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Parents’ Perspectives Towards Teaching Mother-Tongue Based

Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) subject of Grade 3 pupils


in Bucalan Elementary School, Hinabangan Samar
Ma. Princes F. Pacaol
Antonia Vargas Salino School Foundation Inc. (AVSSFI)
princespacaol@gmail.com
09090708256/09053611958

Abstract

This study explored the perspectives of parents in teaching the Mother-Tongue Based
Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) subject of Grade 3 pupils in Bucalan Elementary School,
Hinabangan, Samar. Respondents were eight parents of the Grade 3 pupils. The research design
employed was qualitative to gain insights, explore the depth, richness and complexity inherent in
the social or cultural phenomenon. Data were gathered from interviews and interview guide based
on Patton (1990). Responses were transcribed and categorized into themes according to similarities
pertaining to the teaching of MTB-MLE. It was found that there were factors affecting the teaching
of MTB-MLE namely, language, social values and attitude. Suggestions from parents’
perspectives derived from the responses and were converted into a plan of writing modules for the
MTB-MLE done by the classroom teachers in the Samar Division to be conducted and reproduced
by the DepEd. The findings could give educators in public elementary institutions and other
teachers a plan to consider.

Keywords
MTB-MLE, mother-tongue, parents’ perspectives

Introduction

The cultural and linguistic diversity in the Philippines brings much complexity to the issue
of language policy in education (Lewis, Simons, & Fennig, 2013). With this, the Philippines offers
a challenging environment for implementing a language policy that can serve the whole country.
In 2009, the Department of Education (DepEd) challenged the Bilingual Education Policy by
issuing an order that called for institutionalization of mother tongue based multilingual education
(MTB-MLE). This order requires use of the learners’ first language as the medium of instruction
for all subject areas in pre-kindergarten through grade three with Filipino and English being taught
as separate subjects (Philippines Department of Education, 2009).

One of the changes in Basic Education Curriculum brought about by the new K-12
program is the introduction of Mother Tongue- Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE)
specifically in Kindergarten, Grades 1, 2 and 3 to support the goal of “ Every Child- A- Reader
and A –Writer” by Grade 1.”

MTB-MLE refers to “first-language-first” education that is, schooling which begins in the
mother tongue and transitions to additional languages particularly Filipino and English. It is meant
to address the high functional illiteracy of Filipinos where language plays a significant factor.
Since the child’s own language enables her/ him to express him/herself easily, then, there is no
fear of making mistakes. It encourages active participation by children in the learning process
because they understand what is being discussed and what is being asked of them. They can
immediately use their mother tongue to construct and explain their world, articulate their thoughts
and add new concepts to what they already know.

The uncontrollable change explains well the transformation that defines education, not only
in United States but also in countries throughout the world (Rappleye, 2012) that initiates
innovative programs beginning instruction in children’s first language (Dutcher, 2004). Nepal is
an example of a country that favors mother tongue as instructional medium in early grades and
gradual transition to the languages of wider communication (Ghimire, 2011).

In the Philippines, educational progress gave birth to the implementation of the K to 12


Educational Program. The Department of Education (DepEd) implemented the Mother-tongue
Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) program as a significant part of DepEd’s K to 12
Enhanced Basic Education program (Dumlao, 2012).

In 2009, Leyte Normal University (LNU) commissioned the study entitled Acoustic
Properties of Waray Vowels (Oyzon,Villas, & Ramos, 2010). It aims to settle the major source of
confusion in the writing of Waray vowels e and i and vowels o and u. In the following years a
series of consultations with DepEd teachers, writers, students and the media were conducted: first,
was in August 26, 2010 at LNU; second, was on May 17, 2011 at LNU. In 2012, the booklet
An Bag-o nga Ortograpiya han Winaray (Oyzon, Ramos, & Nolasco, 2012) was issued by Leyte
Normal University and was institutionalized by DepEd Region 8.

The study helps to emphasize that point of views and personal opinions of parents plays an
important role in finding out how teaching the of MTB-MLE subject supports pupils’ learning
experiences relative to the development for holistic education. This study is important for the
researcher to have insights and further understanding on how parents help in the development of
pupils’ education especially in the teaching of MTB-MLE subject.
This study attempts to determine the perspectives of parents of the Grade 3 pupils towards
teaching MTB-MLE subject in Bucalan Elementary School, Hinabangan, Samar. Specifically, this
aimed to answer the following questions: (1) What are the thoughts, point of views, and personal
opinions of the parents of grade 3 pupils in teaching MTB-MLE subject?; (2) What are the benefits
and learning opportunities does teaching MTB-MLE subject bring to the pupils? and; (3) How can
parents’ point of views and personal opinions enrich pupils’ holistic development education
regarding the teaching of MTB-MLE subject?

Theoretical and Conceptual Framework


This study is based on the language learning theory as stated by Postman (1996) reiterates
that language is a mediating tool in any learning and teaching process. Language learning is not a
discrete discipline unconnected from all other learning. Hence, language learning in school is
crucial for academic growth toward the pedestal of pedagogical hierarchy. The language of
academic discourses and knowledge content of any one subject are closely interconnected.
Language plays a significant role in determining the medium of instruction in teaching
MTB-MLE subject. It permits pupils to interact with words, images, and ideas in ways that develop
their abilities in reading, listening, viewing, speaking, and writing. Pupils will comprehend more
if they know or understand the language.

Related Literature
The emerging of language policy is considered as a new academic field since 1960s. MTB-
MLE policy in the Philippines is one of the consideration of this evolution of language policy with
this, the participation of parents in MTB-MLE in local communities plays a significant role to
enable to do well on how to coordinate efforts, exchange information, and engage in joint decision-
making with the school teachers (Hedeen et al., 2010). Parents share the goal of helping children
learn and feel successful. It is known that parental involvement as an integral part of the
educational process has received little or no attention in teacher training programs (Yap & Enoki,
1995). In addition, as stated in the study of Thomas and Collier (2011), the involvement of parents
in school development is important. Parents of pupils in multilingual school systems “feel
welcomed, valued, respected, and included in school decision-making.” In Quigley’s study (2000)
found that it is beneficial for parents to be involved in their pupil’s education.
By starting with the language that pupils speaks at home, the gap in understanding can be
bridged better and easier. This option gives minority students a chance to learn in their own
language, thus increasing their chance of better understanding and more enjoyable learning
(Espada, 2012). Hence, elementary pupils can better absorb lessons (Garbes, 2012). Therefore,
parents should make the foundation of their children better in order for them to be good speakers
of their first language which is useful in the MTB-MLE subject. Parents are expected to be good
role models in shaping the first language of their children.

This study focuses on the point of views or opinions of parents regarding the teaching of
MTB-MLE subject, the benefits and learning opportunities that it brings to the pupils, and how
can parents’ point of views and personal opinions enrich pupils’ holistic development education
regarding the teaching of MTB-MLE subject?
This study was conducted on April-May, 2017.

Methodology
This study utilized the case study qualitative approach. It engaged in data gathering through
interviews. Qualitative approach is employed to gain insights, explore the depth, richness and
complexity inherent in the social or cultural phenomenon (Ospina, 2004). It creates understanding
from data as the analysis proceeds.
This study was conducted in Bucalan Elementary School, Hinabangan, Samar. The place
is occupied by Waraynon residents. Waray-waray is the dialect spoken by the people but they can
also speak in Filipino and some in English.
The participants were the parents of 8 grade 3 pupils. The researcher interviewed 8 parents
from the barangay. The parents were purposively selected as they actively participate in guiding
their children especially having a collaborative work with the teachers in teaching their children.
To gather the data and information needed in the study, a semi-structured in-depth
interview was used (Patton, 1990). The key questions asked are as follows: Who are your children
who’s a grade 3 pupil? What are the language(s) do the pupils speak at home? What is the status
of the pupil’s language? Are the teacher also a native speaker from their own community? Are you
satisfied with the teaching of MTB-MLE subject? Do you have the schedule of asking the teacher
if your child do well inside the classroom during MTB-MLE subject? Do you consider MTB-MLE
subject a helpful field to the development of your child?
Parents who expressed interest and willingness were scheduled for an interview based on
their availability. The respondents are well informed about the purpose of the interview and the
importance of their participation. To ensure clarity and well conversation, all the respondents were
interviewed in their comfort locations. The interviews were conducted in the language that they
were comfortable with to express their point of views and personal opinions well.

Results and Discussion


Through the thickness and richness of the descriptions of the collected responses from the
parent participants, three interesting themes emerged relative to the teaching of MTB-MLE
subject. These include (a) language, (b) social values and (c) attitude.
The language
The parents considered Waray-waray language as the most convenient medium of
instruction used inside the classroom. It helps the pupils to understand more the lessons well. To
be able for the pupils to understand the language they should accept the reality of being the owner
of it.
Respondent 1. “Our children prefers to use mother-tongue at home and school to make
their communication skill well-enhanced and achieved the holistic development of education
specifically with the teaching of MTB-MLE subject.”

Respondent 2. “We use Waray-waray as our mother-tongue at home for it helps us to


express our ideas and thoughts especially in communicating to other members of the family.”

The social values


Social values were found to be a means of expressing oneself. As cited by Wilkinson
(2010), those who possess strong social values tend to be termed as “social entrepreneurs” – a
spiritually, and ethically based individual who seeks the common good in order to create
sustainability for both people and planet (Muscat & Whitty, 2009). In relation to this, most parents
mentioned the same ideas on the importance of sharing social values to the pupils/children.
Respondent 3. “Social values is essential for self-expression to easily communicate to their
classmates to what they want to say or even with what they feel without hesitation and they know
how to participate in school”.
Hence, self-expression is very beneficial for pupils to learn to communicate their ideas as
well as their feelings especially toward the new day-to-day lessons brought by mother tongue.
Moreover, active interaction inside the classroom is anticipated, as it filters, pupils’ anxiousness
toward the lesson and helps them to gain confident when interacting with others.
Furthermore, through the self-expression acts, individuals make their private thoughts and
feelings concrete, tangible and socially recognizable and having freedom to speak one’s mind
symbolizes one’s ultimate freedom to be one’s self (Kim & Sherman, 2007).
On the other hand, parents’ perspective stated that sharing social values to their children
develop them to be good children such as being responsible, respectful, well disciplined, and God
fearing, as stated:
Respondent 2, 3, and 5. “…boosts their communication skills in expressing their thoughts
and feelings”;
Respondent 4, 1, and 3. “It is their way of socializing with their co-pupils”;
Respondent 1, 4, 6, 7, and 8. “They are being developed holistically”.
Accordingly, self-expression values make people supportive of individual liberty and
human rights. Self-expression values have an anti-discriminatory and humanistic tendency. Thus,
this gives these values a largely pro-civic character (Ahmadi & Shahmohadi, 2011).
The attitude
Starting students with mother-tongue language can help them to learn and respect their
language and culture first and then respect the other cultures around them. According to Hovens
(2003) and Walter and Dekker (2011) for a successful mother-tongued based instruction in the
classroom, the attitude of the school community towards it is very significant. From the interview,
most of the parents said that their children have a positive attitude towards the role of mother-
tongue.

Conclusions and Recommendations


This study reflected the importance of language, social values, and attitude. It helped to
clarify that with the help of the parents using the mother-tongue of the pupils inside the classroom
enhances their ability on communicating well to other people around them as stated, “Parents share
the goal of helping children learn and feel successful. It is known that parental involvement as an
integral part of the educational process has received little or no attention in teacher training
programs (Yap & Enoki, 1995). In addition, as stated in the study of Thomas and Collier (2011),
the involvement of parents in school development is important. Parents of pupils in multilingual
school systems “feel welcomed, valued, respected, and included in school decision-making.” In
Quigley’s study (2000) found that it is beneficial for parents to be involved in their pupil’s
education.”
However, given the study site, the findings may not reflect the experiences and perspectives
of all parents locally or internationally. Nonetheless, this study surfaced trends worthy of further
investigation and ended with a view of increasing administrators, educators and parents’ awareness
and improving teaching and learning in a multilingual classroom towards a quality education.
The study revealed the importance of using the mother-tongue of the pupils in the
classroom to achieve the holistic development of education. The advice is that the classroom
teachers should be encouraged to write the modules for the MTB-MLE in the Samar Division to
be conducted and reproduced by the DepEd.

Acknowledgement
This paper was written with the support and inspiration of Dr. Generoso N. Mazo, Ms.
Janet M. Lomentigar, and Mr. Edwin W. Flores.

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