I immersed myself in two major training activities on Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTBMLE) in a span of just two weeks. I joined the Training-Workshop on Bridging between Languages in St. Louis University (SLU)-Baguio City, then I moved farther up north to Lagawe, Ifugao, to speak at a training session that formed part of the regional mass roll-out training of Grade 1 teachers on the K to 12 curriculum for the Cordillera Autonomous Region. Dr. Modesta R. Bastian told me that there were to be four waves of 5-day training activities at the CAR for 1,864 Grade 1 teachers.
After four sessions at SLU, it became abundantly obvious to participants that mother tongue-based multilingual education is very different from everything they know. One former SLU professor initially believed that she already understood MLE because she assumed that it simply meant using the first language (or L1) as medium of instruction along with good teaching strategies. Now she realizes L1 literacy (or learning to read and write in your L1) is critical to teaching in her own language, and she isn’t even literate in this.