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This chapter presents the different related literature and studies that helped explain the
concepts related to the present studies.
Mathematics plays a vital role in the life of man. Every citizen should acquire
competence and development of power in quantitative thinking and in the use of mathematical
procedure in daily living (Justo, 1999). In teaching mathematics, one should consider that a child
has his own rate and way of learning and growing. Therefore, the selection of mathematical
experience in numbers, measurement and form should be considered in every grade level in
terms of the child’s needs, abilities and interests (Tamondong,2006).Teachers and other
mathematics educators generally believe that children learn more when they are interested in
what they are learning (Angel, 2001). To sustain this interest, the teacher should teach the subject
in the language familiar to the learner. Teachers may be skilled with the strategies but failure to
utilize them in the classroom means losing the opportunity to find mathematics a place in the
hearts of every learner (Seras,2009). Selecting and using curricular materials, appropriate
instructional tools ,techniques and effective medium of instruction to support learning are actions
good teachers take every day ( Canonizado, 2009).
Many students avoid Mathematics not because of addition, subtraction, multiplication
and division but because of the complexities of problem solving (Reyes, 2010). Though problem
solving and its application one develops the necessary skills to find solutions or answers to any
question, such skill is not limited to solving mathematics problem alone. It is universal skill that
could be used in any aspects of living ( Magbag, 2010).
Solving worded problems is the common activity to facilitate and maximize learning in
mathematics. Most learners experience difficulties in unlocking worded problems and queries
because learners experience difficulties in understanding, interpreting and communicating these
problem because they are not well versed in the language use as the medium of instruction. So
teachers may also work on language-based aspect of Math to help learners understand terms and
relationship between numbers and the words describing them ( Ureta, 2009).
Problem-solving must be part of the teacher’s instructional function. They should
consider it as a commitment and complimentary to the teaching-learning process. The more the
students are able to represent a problem in context, in concrete or real-world phenomena, the
better able the students are to solve the problem ( Castillion, 2000).
The learner’s own language enable him to immediately construct and explain the world
without fear of making mistakes, articulate his thoughts and add new concepts of what he already
know (Dillupac-Romero, 2010). There is one thing that the teacher should consider, for learners
to understand concepts and skills, it is imperative for the learners to discuss and share their ideas,
however, this is not possible especially if a foreign language is used as a medium of instruction
Furthermore, it is believed that learners create and construct meaning base on their experiences
and use their first language in understanding and processing ideas ( Pawilen, 2010).Learners
speak better, hence think better, in the language they are familiar with ( Ibe, 2010).
The advocacy of every teacher is to direct learning in answering practical problems by
applying what they have learned in solving problem they encounter in their daily life. To realize
this endeavor means using an effective medium of instruction to optimize learning, in this case, it
will be the use of multilingual approach in teaching. In response to this call, the House of
Representative came up with the House Bill No. 3719 also known as “Multilingual Education
and Literacy Act of 2008”, sponsored by Hon. Gunigundo I. Magtanggol. Section 4 of the said
bill states that the medium of instruction (MOI) in the school curriculum shall be : a.) the child’s
first language shall be the primary medium of instruction in all subjects from pre-school up to the
end of the child’s elementary education. In concurrence to this, the Department of Education,
through Dep.Ed. Secretary Jesli Lapuz, issued Dep.Ed Order No. 74,s. 2009, herein after referred
to as Multilingual Education ( MLE) or the effective use of more than two languages for literacy
and instruction. Henceforth, it shall be institutionalized as a fundamental educational policy and
program in the Department in the whole stretch of formal education including pre-school and in
Alternative Learning System ( ALS).
Last July 14, 2009, the Department of Education changed its fundamental education
policy from the old “ bilingual” set-up to an MTBMLE one. President Benigno Aquino has
wisely included the rationalization of the medium of instruction in his 10-point agenda for
education. According to him, we should learn English to connect ourselves to the world, Filipino
to connect ourselves to the country, and our own mother tongue to connect ourselves to our
Undoubtedly, mathematics plays a significant role in our society. It makes the world
move because of the mathematical processes, skills and concepts that contribute to our
environment. It is in this view that teaching mathematics and solving worded problems must be
given a practical approach that is, using first language- based instruction – multilingual teaching
approach ( Ferrer, 2010).

The mother tongue is typically the first language of the child and the language of the
home. Mother tongue education implies a linguistically homogenous community, a teacher who
speaks this language, and curriculum materials in the mother tongue. Multilingual education is
used primarily as a synonym for bilingual education. The proponents of the MLE stress that
second language acquisition component is see as a two way bridge, such that learners gain the
ability to move back and forth between their mother tongue and to the other tongues. The overall
objectives of MLE in Japan is to develop in pupils the ability to properly express and accurately
comprehend the language, to increase the ability to communicate, to develop the ability to think
and imagine and sense of language, to deepen interest in the language and to develop an attitude
or sense of respect for the language. MLE in the sense underscores the importance of the child’s
world view in shaping his or her learning. Children who come to school with a solid foundation
in their mother tongue develop stronger literacy abilities in the school. When children continue
to develop their abilities in two or more languages throughout their primary school years, they
gain deeper understanding of language and how to use it effectively ( Takemura, 2010).
According to Murcia (2006), in the Nine Twentieth- Century Approaches to Language
Teaching, instruction is given in the native tongue of the students. A typical exercise is to
translate sentences from the target language into the mother tongue. The teacher must be a native
speaker or have native –like proficiency in the target language. In this way, learners will learn
easily when instructions or lessons are given in the language very familiar to them.
Learning to solve problems is the principal reason for studying mathematics (Bennet,
2004).Applying the concept of MLE in teaching mathematics and understanding and solving
worded problems, this helps unlock the difficulties in learning mathematics as a subject.
According to George Polya ,as cited by Bennet( 2004), one of the foremost twentieth
century mathematicians, he devoted much of his teaching in helping students become better
problem solvers. In his book “ How to Solve It”, he outlines the following four-step process for
solving problems as follows: a.) understanding the problem b.) devising a plan c.) carrying out
the plan d.) looking back. He placed emphasis on understanding the problem, thus if one fails to
understand the given problem surely he will not be able to come up with a solution. To do this, it
is therefore necessary for a learner to understand and interpret the problem in a language familiar
to him, thus the multilingual approach.
On the same premise, Englander ( 2002) advocated collaborative learning emphasizing
interaction using two- set skills 1.) overall management covering when and how to take the lead,
how to motivate someone to speak and how to keep a conversation going and 2.) negotiating
meaning or making sure that communicants understand each other. Applying these concepts in
solving worded problems in mathematics, it is therefore imperative that the communicants, the
teacher and the learners, must share the same language in order to establish connection and to
effectively relay the message the best way possible. In that case, teaching is facilitated and
learning will be optimized.
The use of MLE approach in solving word problems in mathematics will definitely solve
the problem on lack of understanding and comprehension in the subject, since vernaculars or
languages known to the learners, will be used to facilitate teaching(

Problem solving is an essential facet in the elementary mathematics instruction. The
importance is based on the fact that solving problem is a basic mental skill which is essential to
all learning. He further stressed that vocabulary mathematical concepts and the mastery of the
fundamental concepts are critical problems of the teachers. The findings shows that pupils cannot
solve word problems if they lack vocabulary and have not mastered the four fundamental
operations which are basic in the skill for word problem solving. Pupils could hardly translate
word phrase into a mathematical symbol which is a needed skill in solving word problems. Their
problem solving ability is affected by poor analysis and comprehension ( Avinlug, 1999).
Through problem solving and its applications, one develops the necessary skills to find
solutions or answers to any question. Such skill is not limited to solving mathematics problems
alone. It is a universal skill that could be used in any aspect of living ( Magbag, 2010).
Language was found very useful when mathematical symbols and operations are used in
many ways as possible, when the explanation and lectures are delivered in simple words and
statement and when direction are brief and concise. Thus, “grade IV pupils perceived it very
useful to find appropriate language in the delivery of mathematics subjects” ( Catabay, 2008).
In the study conducted by Maria Teresa Arboleda ( 2005), “Solving Word Problems in
Mathematics: An evaluation”, she stressed that solving worded problems is not easy to acquire.
Careful analyses and interpretation are keys to successful problem solving. But how can one
analyze and interpret the problem if he finds it difficult to understand the language used.
Understanding and familiarity of the language used as a medium comes first before interpretation
and solving the problem. Failure to meet the latter means failure to accomplish the former.
Absolutely language is a tool to learning. Multilingual approach indeed is the key to
achieve better understanding of Mathematics as a subject, to view it as an interesting subject
contrary to the common notion that Mathematics seems to be the toughest subject for our young
learners and a subject perceived as the most difficult among the core subjects ( Magbag, 2010).