language. Mother tongue instruction is a prerequisite if Education for All is to be achieved, particularly when the official language has complex spelling rules. The official language should be taught to children as early as possible. However, it should become the platform for learning new information only after children know it sufficiently well to process complex sentences and vocabulary. A gradually decreasing percentage of mother-tongue instruction seems to be an effective way to introduce an official language.

Visitors to French-medium primary schools in sub-Saharan Africa are surprised to find out that children may understand little of what they are told and merely repeat verbatim what they hear. Sixth graders in rural areas may read haltingly or in monotone and be unable to answer comprehension questions on simple passages.  Why are schooling outcomes so poor?

Many countries have multiple languages and a need to teach in a common language. In countries like Romania or Indonesia, children speaking minority languages must learn the official language of instruction. In many others–including most countries in Africa and the South Pacific–the lingua franca is foreign to everyone (for example, English, French, or Portuguese). The countries with multiple languages have various language-instruction policies. In some countries, students may study in their mother tongues in lower primary grades and then switch to the lingua franca. In others, logistical and political complexities result in the use of the lingua franca for all grades. The latter approach is preferred in much of Africa and impacts some of the world’s poorest countries. Continue reading