Issues on Mother Tongue as a medium of Instruction
These changes in curricular content and focus emanate from the bill’s intention to do away with the bilingual policy and to affirm mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTB-MLE). The bill provides that for kindergarten and from Grades 1-3, the regional or native language of the learners shall be used for instruction, teaching materials and testing. From Grades 4-6, there shall be a language transition plan so that Filipino and English are gradually introduced until these languages can become the primary modes of instruction in high school. The transition plan addresses a critical flaw in DepEd Order No. 16, which limits L1 use up to Grade 3 only. Research has shown that “short exit” schemes lead to the same disastrous academic results as complete immersion in a second language (L2) that learners cannot speak. The other laudable provisions of the bill are:
1. The science subject will now be introduced in Grade 1, instead of in Grade 3. This subject will also be taught in the L1 of the learners, and not in English. In the past, some people had this silly notion that by integrating science into the language subject, pupils will learn English. A legacy of the old bilingual policy, this idea has been repeatedly disproven by the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study that found students had higher achievement when the home language and language of testing were one and the same. 2. The basic curriculum shall be adapted locally to the language and culture of Filipino learners, including community values, to aid teachers in planning their lessons. This principle hews closely to DepEd’s newly formulated policy framework for indigenous peoples which integrates indigenous knowledge systems and practices in all learning areas and processes. 3. The production and development of locally produced teaching materials shall be encouraged and approval of these materials shall devolve to the regional and...
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