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Basic Terminologies

Mother tongue – means one’s native

language, the language learned by
children and passed from one generation
to the next.
Language – is the expression of ideas by
means of speech-sounds combined into
L1 – 1st Language
L2 – 2nd Language
Bilingual – the use of two
Multilingual – the use of two or
more languages.
Diversity – the inclusion of different
types of people in a group.
Literacy – the ability to read and
The languages considered by DepEd in
its MTB-MLE implementation:

1. Iloko 7. Hiligaynon
2. Pangasinan 8. Cebuano
3. Kapampangan 9. Meranao
4. Tagalog 10. Chavacano
5. Bikol 11.Maguindanaon
6. Waray 12. Tausug
Purpose of MTB-MLE
To develop appropriate cognitive and
reasoning skills enabling children to
operate equally in different languages –
starting in the mother tongue with
transition to Filipino and then English and
to preserve the Philippine cultural
treasure as well.
What are the benefits of MTB-
Reduced drop-out
Reduced repetition
Children are attending school.
Children are learning.
Parents and community are involved.
If the mother tongue is not used:

-Loss of confidence of students in

themselves as learners.
-Inability to learn the official school
language well.
-High repetition and drop-out rates.
-Alienation from heritage language and
culture, from parents and community.
-Loss of languages, cultures and of
knowledge systems.
UNESCO’s Three (3) Principles Of
Education In Multilingual World
Principle 1
UNESCO supports mother tongue
instruction as a means of improving
educational quality by building upon the
knowledge and experience of the learners
and teachers.
UNESCO’s Three (3) Principles Of
Education In Multilingual World
Principle 2
UNESCO supports bilingual and/or
multilingual education at all levels of
education as a means of promoting both
social and gender equality and as a key
element on linguistically diverse
UNESCO’s Three (3) Principles Of
Education In Multilingual World
Principle 3
UNESCO supports language as an
essential component of intercultural
education in order to encourage
understanding between different
population groups and ensure respect to
fundamental rights.
Mother tongue-based
multilingual education or MLE
• Multilingual Education typically refers to “first-
language-first” education, that is , schooling
which begins in the mother tongue and
transitions to additional language.
• MLE is the use of more than two languages
for literacy and instruction. It starts from
where the learners are, and from what they
already know. This means learning to read
and write in their first language or L1, and
also teaching subjects like mathematics,
science, health, and social studies in the L1.
MLE programs are:
• Strong Foundation
Research shows that children whose
early education is in the language of their
home tend to do better in the later years
of their education (Thomas and Collier,
• Strong Bridge
An essential difference between MLE
programs and rural “mother tongue
education” programs is the inclusion of a
guided transition from learning through
the mother tongue to learning through
another tongue.
Stages of an MLE Program
1. Stage I- learning takes place entirely in
the child’s home language
2. Stage II- building fluency in the mother
tongue. Introduction of oral L2.
3. Stage III- building oral fluency in L2.
Introduction of literacy in L2.
4. Stage IV- using both L1 and L2 for life
long learning.
MLE proponents stress that the L2
acquisition component is seen as a “two-
way” bridge.
When will children start
learning Filipino and English?
As they develop a strong foundation in
their L1, children are gradually introduced
to the official languages, Filipino and
English, as a separate subjects, first
orally, then in the written form.
The most important features
of this process are that:
1. Education begins with what the
learners already know, building on the
language and culture, language and
experience that they bring with them
when they start school.
2. Learners gradually gain confidence in
using the new (official) language, before it
becomes the only language for teaching
academic subjects; and

3. Learners achieve grade level

competence in each subject because
teachers use their own language, along
with the official school language to help
them understand the academic concepts.
Does MLE only involve changing the
language of instruction and translating the
materials into the local languages?

MLE is an innovative approach to

learning. Apart from programming the use
of several languages, it also involves the
a. the development of good curricula;
b. the training of good teachers in the
required languages, content and
c. the production of good teaching

d. the empowerment of the community.

What kind of learners does
MLE intend to produce?
MLE aims to produce learners who are:
a.)Multi-literate-they can read and write
competently in the local language, the
national language, and one or more
languages of wider communication such
as English;
b.) Multilingual-they can use these
languages in various situations and
interactions for learning in school;
c.) Multi-cultural-they can live and work
harmoniously with people of cultural
backgrounds that are different from their
own, they are comfortable living and
working with people from outside their
community while maintaining their love
and respect for their home culture and
What specific weaknesses in the
Philippine educational system does
MLE seek to address?
MLE seeks to specifically address the high functional
illiteracy of Filipinos where language plays a
significant factor. Survey based on the 2003
Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media
Survey (FLEMMS), out of 57.59 millions Filipinos
aged 10 to 64 years old, there were:
• 5.24 millions Filipinos who could not read and
• 7.83 millions Filipinos who could not read, write
and compute.
• 18.37 millions Filipinos who could not read, write,
compute and comprehend.
Why use the other tongue or the first
language (L1) in school?
One’s own language enables a child to
express him/herself easily, as there is no fear of
making mistakes.
MLE encourages active participation by
children in the learning process because they
understand what is being discussed and what is
being asked of them.
Children can immediately use the L1 to
construct and explain their world, articulate their
thoughts and add new concepts to what they
already know.
But our children already know
their language. Why still learn
it in school?
What we and our children know is the
conversational language in their everyday
variety used for daily interaction. Success in
school depends on the academic and
intellectualized language needed to discuss
more abstract concepts. According to studies, it
takes one to three years to learn the institutional
language, but four to seven years to master the
academic language under well resourced
Are local languages capable of
being used as languages of
Definitely yes. As far back as 1925,
during the American colonial period, the
Monroe Commission already
recommended the use of the local
languages in the education.
Is it costly to practice MLE?
Contrary to popular belief, L1-based
education may actually cost less than a system
that is based on L2.
If we consider the money wasted on drop-
outs, repeaters, and failures, as well as the
added costs, studies show that L2-based
education systems are more costly than L1
A Guatemalan study, for instance, showed
that it is more expensive to produce a grade
level passer (in Grades 1 to 6) in a Spanish
medium school ($6,013) than in a Mayan school
Important tasks in formulating a
community-based MLE program
include the following:
1. Conduct preliminary research.
2. Mobilize resources and develop linkages.
3. Recruit and train staff.
4. Develop a writing system.
5. Develop curriculum and instructional
6. Develop Literature.
7. Evaluate the program and document
8. Coordinate the program.
Educational Implications
The learner must be exposed to
meaningful use of the L2 outside the
classroom situations. The meaningful
exposure which comes from:
1. Meaningful reading in a variety of
2. Focusing on the language itself – how
it works, how it is used
3. Using the language orally and in
What do you need to
According to Cummins (2000) The level of
development of children’s mother tongue
is a strong predictor of their second
language development, children with a
solid foundation in their mother tongue
develop stronger literacy abilities in the
school languages.
Will using the mother tongue as
language of instruction hinder the
learning of a L2 like English?
No, many studies indicate that students
first taught to read in their L1, and then
later in an L2 outperform those taught in
an L2. Learning to read in one’s own
language provides learners with solid
foundation for learning to read in any L2.
International and local research studies
on the use of language in education are
conclusive. When the mother tongue is
the medium of primary instruction,
learners end up being better thinkers and
better learners in both their first and
second languages.