Dr Romylyn Metila represented ACTRC’s MTB-MLE team at the 5th International Conference on Language and Education, held in Bangkok, Thailand, on October 19-21, 2016. The theme of the conference was Sustainable Development through Multilingual Education. Dr Metila presented a paper entitled Embracing Linguistic Diversity in Mother Tongue Education: The Case of the Philippines. The paper shared the different program designs used by schools implementing MTB-MLE in linguistically diverse contexts in the Philippines. The presentation (actrc-mtb-mle-bangkok-conference-101416) also discussed other strategies that educators used in responding to linguistic diversity, while considering parameters set by available resources. The presentation was based on the MTB-MLE team’s published article in The Asia Pacific Education Researcher, which contains a more comprehensive discussion of the challenges and strategies in implementing mother tongue education in linguistically diverse contexts.
Questions after the presentation focused on code-switching, literacy development, and linking assessment data with program models. Dr Metila explained that code-switching was a challenge in program implementation because it inevitably reduces children’s exposure to mother tongue in the classroom, and she therefore recommended the management of multiple languages in the classroom. She also explained that the language used for literacy development in the studied linguistically diverse classrooms was the officially declared mother tongue in the school. Finally, it was explained that the linking of assessment data with the program is a feature of Phase 4 of the study, currently underway.