ENG 13 WFU4 – Draft 1 – BRICIA Essay


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Eng 13 WFU4

MTB-MLE Implementation: A Solution or a Complication?

With the numerous attempts of improving the educational system specifically the learning mechanism of every student, one of the most radical steps taken by the Philippine Government is the nationwide implementation of Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) which is vastly enacted and is also seen as a global trend. This caught not just the attention of the developing countries but everyone else. Studies from the different borders of the world have proven that the reform is an effective way of producing functionally literate individuals that will further lead to achieving high quality of life.

However, in the local context, the view of MTB-MLE program as a “brave yet risky approach” for enhancement of the system intertwined with ambiguities and conflicts is the dominating notion.

Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) is a national language policy constitutionalized by the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Philippines.

This was realized through the Republic Act 10533, also known as the “Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013?. Specifically, it is stipulated on the Section 5 of the aforementioned mandate that “the curriculum shall adhere to the principles and framework of Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) which starts from where the learners are and from what they already knew proceeding from the known to the unknown”.

In Asia, the MTB-MLE is referred to as either the students’ use of the native language and two other languages as Language of Instruction (LoI) or the bilingual education in which students use the official language of instruction of the school and in addition, their community’s mother tongue. Among South Asian countries with non-dominant language communities, the use of multiple language for learning is common while other countries use four languages which include the first or native language, regional language, national language, and international language (Malone, 2007).

There have been multiple researches across the world strengthening the claim that students learn and absorb concepts better through the use of native language. This is because of the cumulative efforts of every state to venture on new vistas that will help them resolve even the smallest problems of their educational system up to the largest ones to provide more meaningful learning experience to everyone. From the case studies done by B?hmann and Trudell (2007), it can be noted that on four different countries specifically Mali, Papua New Guinea, Peru and United States, their findings regarding the use of native language as Medium of Instruction (MoI) showed positive results on the educational outcomes. There was superior academic achievement among students in the mother tongue-based bilingual education program when compared to those students of the monolingual second-language program.

In addition, Cummins (1979) found out that the use of the native language as the primary medium of instruction throughout the primary school lessens the chances of the suffering of students from learning an additional or a secondary language just like the international language and lingua franca. This is further supported by the study of Verhoeven (1994) revealing that cognitive and linguistic foundation for learning additional languages can be developed through fluency and literacy of the mother tongue.

Moreover, Bialystok (2001), Francis, Lesaux & August (2006), and King & Mackey (2007) highlighted in their studies the earlier and better development of metalinguistic awareness and cognitive flexibility among students who used their first language as the medium of instruction throughout their primary school as compared to monolingual students. As a result, all of these endeavors will be of great contribution in developing more strategic and sustainable means for enhancement of the educational system. Various findings can be used to find ways in addressing the difficulties encountered by students.

Despite the overwhelming results that suggest how ideal it is to take such trailblazing action on the academic aspect of a certain state, many people still face the dilemma of whether or not the country is suitable for the reform. Being on the 12th spot on the world rankings of the most multilingual countries in accordance to atlasandboots.com (2015), there exists the fear of having this solution to rather cause much complication. On its seventh year of implementation in the Philippines, many researchers uttered that the revolutionary change made in the system has brought a number of confusions and problems to its stakeholders.

For an instance, Cruz (2015) argued in her study that the implementation of mother tongue as instructional base and learning subject brought two major conflicts among the Grade I teachers in Pangasinan which are attendance to relevant trainings and the provision of evaluation instruments accordingly. In a similar study of Aggabao et al. (2018), results showed that the teacher respondents have faced moderate difficulty on the preparation of learning tasks, curriculum guide and availability as well as adaptation of MTB-MLE facilities.

Moreover, Lartec et al. (2014) has similarities on the findings of an online article published by Ordinario (2019) which stated that teaching materials and expertise in the school’s medium of instruction are some of the serious problems being faced by the teachers or the administration per se.

Burton (2013) discussed that short-term benefits like the increase in students’ understanding and long-term disadvantages like the difficulty in transition from primary language to secondary language of the MTB-MLE policy are the two dominating views among parents and teachers.

In addition, Aguja et al. (2018) found out that teachers still resort to using English language which is L3 to discuss mathematical terminologies, since they have difficulty in translating mathematical terms using the mother tongue (L1) and/or Filipino language (L2) to translate such words.

With the presence of adverse impacts, the stakeholders should firmly adhere and make extra effort in achieving the MTB-MLE’s cause. It may be true that in the global context, MTB-MLE brought dire positive consequences. Though some may argue that in one way or another, the educational system that we have is doing great leaps in preserving the country’s culture, the administration should corroborate steps that it deems can enhance the implementation of this national policy. The issue now is not simply abiding to the information of the best practice strategies in MTB-MLE, but looking for tweaks to have let this cause be a solution to the country’s system complications.


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