During a language conference, Department of Education (DepEd) Sec Br Armin Luistro FSC talked about Mother Tongue-Based Multi-lingual Education (MTB-MLE) – a feature of the Enhanced Basic Education Program which mandates the use of the language that pupils are familiar with (their first language) as medium of instruction to make it easier for young students to grasp basic concepts.
According to Luistro: “Mas madaling matutunan yung konsepto ‘pag ang ginagamit ay ‘yung kanilang nakagisnang wika…. Kahit ano yung kanilang karunungan sa bahay, ito po yung ating tinatanggap, na ito po yung kanilang initial na kaalaman at walang mali doon.”
Luistro wants to emphasize that the teachers need to adjust to the students’ needs and use the language they are familiar with to teach the necessary concepts. “We want our schools to be learner-centered, meaning we take their needs into account when we teach. As much as possible we try to adjust to facilitate learning.”
The mother tongue as a subject focuses on the development of reading and speaking from Grades 1 to 3. As a medium of instruction the mother tongue is used in all learning areas from Kinder to Grade 3 except in the teaching of Filipino and English subjects.
Filipino is introduced in the first semester of Grade 1 for oral fluency (speaking). For reading and writing purposes, it will be taught beginning in the second semester of Grade 1. The four other macro skills which are listening, speaking, reading and writing in Filipino will continuously be developed from Grades 2 to 6.
At present the DepEd has teaching materials in Bahasa-Sug, Bicolano, Cebuano, Chavacano, Hiligaynon, Ilokano, Kapampangan, Maguindanaoan, Maranao, Pangasinense, Tagalog, and Waray-waray and is developing materials in Ybanag, Ivatan, Sambal, Aklanon, Kinaray-a , Yakan and Surigaonon.