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Multilingualism, Multilingual Education, and the English Language: Voices of Public School Teachers

Arceli M. Amarles

Date of publication:

December 31, 2016

In contexts where decision making is highly centralized, policies on language and/in education are mostly formulated by officials of the Department or Ministry of Education. Hardly is the voice of ordinary public school teachers who are at the forefront of implementing any educational or language policy heard because they are only seen as implementers of any policy. But should their voices remain muted? Following the bottom-up approach and drawing from narratives of public school teachers, this paper argues that for an efficient formulation and implementation of language and/in education policy, teachers’ voices must be heard. Through Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with public school teachers in seven regional centres in the Philippines, it aims to find out what these teachers have to say about the following themes: (1) multilingualism in the country; (2) the mother-tongue-based multilingual education (MTBMLE), an integral component of the Philippine government’s K + 12 enhanced basic education system; and (3) the role that the English language plays in education in the light of the multilingual nature of the country and the implementation of MTB-MLE.

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