Jacquline Ann Amar
Bachelor in Secondary Education Major in Social Studies and Filipino (1 – D) West Visayas State University
La Paz, Iloilo City
Hazel P. Villa, MJour
Study and Thinking Skills in English (Eng 102)
(1, 843 words)
15 March 2012
Delivering an excellent quality of basic education is a vital commodity for a nation to render for its citizens and thus, the kind of language is undoubtedly the key to an effective communication inside a classroom. Language shapes thoughts and emotions, determining one’s perception of reality (Benjamin Whorf) and described as the “light of the mind" (John Stuart Mill) hence choosing what kind of language in teaching is an important aspect a nation should consider. However, for various developing countries, which are characterized by societal multilingualism, language is a major predicament in conveying an effective communication in teaching. According to UNESCO, ethnic and linguistic minority people face obstacles to access quality basic education. This leads to high illiteracy rates and a poor quality of life. It is also a threat to the survival of their language and culture. The Philippines is one of those developing countries that undergo a serious crisis in bringing a quality basic education because of multilingualism. According to TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study), the Philippines skip the 2007 and 2008 TIMSS tests because of the latest result which come out scoring only 355 compare to the international average of 500 and placing the country third from the bottom together with Morocco and South Africa in Mathematics and fifth from the bottom in Science. Moreover, the 2008 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey results report that five million elementary graduates have no comprehension skills, as well as another 5.2 million of the 12.8 million students who reach high school. Similarly three out of 10 Filipinos do not understand what they are reading. These results reflect that multilingualism is a grave threat in bringing an excellent quality of basic education to every Filipino student. Recognizing and responding to diversity is a key principle for quality education (UNESCO, 2008). International and local linguists, education advisors, lawmakers including former and recent Department of Education secretaries are pushing the Mother Tongue Based – Multilingual Education Program (MTB – MLE). MTB – MLE program use the learner’s first language, known as L1, to teach beginning reading and writing skills along with academic content (Benson, 2004) and gradually introduces second or third languages as subjects, transferring if necessary to the second language of instruction after at least six years (Aliduo, 2006). This educational program is being push for the reason that it provides a venue for students to acquire knowledge and clear understanding in a language they are comfortable with. According to Pinnock (2007) children build up a strong conceptual picture of the world and academic concepts through a language they understand first, and later on transfer that to a second or third language. In relation to that, bilingual as opposed to monolingual schooling offers significant pedagogical advantages which have been reported consistently in the academic literature (Baker 2001; Cummins 2000; CAL 2001). There is growing evidence from across Africa, Latin America and Asia that MTB – MLE program is the most appropriate solution for children who do not use national or international languages in their home life (Thomas and Collier, 1997; Benson, 2006). Furthermore, there is clear evidence that good quality MTB – MLE works, resulting in substantial efficiency savings to the education system and leading to better learning competencies and...