Return to site





· Volume III Issue I

Context and Rationale

The latest metamorphosis of basic education curriculum introduces the Filipino learners to new ways in learning Mathematics, specifically in the medium used to teach this discipline. English language which has always become the greatest barrier most of the learners’ encounter is no longer the medium of instruction in teaching Mathematics for Kindergarten and the first three (3) grade level of basic education. 

As one of the banner programs of K-12, Mother Tongue- Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) is seen to provide higher literacy since it can develop skills that are also used in reading any other language.  Besides, MTB-MLE engages learners more in class discussion. Using their mother language, it is easier for them to integrate and apply the past knowledge into current knowledge schemes. 

Mother Tongue- Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) also provides a strong foundation in developing cognitive skills by serving as a bridge to listening, writing and reading. In the past, using the second language as the primary language in teaching is not sufficient in developing and decoding skills within a meaningful context. In short, using the second language as a medium of instruction helps only to develop the decoding skills. Learners can read the words but they lack in understanding what they are reading. 

The major shift mandated by the DepEd in teaching Mathematics to pupils from Kindergarten to Grade Three has brought struggle to the teachers. It is not easy to deviate from what the teachers are accustomed to. They are accustomed to teach Mathematics in English language and they find it challenging aside from being awkward to translate many mathematical concepts in Tagalog.

Despite the effort of the teachers to embrace the changes brought by the new curriculum, researchers who are also teaching Mathematics in Balibago Elementary School still observe many difficulties on the part of the pupils. With the freedom of speaking in their native language, the pupils are still hesitant to do board works and explaining their answer. As soon as the teachers start discussing Mathematics, it is very evident that they do not have the interest. Most of them are yawning or having small chit chat with seat mate. While some are too busy doing other things in their seat. All these difficulties manifested in their first quarter assessment. Most of them obtained grades that are lower that what they are expected. 

Truly, the major shift mandated by the Department of Education in teaching Mathematics through the use of Mother Tongue has become one of the challenges of most teachers. Thus, this study is deemed beneficial to pupils, teachers, and parents. Furthermore, the researchers believe that this undertaking will give a very significant contribution to educational institutions, to the body of knowledge and to the professional development of the researchers. 

As epitome of knowledge, teachers have to assess their performance based on the outcomes for the pupils. Using the pupils’ grades as the basis of outcomes, teachers can gauge if the methods they utilize in teaching are effective. An in-depth analysis of the pupils’ performance is an avenue of the teachers to sit back and make a careful evaluation of their teaching style. Thus, any mismatch between teaching styles and learning styles of pupils can be immediately identified.  Moreover, this study is perceived very significant by the researchers in upraising the level of professional development of the researchers. The result of this study may create avenues for the utilization of teaching strategies that perfectly match with the learning styles of the pupils. 

Review of Related Literature

Pursuant to section 10 of Republic Order No. 10533 or the Enhance Basic Education Curriculum, teachers of Kindergarten and Grade 1 to grade 3 levels are required to deliver their lesson in the vernacular language that is understood by all learners.  The curriculum shall develop proficiency in Filipino and English, provided that the first and dominant language of the learners shall serve as the fundamental language of education. For Kindergarten and the first three years of elementary education, instruction, teaching materials and assessment shall be in the regional or native language of the learners. 

The DepEd shall formulate a mother language transition program from the mother/first language to the subsequent languages of the curriculum that is appropriate to the language capacity and needs of learners from Grade 4 to Grade 6. Filipino and English shall be gradually introduced as languages of instruction until such time when these two (2) languages can become the primary languages of instruction at the secondary level. (retrieved, 2016).

Research stresses the fact that children with a solid foundation in their Mother Tongue develop stronger literacy abilities in the school language. Their knowledge and skills transfer across languages. This bridge enables the learners to use both or all their languages for success in school and for lifelong learning. In terms of cognitive development, the school activities will engage learners to move well beyond the basic wh-questions to cover all higher order thinking skills in L1 which they can transfer to the other languages once enough Filipino or English has been acquired to use these skills in thinking and articulating thoughts. With the end goal of making Filipino children lifelong learners in their L1 (MT), L2 (Filipino, the national language), and L3 (English, the global language) the learners are more than prepared to develop the competencies in the different learning areas. This will serve as their passport to enter and achieve well in the mainstream educational system and in the end, contribute productively to their community and to the larger society as well as Multilingual, Multi-literate, and Multi-Cultural Citizens of the country. For the effective implementation of the MTB-MLE, it is suggested that the two-track method be used, that is the primer track to focus on accuracy and the story track to focus on meaning. Learning via the two-track method to gain proficiency in literacy as well as comprehend academic content and gain curriculum mastery, creative and critical thinking skills for decisive decision-making. 

MTBMLE develops skills that transfer to reading any other languages. It provides comprehension in reading other languages. It only occurs after oral proficiency has developed such that vocabulary of the written L2 text is already part of the learners’ spoken vocabulary.  It enhances prior knowledge and engages learners in a discussion of what is already familiar to them using the home language and culture enables better.

Similarly, MTB-MLE helps for cognitive development and Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS). Using the learners’ Mother Tongue provides a strong foundation by developing cognitive skills and comprehension of the academic content from day one. The knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values gained through the Mother Tongue better support learning of other languages and learning through other languages later. As learners articulate their thoughts and expand ideas, both language and critical thinking are strengthened. 

MTBMLE cultivates critical thinking through talking about ideas in the familiar language. When teaching only in the L2, critical thinking is postponed until L2 is sufficiently developed to support such analysis. MTBMLE provides a good bridge to listening, speaking, reading, and writing the (L2, L3) of the classroom using sound educational principles for building fluency and confidence in using the other languages for lifelong learning. Reading in the L2 is only introduced after basic L1 reading fluency and L2 oral proficiency are developed. Comprehension in reading the L2 occurs after the development of that spoken L2. Once sufficient oral and written proficiency in the L2 are developed, a gradual transition to using the L2 as medium of instruction can progress without the L1 support. In L2 teaching, the L1 is used to support learning when the L2 is not sufficiently developed to be used alone. The L1 is used for expression and the teacher facilitates the development of the L2 to enable learners to adequately express ideas in the L2. In this way, the L1 strengthens the learning of the L2 by supporting the L2 development for communication.  

MTB-MLE also becomes a vehicle in teaching for meaning and accuracy. Decoding text requires accuracy, while comprehending texts requires decoding skills within a meaningful context. Both meaning and accuracy are important, but in classrooms that teach only L2, there is often primary focus on accuracy until the L2 is sufficiently learned. This delays actual meaningful learning until the L2 can support that learning. (retrieved, 2016)

see PDF attachment for more information