September 8, 2009
Jerome – Partnership of MLE & Education
“The Partnership of M. L. E. and English”
JEROME RELENTE “
Language is Practical Consciousness” – Karl Marx
Marx is only pointing out that since language is part of your consciousness, it affects our behavior and culture. Language has also its big impact to all social institutions which play a vital role in our practical lives. Being a product of society, education system is, therefore, affected by the use of language.
True enough, language use determine the students’ performance and learning process in school and in educational centers. It has been an argument that the reason for the student’s low performance in subjects such as Math and Science is the use of English in teaching these areas. Some scholars insist that learners learn more effectively through their mother tongue, thus, the Mother-Language Education (M. L. E.) policy in the Philippines is born.
However, M. L. E. should be only implemented in Grades 1 to 3 for the development of the Filipino Students’ Comprehension in subjects Math and Science. Macro skills such as speaking, writing, reading in English should be separately developed through the subject “English”. Starting Grade Four, students should have developed their English skills because Math and Science will now be taught in this language.
It should be noted that M. L. E. should only aim to help the students in the areas of Math and Science. This policy, sad to say, cannot eliminate English in our education system.
Butch Dalisay, in his essay “Notes on Contemporary Philippine Fiction in English” states that: “Despite our much-vaunted bilingual policy in the universities and the growth of Philippine writing in other language, the fact is that our English programs are growing. There is a continuing if not rising demand for English, especially in training for the professions.”
Dalisay is, indeed, true. Just observe the board exams and jobs requiring English proficiency. Some may even argue that countries such as Japan and Singapore are performing well in area such as Math and Science because students use native language. Their countries must be commended for their use of their mother-language. However, it should be pointed out that the M. L. E. policy cannot be implemented throughout the learning process. This policy will be more effective if it will be observed only in the start of education, a strategy used by the countries mentioned above.
As a conclusion, M. L. E. and English policy can be simultaneously used in education or better yet, start educating the students with their mother language. Once their skills and competencies in major areas are developed in a term of M. L. E., then that’s the time to use English as the medium of instructions only in Science and in Math, the subjects after used to assess student’s intelligence.