/ 26 February 2021

USING mother tongue in teaching students can help them better understand their lessons, a distinguished international professor said.

Dr. Kirk R. Person of the Summer Institute of Linguistics International cited the case in Bangkok where students scored high in global assessments because the local dialect was used as the medium of instruction.

Person was one of several professors who discussed the effects of implementing mother tongue-based multilingual education in the 2021 International Mother Language Conference and Festival held on February 25.

He said that Thai students’ scores in international assessments were relatively higher than those from other countries because the majority of educational institutions in Bangkok use the vernacular language in teaching academic subjects such as mathematics, technology, and sciences.

The implications of adopting MLE was also discussed by Dr. Carol Benson of Teachers College-Columbia University and Dr. Antoinette Gagne of the University of Toronto. Both professors presented papers during the conference, with Benson’s titled

“Language-in-Education Policy and Practice Based on Non- Dominant Languages.”

MTB-MLE SITUATIONER ACROSS THE WORLD - 2The paper focused on learners’ own languages and the ways on how they are being brought into the curriculum and pedagogy of education systems.

She discussed the conceptual framework of the language-in-education policy and new issues in the MLE implementation.

Gagne meanwhile explored the “multiple identities” of every individual using their mother tongue in different disciplines.

The research was based on her experiences as an academician and a researcher. She explored the experiences of newcomers and their families in various Canadian schools as well as plurilingual students in post-secondary education.

The IMLCF was presented by the 170+ Talaytayan MLE, Inc. and The Philippine Online Student Tambayan, together with the University of Fukui, University of the Philippines Mindanao, Philippine Normal University, University of Santo Tomas Graduate School, Nakem Conferences, Agusan del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology, Benguet State University, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Magbikol Kita, and Mariano Marcos State University for Iloko and Amianan Studies.