MTBMLE is education, formal or non – formal, in which the learner’s mother tongue and additional languages are used in the classroom. Learners begin their
education in the language they understand best – their mother tongue – and develop a strong foundation in their mother language before adding additional languages. 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 th 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 Li (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, Multiliterate, and Multi-Cultural Citizens of the country.
- Literacy. We only learn to read once. Learning to read in the L1 develops skills that transfer to reading any other languages. Comprehension in reading other languages only occurs after oral proficiency has developed such that vocabulary of the written L2 text is already part of the learners’ spoken vocabulary.
- Prior knowledge. Engaging learners in a discussion of what is already familiar to them using the home language and culture enables better learning of the curriculum through integration and application of that knowledge into current knowledge schemes.
- 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.
- Strong Bridge. MTBMLE provides a good bridge to listening, speaking, reading, and writing the L2s (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.
- Scaffolding. 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.
- 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.
- Confidence building and proficiency development for two or more languages along the following macro-skills ( listening, speaking, reading, writing, and viewing ) for both meaning and accuracy .