Issues and Challenges in Teaching Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education in Grades II and III: The Philippine Experience

11 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2016

See all articles by Rosario Alberto

Rosario Alberto

St. Theresa International College

Sunny Gabinete

Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College

Vanessa Rañola

St. Paul University Philippines

Date Written: April 22, 2016


With the introduction of the new K-12 program, in 2012 the Department of Education of the Philippines implemented the teaching of the Mother Tongue- based Multi-lingual Education among the kindergarten, Grades 1, 2 and 3 learners.

This paper determined the issues and challenges faced by teachers in the four skill areas namely; reading, writing, speaking and listening, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of teaching mother tongue.

The study utilized the qualitative approach and the data collection consisted mainly of focus group discussions, intensive interviews and participant observation.

The findings showed that the issues raised by the respondents for listening focused on the unavailability of audio materials that can strengthen the listening skills of the students while the challenge is the limited Hiligaynon (local dialect) vocabulary of the teachers and the unfamiliarity of the words. As to speaking, the respondents find it hard to speak fluently in Hiligaynon. The challenge is that teachers previously taught the different subjects using the second language which is English.

As to reading, the respondents have problems on the limited reading materials available for teaching. The issue of understanding profound Hiligaynon terminologies is challenges to them. And, as to writing, the respondents lack resources which could enhance their writing skills. The challenge in spelling of the Hiligaynon lies in the fact that some words are long and difficult to spell.

On the other hand, the teaching of Mother tongue revealed advantages in teaching such as: learners were able to express their thoughts and ideas resulting to high participation in class discussions; learners become independent in their choice of expression, and the use of mother tongue facilitates in explaining the meaning of some English words.

The disadvantages are all linked to the scarcity of instructional materials which hinder the enhancement of the reading, listening, speaking and writing skills of the learners. Added to these is the lack of training to prospective teachers to teach mother tongue.

Keywords: Mother tongue, multi-lingual education

Suggested Citation

Alberto, Rosario and Gabinete, Sunny and Rañola, Vanessa, Issues and Challenges in Teaching Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education in Grades II and III: The Philippine Experience (April 22, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Rosario Alberto (Contact Author)

St. Theresa International College ( email )

1 moo 6 Rangsit-Nakon nayok Road
klong 14, Bungsan
ongkarak, Nakon nayok 26120

Sunny Gabinete

Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College ( email )

Poblacion, Zone 3
Ilolilo, AL Iloilo 5000

Vanessa Rañola

St. Paul University Philippines

Mabini Street
Cagayan, 3500

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