Mother tongue-based MLE conference in the Philippines

MTB MLE Philippines conference logo(February 2010) The First Philippine Conference-Workshop on Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education is being held 18–20 February at Capitol University, Cagayan De Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Philippines. The theme of the conference, sponsored by the 170+ Talaytayan MLE Consortium in partnership with SIL, the Philippines Department of Education (DepEd) and others, is "Reclaiming the Right to Learn in One’s Own Language."

Linguists, translators, language researchers, educators, administrators and other multilingual education (MLE) stakeholders from the Philippines and neighboring countries are coming together for this conference. It offers a forum for MLE experts and advocates to share experiences gained through existing programs and to think about the future of MLE in the area. It features more than a dozen plenary presentations and panel discussions, 25 workshops and 60 paper presentations on a variety of topics. To celebrate the rich language diversity of the Philippines, a Cultural Night and Celebration of International Mother Language Day (21 February) is planned during the conference.

Workshops with SIL involvement

  • Phililppines Secretary of Education Jesli A. Lapus, Congressman Magtanggol Gunigundo and Carl Grove (LEAD, SIL International) Plenary Panel Discussion: "Language-in-education policy making in the Philippines"
  • Diane Dekker (SIL International) and Lubuagan Teachers (DepEd) Plenary Panel Discussion: "The Lubuagan experiment"
  • Resty Cena (UP Diliman) and Roger Stone (SIL) "Designing an alphabet for written and unwritten languages"
  • Diane Dekker (SIL International) and Lubuagan Teachers (DepEd) "Teaching strategies and methodologies for MLE"
  • Carl Grove (SIL International) "Assessment of learning"
  • Ronald Morren and Diane Morren (SIL International) "Building oral fluency in the L1 and L2"
  • Yolanda Quijano (DepEd) and Greg Dekker (SIL International) "MLE program planning, evaluation and assessment"

SIL papers

  • Ellen J. Errington (SIL Asia) "Building oral competency in the mother tongue as a foundation for school-based and second-language learning"
  • Diane Morren (SIL International) "History and development of a mother-tongue-based MLE program in the Carribean"
  • Ronald Morren (SIL International) "Thirty years of MLE in Guatemala"
  • Zenith Mousumy Sarker, Kuri Teresa Chisim and Mridul Sangma (SIL Bangladesh) "Effective education through community-based language and development programs"
  • Mary Saurman and Glenn Stallsmith (SIL) "Traditional music and arts in the classroom: A whole-brain learning approach to language and culture acquisition"
  • Catherine Young (SIL International) and Fiona Morgan (SIL International) "Building on firm foundations: Mother-tongue-based early childhood education"


The conference includes discussion of the strategic plan for implementing Philippines Department of Education Order No. 74 from 2009–2016 and beyond, which involves the institutionalization of MLE in all public and private schools, including use of the learner’s mother tongue for instruction, development of L1 instructional materials, language-bridging techniques and the implementation of a certification process for MLE programs, training, teaching and materials.

The Conference is serving as an in-service workshop for regional teachers and administrators interested in implementing MLE, with sessions on various topics such as teaching across disciplines, story-telling, the development of quality and culturally-sensitive materials. Each region has a booth that displays local instructional materials and primers, literature written and produced by local writers, local cultural artifacts and crafts, language maps, dictionaries and other written documentation of local languages.

The sponsor of the conference, 170+ Talaytayan MLE Consortium, is an alliance of education stakeholders from the University of the Philippines (UP), Philippine Normal University, Mariano Marcos State University and Ateneo de Davao University. It also includes nongovernmental organizations like Save the Children, NAKEM International, DILA Philippines and the Translators Association of the Philippines. It is headed by Dr. Ricardo Ma. Duran Nolasco of the UP Department of Linguistics. SIL consultants Greg and Diane Dekker serve as resource people to the Consortium and Conference.

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