Thursday, September 30, 2010

Teaching Of Mother Tongue As Medium Of Instruction In Schools Should Start Now

Teaching Of Mother Tongue In Schools As Medium Of Instruction Should Start Now

By Quirico M. Gorpido,Jr.

Maasin City, Southern Leyte-I have been reading series of articles written by Neni Sta. Romana Cruz,Butch Fernandez, ,Ricardo Ma.Duran Nolasco and Atty. Manuel Faelnar regarding the teaching of Mother Tongues as the medium of instruction in different schools in the entire country which found to be effective for the low graders as beginners. Their articles were separately published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Except for the Atty.Faelnar’s articles that can be read only in the internet, the first three writers’ works were published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on various dates, the latest of which was an article written by UP Professor Ricardo Ma.Duran Nolasco of the Department of Lingulstics, UP, Diliman, Quezon City entitled “Why Children Learn Better By Using Mother Tongue”, published Sept. 11, 2010 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

I feel and I sense that the articles that I have read in this new approach of our educational system are quite enough. The articles on the effectiveness of teaching the low graders in their respective mother Tongues are strong proofs that this is indeed the effective way that schoolchildren can learn more easily than using other language as initial way of learning some knowledge in schools.

Our educators must now be insistent and persistent whoever is the setting Education Secretary, to start implementing these new findings based on series of surveys conducted in different areas. Budget should be set aside for the Secretary of Education for the start of training teachers for the teaching of the Mother Tongues in various areas of the archipelago.

Writers in different local tongues and linguists must be hired to write manuals or modules that suits the needs of the young minds of grade-schoolers in public schools. There’s no need to dilly-dally this particular project. Grammar books in various Mother Tongues should also be written now for use in teaching the Mother Tongue as subject also in all school levels in accordance with its predominance in different regions of the country.

Educator in the entire country must act now as well to ensure that the Multi-Lingual Based Education could start implementing next year whenever possible. The positive survey results on using the Mother Tongue as medium of instruction are more than enough to inspired and persuade our current Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luisitro to support this new measure for the good of our grader students. Blocking this radical change in our education system by any subtle or esoteric means is tantamount to ignoring the demand for the more practical way of teaching our school children in the language they inherently learned from their parents and forebears.

In fact this discovery is also adoptable and applicable to all private schools nationwide. Not only in the grade schools but also in high school and college levels. Meaning our respective Mother Tongues as one of the medium of instructions, being additional subjects in schools and universities is imperative in improving and enhancing our local languages among its speakers and writers and in our individual communication towards our fellow provincemates.To boot, I have been observing that some local speakers in the Cebuano language could not even construct correct sentences in their own Mother Tongue. I think, my observation is also true to native speakers of other languages of other groups of Filipinos in the country.

Consider the English language, which is now accepted universally as the international language by every industrialized and non-industrialized nations, due to the constant use of this medium among speakers, the English language is so much alive and growing from years to years.

If you are a reader of this medium, you can perceive the various ways of expressing an idea or ideas in this living medium among writers in this language. Read the works of great writers and you will see and notice how they wave their words into lively and spirited sentences and dialogues, picturing even some scenes that will transport your imagination into the frontiers of reality.

Try also to read the works of well-known Filipino writers in English like Karina Polutan,Simon Dumdum,Jr.,Jose Garcia Villa,Gregorio Brilliantes,Nick Joaquin also known as Quijano de Manila,Teodoro Locsin,Jr.,works of Filipino essayists/novelists,Edilberto Tiempo who hails from Southern Leyte,Editha Tiempo,his wife; Og Mandino,Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Graham Green, Guy de Mapaussant,Nathaniel Hawthorne,Willam Wardsworth Longfellow, among other American, British and Filipino writers and poets.

Their kind of writings is the strong proof that it is only by patronizing, nurturing and constantly using our respective languages or Mother Tongues in the country and to make it as additional subject in all school levels that we can improve it, sustain it, cherish it and intellectualize it. This is actually what the native English speakers and writers are constantly and persistently doing .Equally, this instinctive act is what the Filipinos who write in English and Tagalog writers and speakers are dong as well.

If the English language and the Tagalog language were and are used as other subjects in all school levels from generations to generations now, why can’t our respective Mother Tongues also? Like the Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Waray-Waray, Bicolano, Ilocano, Pampango, Pangasinese, Ibanag and among other languages in the entire archipelago.

If the Tagalog-speaking people in Luzon island have the right to make their language as subject in all schools up to college, why can’t ours also? If they have this right or privilege, then as Filipinos like them with diverse cultures, we also have our right to make our predominant languages in the whole Philippines as subject in regions where these languages are prevalent or prevailing. We have to accept the reality that Filipinos are of diverse cultures and that each group of Filipinos should and must respect and treat each other’s languages with equality and fairness, and no one language should dominate us. Our educators throughout the country who have the influence must exert our rights on this regard since our respective languages is our cultures and our identities.”Without our language”, Iceland Presidential Adviser Ornolfo Thorsson reminds us, “we have no culture, we have no identity and we are nothing”. Another linguistics teacher, Kenneth Hale stressed:”When we lose a language we lose a culture, an intellectual wealth, a work of art”. Shall our educators in this nation of diverse cultures would allow this to happen? Will any group of Filipinos allow his own inherent language to vanish in the air just like a steam? We must use our respective languages always in our speaking and in writing towards our fellow provincemates.Why should we talk or write in Tagalog towards our fellow provincemates when we have our own inherent languages under our command? We should only use Tagalog to other group of Filipinos who cannot understand our own language. But if they can also understand Cebuano, then talk to them in Cebuano. If your language is Ilocano and the other group of Filipinos you have met can understand Ilocano, then talk to them also in Ilocano. That is not bad at all. This is the correct and proper way to patronize, promote and cherish our respective languages in the Philippines. To the educated Filipinos, we can also talk to them in the English language. Every educated Filipinos should have the English Language as their second language, because it is a universal language and they must know how to write and speak in this language.

Avoiding speaking in other language like Tagalog, does not intellectually mean that we deride this language. That’s a Big No, my friend. It’s far from it. Remember that the suggestion that I’m proposing herein is a positive reaction to Sir Nolasco’s above-mentioned article concerning the importance of using the Mother Tongue as the medium of instruction in the grade schools in every region of this diverse cultures’ country which is not demandingly encompassing, unlike the Tagalog. Our intention for such kind of implementation is only by regions. This is base only in Cebuano-speaking people, Ilocano-speaking people, Bicolano-speaking people, Waray-Waray- speaking people, the Hiligaynon-speaking people, Manobo-speaking people, the Ibanag-speaking people and the like. Unlike the teaching of the Tagalog language as subject is demandingly encompassing. Like your language, we and other groups of Filipinos, want also that our respective Mother Tongues be made into as subjects in schools. I repeat, the suggestion here exclude the Tagalog-speaking regions in Luzon. Similarly, this is also with the purpose of making our respective peoples to learn to improve and enhance the use of our respective languages in speaking and in writing like what I have said earlier in this article. The Tagalog people have greatly improved already in their use of theTagalog language and we want also to achieve the same thing with ours.Likewise,we should read materials(articles,news stories,features,commentaries,poems,short stories,etc.) written in our respective Mother Tongues.This is aside from reading English and Tagalog works/materials. Similarly,we are also strongly encouraging writers in various tongues(languages)in the country to write in their respective Mother Tongues so that diverse groups of Filipinos can have available materials/works to read for pleasure,information and entertainment.

On the same vein, any setting Education Secretary should likewise respect this inherent desire of other groups of Filipinos and should avoid any step that would block the implementation of our respective Mother Tongues as subjects in all levels in schools from the primary up to college. I repeat, Grammar books should also be written now by writers in our various respective Mother Tongues for use in schools as subject-from the elementary, high school and up to the college level.

A law should also be enacted in Congress that would prohibit/disallow any setting President of the Republic, Education Secretary or any high government official of whatever position to abolish or phase out such a law in the aforesaid approach of our Education System.

The immediate implementation of Mother Tongues as medium of instruction in all gradeschoolers in the country as provided in our Constitution thru Mother Tongue Multilingual Education must be enforced as early as possible.

Reiterately, the positive results of the surveys conducted in various pilot schools in the country on Mother Tongue as the medium of instruction should serve as the foundation to build our intense desire to make this approach into a reality.

The realization of this collective objective should be indefinitely sustained and maintained by our educators in the country who have possessed and equally love and cherish their own distinct languages. And that the teaching of Mother Tongue as additional subject in all school levels-from the primary up to college should perpetuate from generations to generations of Filipino learners and students akin to that of the English and Tagalog subjects that have gained a foothold in our Education System. (Quirico M. Gorpido,Jr.)

(N>B> Read also two related articles on Mother Tongue instruction or MLE- based teaching entitled "Leveling The Field" by Butch Hernandez,Philippine Daily Inquirer,Oct. 30,2010 issue,page PDI's Opinion section and also on PDI's Nov. 20,2010 or Nov.13,2010 issue page A15 entitled "You Only Learn To Read Once" by Butch Hernandez. email

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