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Oral traditions: An aid to implementation of mother tongue-based multilingual education in the Philippines’ basic education programme

  • Genevieve Jorolan-Quintero
Original Paper

Abstract

English and Filipino (Tagalog) are the official languages of the Philippines. English is taught in schools and used as a medium of instruction as early as kindergarten. Because it was originally imposed by Western colonialism, its use in academia has been criticised as discriminatory to regional and indigenous languages other than Tagalog, which are not generally used in higher education and have therefore not been allowed to develop as academic languages. In 2012, the Filipino Department of Education issued Order No. 16, series of 2012, also known as the mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) order. Following its recent adoption in public schools, the MTB-MLE policy has already run into some difficulties that challenge its output. Among these is a lack of instructional materials, as most available textbooks are written in English or Filipino. This article explores the potential of oral traditions as instructional tools in basic education. There have been extensive efforts by folklorists to collect, record and publish folk epics, myths, legends and tales. An essential aspect of this research is the recording and publication of materials in the original versions or languages used by native informants from indigenous communities. For the past ten years, the author has conducted field research with indigenous communities in the southern regions of Mindanao. This has yielded a collection of folk literature recorded in the languages of the indigenous communities studied. This collection has been translated into Bisaya, one of the major regional languages of the Philippines, and into English. These texts have considerable potential as classroom learning materials. The publication of these indigenous literature texts makes knowledge of indigenous language and culture available to basic education learners, as well as to the general public. The publication of mother tongue reading materials will also help promote knowledge of, appreciation for, and proficiency in the use of these languages.

Keywords

folklore instructional materials mother tongue-based multi-lingual education (MTB-MLE) native language oral traditions 

Résumé

La tradition orale, une aide à l’éducation multilingue fondée sur la langue maternelle dans l’enseignement de base aux Philippines – L’anglais et le filipino (tagalog) sont les langues officielles des Philippines. L’anglais est enseigné dans les écoles et sert de support d’instruction dès le jardin d’enfants. Imposé à l’origine par le colonialisme occidental, son usage dans le milieu universitaire est critiqué pour être discriminatoire envers les langues régionales et autochtones autres que le tagalog, qui ne sont pas couramment utilisées dans l’enseignement supérieur ni donc admises à devenir langues académiques. Le ministère philippin de l’éducation a émis en 2012 l’ordonnance n° 16, appelée également ordonnance sur l’éducation multilingue fondée sur la langue maternelle. Suite à sa récente adoption dans les écoles publiques, la démarche d’application de cette ordonnance rencontre d’ores et déjà plusieurs obstacles qui compromettent sa réussite. Parmi ces derniers figure un manque de matériels didactiques, puisque la majorité des manuels existants sont rédigés en anglais ou en filipino. Cet article explore le potentiel des traditions orales en tant qu’outils pédagogiques dans l’enseignement de base. Les spécialistes de la culture traditionnelle et populaire ont déployé d’importants efforts pour recueillir, documenter et publier les épopées, mythes, légendes et contes populaires. Un élément central de cette étude réside dans l’enregistrement et la publication de matériels conçus dans les versions ou langues d’origine utilisées par les informateurs natifs issus des communautés autochtones. Au cours des dix dernières années, l’auteure a mené une enquête de terrain avec ces communautés implantées au sud de Mindanao. Une collection de littérature populaire a ainsi été enregistrée dans les langues des communautés étudiées. Cette collection a été traduite en bisaya, l’une des principales langues régionales des Philippines, ainsi qu’en anglais. Les textes renferment un immense potentiel en tant que matériels didactiques pour enseignants. La diffusion de cette littérature autochtone met la connaissance des langues et cultures indigènes à la disposition des apprenants de base comme du grand public. La publication de matériels de lecture en langues maternelles contribuera en outre à développer le savoir, le plaisir et la maîtrise dans l’usage de ces langues.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V., and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the PhilippinesMindanaoPhilippines

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