Second Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education Conference in the Philippines

Participants browse a selection of teaching materials from existing MTB-MLE programs in a session facilitated by Translators Association of the Philippines.

First language education teaches children how to learn by using a familiar medium, and in the process builds critical thinking skills – cognition – so necessary in the learning process. As subject matter gets increasingly complex in later grades, studies show that children are able to transfer these cognitive skills to other media of instruction, and to the learning of more difficult subject matter, often taught in Filipino and English.

- SIL Philippines

(February 2012) Local and international scholars, policy makers and educators gathered in Iloilo City16-18 February for the Second Philippine Conference-Workshop on Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE). The theme for the event was “Education for All and Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education, 2015 and Beyond.” SIL was among the sponsoring organizations that cooperated to organize the event and SIL multilingual education and literacy personnel led several sessions.

Studies indicate that MTB-MLE contributes to student succes. In the Lubuagan community, researchers found that children in a mother tongue education program out-performed students in Filipino and English medium schools by a difference of 40 percentage points.

Participants in the conference-workshop discussed the gains seen in the Philippines through MTB-MLE pilot programs in different areas of the country which have been facilitated by NGOs and the Philippines’ Department of Education (DepEd). They also explored how the principles can be incorporated into new K-12 and teacher education curricula in development. The event allowed participants to share research, best practices, lesson plans and teaching materials.

Multilingualism, rather than monolingualism or even bilingualism, is the reality in much of our world today. This is certainly true of the Philippines, a country with 171 living languages. Many of the world’s ethnolinguistic minority communities see value in educational opportunities that will provide a bridge to the national language and perhaps even an international language. SIL supports multilingual education as it enables ethnolinguistic minority communities to participate in broader linguistic circles while still functioning fully in the vitality of their own language.

conference poster shows cartoon of children playing with kitesAmong the many presentations at the conference-workshop were several by SIL personnel. Dr. Kimmo Kosonen provided a keynote address entitled “The role of MLE in reaching EFA in Asia-Pacific: trends and developments.” Dr. Catherine Young presented “MTB-MLE: A sound theory and practice for literacy and numeracy.” Xinia Skoropinski of SIL Philippines collaborated with DepEd colleagues on a presentation on materials creation. Another SIL literacy specialist led a session on Kindergarten curriculum.

Other topics

  • MTB-MLE in K-12 education
  • MTB-MLE worldwide
  • Use of media in MTB-MLE
  • Sounds, letters and other distinct features of Philippine languages
  • MTB-MLE curriculum guides for all subject areas
  • Materials Development in MTB-MLE, both mother tongue and transitional (to the language of wider communication) primers
  • An MTB-MLE-adapted young learners’ curriculum with a thematic approach
  • Local and international policies relating to MTB-MLE
  • Developing context-embedded assessments
  • Teaching math using manipulatives and indigenized materials
  • Incorporating MTB-MLE in pre-service curriculum
  • Developing writing systems
  • Emergent literacy
  • World Englishes
  • Deaf education
  • Demonstrations of several MTB-MLE teaching techniques:
    • Communicative activity-based learning acquisition
    • Primer lessons
    • Experience stories
    • Shared reading

Sponsoring organizations

  • 170+ Talaytayan MLE
  • The Department of Education of the Philippines
  • West Visayas State University
  • Save the Children
  • Translators Association of the Philippines
  • Philippine Normal University
  • NAKEM Philippines and NAKEM International
  • Linguistic Society of the Philippines
  • Philippine Deaf Resource Center
  • DILA Philippines
  • University of the Philippines-Layap
  • SIL International

Related links of interest