Teacher Agency in Mother Tongue: From Social Practice to Legislation


Drawing on the lived experience of teachers in implementing the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE), this research offered a social analysis on the practice of mother tongue, employing Practice Theory as a frame of analysis. This framework suggests that the shift of language policy in the Philippine Basic Education, from monolingual to bilingual, to multilingual elucidates culturally diverse ways of reconfiguring language policy, emphasizing the roles of social practice and teacher agency in policy appropriation. The history of mother tongue as a new language policy in basic education from grades 1 to 3 mirrors how a contextual use of language reflects the issues of power and negotiation of identities, highlighting the role of mother tongue as a relevant medium of instruction during the formative years of schooling. The results illuminate that at the grassroots level, teacher agency in mother tongue attempts to respond to diverse learning needs and cultural identities of students. Thus, teacher agency in the mother tongue is a form of social action, emanating from on-the-ground experience and social practice, which assert collective identity, cultural capital and collective history. Consequently, such a power shift in language policy from universal to local shows how human practice and collective experience can influence the dominant structure. Thus, the trajectory of language policy in basic education through the implementation of MTB-MLE seeks to respond to the contextual needs of the learners on the one hand, and meet the demands of globalization on the other.

Author Information
Peter Romerosa, Arellano University, The Philippines

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2018
Stream: Challenging & Preserving: Culture, Inter/Multiculturalism & Language

This paper is part of the ACE2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon