Effects of Bilingual Education

Topics: Multilingualism, Second language, Philippines Pages: 9 (2379 words) Published: December 28, 2013




The increasing number of pupils who obtained low grade in Mathematics is a cause of alarm to the Philippine educational system. Many studies have shown that there are actually many factors affecting achievement in Mathematics and one of these is the language factor.

The mandate of a Bilingual Education Policy of the Department of Education Culture and Sports (DECS) which took effect in 1974, states that English should be the medium of instruction in teaching Science and Mathematics in the elementary and secondary schools. The policy requires that Filipino should only be used in all other subjects. This policy has its good intention, that is, “to avail the advantages of the scientific, commercial and cultural links of an international language (English), which addresses the need to further develop the national language as an essential instrument for achieving national unity and integration.

However, language ability has been acknowledged to pose potential and actual barriers to learning – both in Science and in Mathematics. To understand the relationship between language and mathematics, one needs to know the main components of the language as it is used in the mathematics classroom.

With the new implementation of the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education as one of the salient features of the K to 12 Basic Education Program states that the mother tongue will be the medium of instruction from Kindergarten to Grade 3. This includes the following: Tagalog, Kapampangan, Pangasinense, Iloko, Bikol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Waray, Tausug, Maguindanaoan, Maranao, and Chabacano. Medium of instruction will be English and Filipino starting grade 4.

The message of both local and international research is quite clear: children should no longer be in monolingual classrooms. Despite this growing body of research showing the benefits of mother tongue maintenance and bilingual programs, the Department of Education issued Executive Order No. 210, declaring English to be the medium of instruction, as second language starting at Grade 1, then a primary language of instruction from Grade 3 until the secondary levels (Department of Education, 2006).

But in private schools where certain policies of the DepEd are not strictly followed and implemented, it is perceived that the language barrier, specifically in teaching Mathematics, certain mastery of the English language has to precede the understanding of Mathematics language.

In today’s world, “bilingualism is more the norm than the exception,” (Lessow-Hurley, 2000). Governments around the world are now developingbilingual/multilingual educational policies, not only as a response to their nations’ innate linguistic heterogeneity, but also as a means of coping with a world whose borders are increasingly disappearing.

The Philippines is no different from the rest of the world: the average Filipino speaks three to four languages. There are two official languages, English and Filipino. Filipino, the amalgam of various local languages, is the language of the streets, popular media and the masses. Inhabitants of Metro Manila, the nation’s capital, are all exposed to these two languages the minute they are born. Yet, when they enter school, English is introduced as the “global” language, as well as the language of math, science and technology. The Philippines is in a linguistic situation where English and Filipino are used predominantly for different functions: English is used for formal and business communication needs, as well as for most academic discourse. Thus, it becomes imperative to learn this language, mostly at the expense of the other.


This study hopes to resolve the effect of bilingual education in teaching Mathematics in the School...
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