30 April 2007 at 6:00 AM | Posted in News | 7 Comments

Demanda Laban sa E.O. 210

Kung nais ninyong mabasa ang tungkol sa paghabla natin sa Korte Suprema laban sa palisi ng gobyerno sa wikang panturo:

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/storypage.aspx?StoryId=75222

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view_article.php?article_id=62882

http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2007/apr/28/yehey/top_stories/20070428top5.html

http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2007/apr/28/yehey/opinion/20070428opi6.html

http://philippinecommentary.blogspot.com/2007/04/medium-is-mess.html

http://www.asianjournal.com/?c=186&a=19849

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/man/2007/04/28/news/sc.urged.to.void.order.making.english.the.medium.of.instruction.html

Links to news on language suit

30 April 2007 at 5:54 AM | Posted in News | Leave a comment

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/storypage.aspx?StoryId=75222

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view_article.php?article_id=62882

http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2007/apr/28/yehey/top_stories/20070428top5.html

http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2007/apr/28/yehey/opinion/20070428opi6.html

http://philippinecommentary.blogspot.com/2007/04/medium-is-mess.html

http://www.asianjournal.com/?c=186&a=19849

http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/man/2007/04/28/news/sc.urged.to.void.order.making.english.the.medium.of.instruction.html

Andrew Gonzalez on Language

13 April 2007 at 4:49 AM | Posted in News | 12 Comments

Since I am editing two of the late Brother Andrew Gonzalez’s unpublished books, as well as writing the history of De La Salle University while he was its president, I have become even more familiar with his work than I was when we were regularly dining out.

Some articles by the former Philippine Education Secretary on language planning are relevant today, when several linguists, language teachers, educators, and parents are working on a legal way to challenge the Department of Education’s misguided and unlawful drive to increase the number of hours English is used as a medium of instruction in our public schools.

One of the objections against Filipino as a medium of instruction is its alleged inability to handle highly technical subjects. Among linguists, this is known as the issue of intellectualization (spelled intellectualisation in British English). In a 2002 issue of the British journal Current Issues in Language Planning, Gonzalez had an article entitled “Language Planning and Intellectualisation.” The full article is available on the journal’s website (multilingual-matters.net).

Here is the abstract or summary of the article: “The development of the national language of the Philippines is sketched from the initial selection of Tagalog to its standardisation and propagation as Wikang Pambansa (national language), and its renaming as Pilipino, subsequently Filipino.

“The last phase of language development is the phase of cultivation which has many aspects. Usually the national language is cultivated as a language of imaginative literature, the mass media, a medium of instruction in the basic educational system, as the language of governance, and as a language of academic discourse.

“The last phase can be considered as a process of modernisation (through its use to thematise current realities) and as a process of intellectualisation (as a medium of oral and written academic discourse).

“The intellectualisation phase consists not only of lexical expansion (through modern terminologies for the disciplines) but likewise of stylistic differentiation (using syntactic devices for different types of prose discourse). Intellectualisation is examined as process and product and according to its inner (psychological) and outer (sociological) dimensions.

“Some theoretical insights from the Philippine experience are discussed; the intellectualisation of Filipino is unprecedented because it is an ongoing process that can be documented in detail through the corpus being generated and should enrich the scholarly literature on this topic.”

There was no doubt in the mind of Gonzalez that Filipino was well on its way to becoming a fully intellectualized language, were it not for miseducated government officials eager to transform Filipinos from being highly intelligent thinkers to mere telephone operators.

Gonzalez tried to practice what he preached while he was Education Secretary. He changed the medium of instruction of the first three grades to vernacular or regional languages and started the process to change the medium of instruction to conform to what the Constitution mandates, namely, Filipino as the main language of instruction for all subjects at all grade levels, with the other vernacular languages as auxiliary or second languages of instruction and English only as a third or minor language of instruction.

Why did he do that? The answer can be found in another article available on the Web.

In a 2004 conference of the Summer Institute of Linguistics and UNESCO held in Thailand, Gonzalez read a paper on “Language Planning in Multilingual Countries: The Case of the Philippines” (sil.org/asia). In that paper, the world-renowned linguist explained why, based on his experience as Education Secretary and on his expertise as a language scholar, Filipinos were being badly educated due to the use of English as a medium of instruction.

He said, “For [the Filipino] language to be cultivated intellectually, it must be used and not just studied. If school policy makers choose not to use the national language in certain academic domains, the language will not be cultivated for higher cognitive activities in that field of specialization. It is, of course, easier to reach a stage of critical thinking in one’s native language or mother tongue and it takes special tutoring and practice to cultivate a second language for purposes of higher order thinking. In the Philippines, because of the lack of financial resources, the national language has not been sufficiently developed as a language of intellectual discourse. English competence, once attained, becomes a highly effective tool of intellectual discourse and learning of the world’s knowledge. However, the number of those in the system who reach such an advanced stage in a second language such as English is bound to be small and elitist.

“The advice based on investigations and experience of literacy experts is that the best way to teach a second language is by enabling the students to master the first language to the point of critical thinking; these skills can then be transferred to the second language. In spite of this evidence, Philippine decision makers and parents continue to insist on English as early as possible, even though that hinders children’s ability to think critically in the mother tongue or at least in the national language which is structurally similar to the mother tongue. This partially explains the problems of language and quality in Philippine education today.

“In brief, language planning presumes rationality on the part of the language planners in drafting action plans, but these action plans likewise presume rationality on the part of the political decision-makers and would-be beneficiaries (parents and their children) of these rational policies. Unfortunately, in a world not quite fully rational, rational means to realize plans do not always obtain and results are often mixed, which they are in the Philippines!”

This summer break is a good time for DepEd officials to think seriously about acting according to what they know. Since all educational research says that students learn best in their home language and that learning a second language is much easier once the first language is mastered, why does DepEd insist on using English as a medium of instruction?

With English as the medium of instruction, children learn neither English nor the various subject areas. If Filipino were the medium of instruction, children would learn English much more quickly and more effectively.

Since the current Education Secretary refuses to listen to educators, Gonzalez must be turning in his grave or more precisely (since he was cremated, his ashes divided and buried in two places), glowing.  (First published in The Philippine Star, 12 April 2007)

Nikki Coseteng on Education

2 April 2007 at 4:28 AM | Posted in News | 292 Comments

“I’ve learned more about education in the past two months that I’ve been running the Diliman Preparatory School than I learned in all those years of studying in school and working in government,” said senatorial candidate Anna Dominique “Nikki” Coseteng to me in an exclusive interview last February [2007].

Coseteng has been president of Diliman Preparatory School only since Dec. 4, 2006. The school has more than 3,000 students, from preparatory to high school, and even offers two years of post-secondary education.

Except for its being hard to get to from Commonwealth Avenue due to MMDA’s pink roadblocks, the school is one of the country’s best. It became famous some years ago when it became one of the first schools to voluntarily license its computer software in compliance with the Intellectual Property Code.

When people commend her for the school’s being “world-class,” Coseteng immediately retorts, “It’s Philippine-standard. Why is it that, when things are in order, we say it is world-class? Does it mean that, when things are in disarray, that is Philippine-standard?”

Coseteng has certainly put things in order in the school. When I visited the school, I could not help but notice how clean it was. How does she do it? I learned the trick from Coseteng herself. I saw her go up to a group of students and point to the litter around them. In effect, she stares down students, making them feel guilty for not caring for their environment. Students themselves prevent other students from littering, to avoid being embarrassed and having to clean up other people’s junk. The need for paid janitors is minimized.

What has Coseteng learned from running a school? She learned that there are three areas that need immediate attention.

First, she put in place a training program for teachers this summer, to prepare them for next schoolyear. She hopes to introduce reforms in the way teachers teach mathematics, for example. Instead of drawing straight lines, curved lines, circles, squares, and triangles on the blackboard, teachers will use, starting June, actual cultural objects that students can appreciate. For example, she wants teachers to use a photograph of Kennon Road or a print of Van Gogh to illustrate curved lines, a picture of the pyramids to teach triangles, and a Mindanao weave to show what a square or rectangle looks like. In technical terms (which she never uses), what she wants to do is to do Content-Based Mathematics.

Although she admits to not being a math wiz, Coseteng understands the importance of math in the curriculum. In fact, she has ordered the brightest pupils in each grade or year level to be placed in a special section, so that they do not get bored.

“In each class,” says Coseteng, “there are Ferraris, Volkswagens, and carretelas. Everyone is a Ferrari, but in a different field. We have to develop the Ferraris in their particular fields.” In her school, students are streamed according to their aptitude and ability. Even without using the buzz phrases “multiple intelligences” and “homogeneous grouping,” Coseteng has put in place a system that does not discriminate against the verbally-challenged.

Second, Coseteng has moved to address the lack of analytical thinking in classrooms, by discouraging low-level questioning and exercises. For example, instead of a teacher asking pupils to describe what they see in a photograph, teachers now ask what is not shown in the photograph or what is just outside the borders of the photograph. Instead of pupils merely coloring dress outlines in books, teachers now tell pupils, “Here is a child. Draw her (or his) clothes.” The pupils are thus forced to use their imagination and to think outside the box.

Third, Coseteng has paid particular attention to the textbooks used in the school. She discovered problems with the textbooks that are much more serious than mere errors in facts or grammar. One textbook exercise, for example, says: “My brother is a he. My sister is a she. If he becomes a she and she becomes a he, it is funny.”

“We are teaching kids to be liars, hypocrites, and bigots,” Coseteng complains, “by teaching them to discriminate against gays, for example.”

Coseteng points to a textbook that says that the Crusades brought civilization to the believers in Islam. “What about the pillage?” she asks, incensed by the pro-Christian bias of textbooks.

Believing that schoolchildren have the right to an aesthetically pleasant and educationally-sound campus, Coseteng has also introduced physical innovations in her school. She brought the grade school blackboards down to the level of the students, instead of the usual level convenient to teachers. To save costs of airconditioning and blinds, she asked students to paint their own classroom windows to keep out the sun. She plans to have murals done along the walls of what she calls “Learning Corridors,” with information that all literate citizens are expected to know. Again, without using the buzz phrases “core knowledge” or “cultural literacy,” she is working towards a knowledge-based campus.

What Coseteng is advocating and has implemented in her own school is what education theorists would call “Creative Reading” or “Culture-Based Teaching.” To her credit, the jargon is noticeably absent from Coseteng’s vocabulary. What she is passionate about as far as education is concerned comes from watching schoolchildren in other schools transforming from creative individuals to miseducated herd members. In her school, she wants children to remain creative.

About language, her stand is clear and realistic: all Filipinos, she says, should be articulate in both Filipino and English. If she is reelected to the Senate, we can be assured that she will focus on student welfare and not yield to the recruitment demands of a small portion of the business community. (First published in The Philippine Star, 8 March 2007)

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);
document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));

var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-xxxxxx-x”);
pageTracker._initData();
pageTracker._trackPageview();

1 April 2007 at 9:46 PM | Posted in News | 2 Comments

Talumpati sa Pamantasang Baliuag

Binabati ko kayong lahat sa pagtatapos ninyo sa paghihirap na para bang napakahaba, napakatagal, napakatindi.

Sa mga administrador at guro sa Pamantasang Baliuag, kasama ninyo akong nagagalak na isa pang henerasyon ng estudyante ang naihanda ninyo na humarap sa mundo at makipagsapalaran sa larangan ng totoong buhay. Alam ko kung gaano kahirap ang mag-alaga ng hindi na bata sa katawan at isip, ngunit nangangailangan pa, nangailangan pa, ng inyong paggabay sa larangan ng kaalaman at kahusayan.

Sa mga magulang ng mga gradweyt, kasama ninyo akong nagagalak na natapos na rin ang isa pa sa inyong mga anak, nagampanan na rin ninyo ang inyong tungkuling palakihin at papag-aralin ang inyong anak, natupad na rin sa wakas ang pangarap ninyong lumaki na may pinag-aralan at may maipagmamalaki ang inyong anak. Alam kong umaapaw sa saya at pagmamahal ang inyong puso ngayon.

Kayong mga gradweyt ang nais kong kausapin sa hapong ito.

Sigurado akong akala ninyo’y hindi na matatapos ang inyong pag-aaral sa pamantasan. Pero natapos din. Ngayon ay ganap na kayong bahagi ng mundo ng mga magulang ninyo, dahil hindi na kayo pakakainin at bibigyan ng tuition, allowance, at baon, kundi kayo na ang magpapakain sa inyong mga nakababatang kapatid o sa mismong mga magulang ninyo kung sila’y matanda na’t hindi na makapagtrabaho o sa mga iba pang mga minamahal ninyo sa buhay kung sakaling hindi pa nila kaya o hindi na nila kayang magtrabaho. Hindi ko alam kung sino sa inyo ang may asawa na, o magkakaasawa na, o walang balak mag-asawa, pero sigurado akong kahit na anupaman ang nag-aabang sa inyong kapalaran ay magagamit ninyo ang inyong pinag-aralan sa Pamantasang Baliuag para makatulong sa inyong sarili, sa inyong pamilya, sa Bulacan, sa Filipinas, sa mundo, sa sangkatauhan. Sigurado ako dahil magandang edukasyon ang nakuha ninyo sa Pamantasang Baliuag, at hinanda kayo ng inyong mga guro’t administrador sa pakikibaka sa totoong buhay.

Napakarami ng mga asaynment na ginawa ninyo habang estudyante kayo dito sa pamantasan. Akala ninyo siguro’y tapos na ang mga araw ng paggawa ng asaynment. May isa pa akong asaynment na ibibigay sa inyo. Ito na ang pinakamahirap, pinakamahalaga, pinakamatagal na asaynment na kailangan ninyo gawin.

Ang asaynment ay ito: buhayin ninyo ang ating bansa.

Naghihingalo na ang ating minamahal na Filipinas.

Ano ang sinasabi ng ibang bansa sa mundo tungkol sa atin?

Ang sabi ng United Nations, tayo raw ay mamamatay-tao. Tayo raw ay pumapatay nang walang pakundangan araw-araw ng mga manunulat, mga mamamahayag, mga namumuno ng mga organisasyong tumutulong sa mahihirap. Tayo raw ay nagkukunwaring walang masamang nangyayari sa ating bansa sa larangan ng karapatang pantao.

Ang sabi ng Estados Unidos, tayo raw ay dapat nang pakialaman dahil sobra na ang pagyurak sa karapatang pantao sa ating bansa. Tayo raw ay dapat bantayan sa darating nating eleksyon dahil inaasahan na ang malawakang pandaraya tulad nang nangyari noong nakaraaang halalan.

Ang sabi ng mga mangangalakal sa ibang bansa, tayo raw ay mga magnanakaw, mga nangungurakot, mga korap. Ang ating bansa na raw ang pinakakorap sa buong Asya.

Ang sabi ng mga nars sa Estados Unidos, hindi raw dapat bigyan ng trabaho sa America ang mga nakapasa kuno sa nakaraang board exam dahil dinaya lamang daw natin iyon.

Ang sabi ng mga edukador sa ibang bansa, at sinabi rin ito ng CNN habang inirereport nila sa buong mundo ang nangyaring paghostage noong nakaraang linggo, tayo raw ang pinakabobo sa mundo sa matematika at agham. Ang sabi ng reporter ng CNN ay ito, “This is a country where the students are in the lowest 10% of the world in math and science.”

Marami pang ibang sinasabi ang mga nasa ibang bansa. Ngunit hindi naman tayo kailangang lumayo pa. Basahin lamang natin ang sarili nating mga pahayagan. Makinig lamang tayo sa sarili nating mga estasyon ng radyo. Manood lamang tayo sa balita at talk show sa telebisyon. Makinig lamang tayo sa mga talumpati ng mga tumatakbo ngayon sa eleksyon. Tayo na mismo ang nagsasabing napakasama ng sarili nating bayan.

Ano ang asaynment ninyo?

Buhayin ninyo ang ating naghihingalong bayan.

Madalas na ninyong marinig ang sinabi ni Jose Rizal na ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan. Sasabihin ko pa muli: totoo iyon. Kayo talaga ang pag-asa ng bayan. Sa totoo lang, kayo lamang ang pag-asa ng bayan.

Wala nang pag-asa kaming mga nakatatanda sa inyo. Ang henerasyon namin ang sumira sa ating pamahalaan, sa ating ekonomiya, sa ating sistema ng edukasyon, sa ating kalikasan, sa ating kapaligiran. Wala kaming maaaring sisihin kundi ang sarili namin.

Nang kami ang maggradweyt, ang mundong naghihintay sa amin ay ibang-iba sa mundong naghihintay ngayon sa inyo. Noon ay pinakamatalino sa buong Asya ang mga Filipino. Dito sa atin nag-aaral ang ngayo’y mga pinuno sa ibang bansa. Dito sa atin nila natutunan ang pagsasaka, ang medisina, ang pangangalakal, ang accounting, ang lahat ng kanilang alam at pinakikinabangan ngayon sa kanilang sariling bansa. Noon ay pinakamayaman ang Filipinas sa buong Asya, dahil komunista pa talaga ang Tsina, pinagtatawanan lamang ang mga produkto ng mga Hapones na “Made in Japan,” bakasyunan lamang natin ang Taiwan at South Korea, ni hindi binabanggit sa mundo ang pangalan ng Malaysia at Indonesia, at kahit na Australia noon ay dinededma ng lahat. Noon ay tinitingala ang mga nasa gobyerno, dahil ang mga senador noon ay mga gradweyt na katulad ninyo, mga may pinag-aralan, mga matatalino’t mararangal na tao. Oo nga’t may mga korap na noon, pero sila ay nahuhuli at pinaparusahan. Noon ay napakataas ng tingin sa mga guro, sa mga pulis, sa mga sundalo. May partido komunista na noon, na galing sa Hukbalahap na lumaban sa mga Hapon noong digmaang pandaigdig, pero ang mga komunistang ito ay mga intelektwal at ang kanilang pinaglalaban ay mga ideya. Sa kaliwa man o sa kanan, sa hanay man ng mayaman o mahirap, noon ay malinaw na sumusunod ang halos lahat ng Filipino noon sa batas ng Diyos, sa batas ng tao, sa batas ng kalikasan.

Ngayon ay hindi ganyan ang mundong naghihintay sa inyo. Kasalanan namin ito, ngunit kayo ang kailangan umaksyon. Pagod na kami, matanda na kami, naubos na ang pag-asa namin. Kayong mga kabataan, kayong mga katatapos lang mag-aral, kayong mga gradweyt, kayo ang bubuhay muli sa ating bansa.

Kung baga sa term peyper ay kailangan ninyo ng direksyon para magawa ninyo ang inyong asaynment.

Alam kong wala kayong dalang notebuk ngayon, kaya itanim na lamang ninyo sa inyong mga isip at puso.

Una, maging tapat sa inyong sarili. Kung ano ang nais ninyong gawin, gawin ninyo. Huwag kayong gagawa ng bagay dahil lamang ito ang ginagawa ng iba. Kung nagnanakaw, kung nandaraya, kung nagsisinungaling, kung nanghohostage ang iba, huwag ninyong gayahin. Gawin ninyo ang alam ninyong tama, kahit na ang lahat ng nakatatanda sa inyo ay iba ang ginagawa. Maging tapat sa inyong sarili.

Ikalawa, gamitin ninyo ang napag-aralan ninyo. Tandaan ninyo na maraming taon ang ibinigay ninyo sa pag-aaral dito sa pamantasan at bago pa kayo tumuntong dito sa Pamantasang Baliuag. Matagal kayong nagbasa ng libro, nakipagdiskusyon sa mga guro at kaklase, nagmemorya, nag-eksperimento, nag-riserts. Huwag ninyong isangtabi na lamang ang inyong napag-aralan. Kung kayo ay naghandang maging nars, maging nars kayo, hindi opereytor ng telepono sa call center. Kung kayo ay naghandang maging sayantipiko, maging sayantipiko kayo, hindi drayber sa ibang bansa. Kung kayo ay naghandang maging manager, maging manager kayo, hindi seaman. Hindi ko sinasabing masamang maging opereytor sa call center o maging drayber o maging seaman, pero bakit pa kayo nagpakahirap nang napakatagal na panahon, bakit pa nahirapan ang inyong mga magulang at pamilya, bakit pa nagmalasakit sa inyo ang inyong mga guro, kung ang gagawin din lamang pala ninyo ay iyong kaya naman ninyong gawin nang walang digri mula sa Pamantasang Baliuag? Tandaan ninyo ito: gamitin ninyo ang napag-aralan ninyo.

Ikatlo, magpakatao kayo. Sinasabi ng mga ninuno natin na madaling maging tao ngunit mahirap magpakatao. Totoo iyon. Magpakatao kayo. Mabuhay kayo nang marangal, nang hindi nagsisinungaling, nandaraya, nangongotong, nangungurakot, nagnanakaw, nanloloko, nang-aapi. Kahit na kaming matatanda ay maraming kasalanan sa ating bansa, sa mundo, at sa inyo, may isang bagay na alam naming lahat, lalo na ang mga talagang matatanda na’t malapit nang mamatay. Alam namin na hindi namin madadala sa kabilang buhay ang pera, ang lupa, ang negosyo, ang kahit na ano kundi ang aming kaluluwa lamang. Kapag ang kaluluwa, ang diwa, ang kalooban namin ay marumi, iyan lamang ang dala namin pagharap namin sa Panginoon. Hindi kayang suhulan ang Panginoon, dahil Siya ang lumikha sa lahat. Hindi kayang lokohin ang Panginoon, dahil alam Niya ang lahat. Hindi kayang takutin ang Panginoon, dahil makapangyarihan siya. Sa madaling sabi’y wala kami at wala kayong maihaharap sa dulo ng buhay sa ating Panginoon kundi ang ating sarili. Magpakatao kayo.

Tandaan ninyo ang tatlong tagubilin na ito upang matupad ninyo ang inyong asaynment. Maging tapat sa inyong sarili. Gamitin ninyo ang napag-aralan ninyo. Magpakatao kayo.

Maaari ninyong itanong: bakit tungkol sa sarili ang pinagtutuunan natin ng pansin gayung ang problema ay tungkol sa bayan? Hindi ba’t ang problema ay tayo ay pinagbibintangang mamamatay-tao, magnanakaw, mandaraya, bobo? Bakit ang sarili natin ang dapat nating usisain?

Sapagkat iisa lamang ang solusyon sa lahat ng problema ng ating bansa. Iyan ay sinabi na ng lahat ng pantas sa kasaysayan ng mundo. Sinabi ito ni Confucius, ni Buddha, ni Socrates, ni Hesus, ni Muhammad, kahit na ni Rizal at ni Manalo: kapag pinagbuti natin ang ating sarili ay bubuti rin ang mundo. Kapag nilinis natin ang sarili nating bakuran ay lilinis din ang komunidad. Ang bansang Filipinas ay kabuuan lamang ng mga Filipino at kayo, kayong mga kabataan ang bumubuo ng higit na nakararami sa ating populasyon. Kayo talaga ang Filipinas. Ang mga matatanda ay iilan na lamang, kung ihahambing sa bilang ng mga kabataan.

Maraming dahilan kung bakit kayo ang pag-asa ng ating bayan.

Bata pa kayo’t may panahon pa kayo para gawin ang kailangan ninyong gawin. Pinag-aralan ninyo sa mga libro at sa Internet ang mga teorya at karanasan ng ibang tao at bansa na maaaring kunan ninyo ng mga ideya kung paano maaaring harapin ang ating mga problema. Kayo rin naman ang makikinabang o mahihirapan sa anumang gagawin ninyong hakbang para malutas ang mga problema ng ating bayan.

Hindi ko sasabihin sa inyo kung paano ninyo matatanggal ang kahirapan, ang karalitaan, ang kasakiman, ang kasalbahihan, ang katarantaduhan ng mga matatanda sa ating bayan. Hindi ko sasabihin sa inyo kung paano ninyo mababalik ang dating magandang tingin ng ibang bansa sa atin. Hindi ko sasabihin sa inyo kung paano ninyo gagawing marangal muli, tapat muli, masipag muli, magaling muli ang ating bayan.

Nasa inyong mga utak at puso, imahinasyon at sipag, ang solusyon sa mga problema. Kayo ang kailangang mag-isip nang mabuti kung paano maibabalik sa ating bayan ang magandang nakaraan noong buhay pa ang ating mga bayaning sina Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, at iba pa. Alalahanin natin na naging bayan lamang tayo nang maging bayan tayo sa imahinasyon ng mga bayani natin. Sila ang lumikha sa kanilang mga isip ng bayang Filipinas, at tayo lamang ang tumupad sa kanilang mga pangarap. Kayo ang mga bagong Rizal at Bonifacio, mga bayong bayaning lilikha sa inyong mga isip ng larawan ng bagong Filipinas.

Kung nais natin mawala ang kahirapan, ang kurakot, ang korupsyon, ang gutom, ang pagpatay sa kalikasan, at iba pang masamang nangyayari sa ating bayan, simple lamang ang dapat mangyari. Kailangan ninyong gampanan ang papel ng lipunan para sa inyo.

Hindi kayo bibigyan ng greyd ng inyong mga guro o ninupaman sa asaynment ninyong ito. Hindi na kayo kailangang matakot na bumagsak kayo. Wala nang kadena o hawlang pumipigil sa inyong patuloy na pag-aaral, patuloy na pag-iisip, patuloy na pakikibaka. Nasa inyo na kung papayag kayong patuloy na mahirap, gutom, api, at nilalait ang ating bayan.

Kung hindi kasi gagalaw ang kabataan ay sino pa ang gagalaw? Kayong kabataan, kayong may hawak na ng digri at titulo mula sa pamantasan, kayong mga may pinag-aralan at bago pa lamang ang mga pinag-aralan ang tutupad sa sarili ninyong pangarap, na noon ay pangarap din namin, ang pangarap na maging tunay na malaya, tunay na masagana, tunay na malinis, tunay na maganda, tunay na buhay ang sarili nating bayan, ang kaisaisa nating bayan, ang bayang ating minamahal, ang bayang Filipinas.

Sa madaling sabi, tulad nang sinabi na ng napakaraming tao sa ating kasaysayan, kayong kabataan, kayong bagong gradweyt, kayo ang pag-asa ng ating bayan.

Ipinagmamalaki namin kayo. Minamahal namin kayo. Binabati namin kayo. Congratulations!

Marami pong salamat.

[Talumpati sa Gradwesyon sa Pamantasang Baliuag, Bulacan, Filipinas, 31 Marso 2007]

Sonia Roco on Language

23 March 2007 at 5:28 AM | Posted in News | Leave a comment

Roco on Language

When I asked her what her stand was on the medium of instruction, candidate (for the Philippine Senate) Sonia Roco of Aksyon Demokratiko answered simply, “The Bilingual Education Policy is fine. There is no need to change that policy.”

What exactly is the policy? Since she has explicitly said that she is running to continue the fight for quality and intelligent governance started by her late husband Raul Roco, former Secretary of Education, we may assume that, once elected to the Senate, Sonia Roco will espouse the same views that Raul Roco had on the medium of instruction.

Roco (by which I mean Raul) enjoyed debating and brainstorming. In private conversations and even in public discussions, he sometimes defended a stand contrary to what he really believed in, just to test the intellectual capacity of the people around him. Those who did not know him well sometimes attributed to him opinions that were not at all his own but articulated by him only to challenge popular views.

Roco and I shared the ancient rhetorical view that, if you are really a good debater, you can start a debate on one side, win over the other side convincingly, then shift to the other side in the middle of the debate and still win.

We can have a more accurate grasp of Roco’s ideas by looking at the departmental policies he implemented while he was Secretary of Education. Although he and I spent countless hours debating all sorts of issues when I was his Senior Undersecretary, he eventually would make a decision on a particular policy, which I then would write out and show to him for his approval.

During his stint as Secretary, Roco did something very few have appreciated. He insisted that Bicolanos should be taught in their own native language, Bicolano or Bikol. He thus expanded the then prevailing Lingua Franca Project (started by his immediate predecessor, Brother Andrew Gonzalez, FSC) to include Bikol.

Gonzalez had set up a mechanism for some schools to use Cebuano, Ilocano (or Iluko), or Tagalog as their sole medium of instruction for the first three grades. It was, during his time, just an experiment, with the scientific rigor supplied by, among others, the Summer Institute of Linguistics (which had been and still is successfully using various vernacular languages to make people literate enough to read the Bible in their own languages).

Roco insisted that Bikol be added to the three languages of choice. Since there were also a huge number of speakers of languages other than Bikol (Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Samar-Leyte or Waray, Capampangan, Pangasinan, Maranao, Maguindanao, and Tausug, for example), I convinced him to include not just Bikol but the other commonly-used vernacular languages.

Roco ended the experimental stage of the Lingua Franca Project, declared it a success (after consulting with the Summer Institute of Linguistics and the Asian Development Bank), and mandated a language policy that allowed all schools to use the language of their own regions as the sole medium of instruction for the first three grades. The policy was by no means new, since it had its roots at least three decades earlier in government pilot projects. Roco just institutionalized it.

Because he did not stay long enough in the Department, Roco was not able to push through with what would have been the logical continuation of his decision on the first three grades, namely, to change the medium of instruction for the next three grades and eventually the high school years.

We never came to any conclusion in our endless debates on which language or languages to use from Grade 4 to 4th year high school, but it was clear that he did not want English to be the sole or even the main medium of instruction. He was very clear about this, because he believed in the Rule of Law and knew the Constitution by heart. If he had wanted to give English more time in the curriculum, he would simply have told me to write out an order repealing the Bilingual Education Policy. He never did that, and no one has actually done that. The present Secretary has modified the policy by privileging English over Filipino, but he will be held accountable eventually for following an illegal order from the President.

Roco loved Filipino languages. To prove it in terms of educational policy, he mandated that the learning area he himself christened “Makabayan” should be taught completely in Filipino. Only when Arroyo released the blatantly unconstitutional Executive Order 210 were some of the subjects under Makabayan taught in English.

When Sonia Roco gets elected to the Senate, we can be sure that she will oppose vehemently the ridiculous House Bill removing Filipino from the public educational system. (Published in The Philippine Star, 8 March 2007)

Literature in Language Teaching

19 February 2007 at 6:15 AM | Posted in News | 6 Comments

Sometime in the bad old 1980s, English language teachers decided to remove literature from language teaching. The idea at that time was that English should be taught using “authentic texts” for “specific purposes.” Even today, most English language teachers in the country use “content-based instruction,” which means primarily that the texts used to teach language come from fields other than literature.

The big news today is that literature is back in language teaching, and with a vengeance.

Last week, I attended a British Council international seminar in Kuala Lumpur on “Reading across Cultures: Teaching English through Literature.” The seminar was the first time the Oxford Conference on the Teaching of Literature ventured out of the UK since it began 21 years ago. The Conference continues in Oxford, but from now on, there will also be Oxford seminars outside the UK.

I have to say that it was one of the most personally gratifying weeks of my life. When I attended part of the Conference in 1988, while I was a Visiting Fellow at St Antony’s College in Oxford, the speakers were people like Terence Hawkes and Toril Moi, then the biggest names in literary studies.

In the Kuala Lumpur conference, there were only three writers invited as guest speakers: Louise Doughty (multi-awarded British novelist, playwright, critic, and columnist), Roger Robinson (British poet and short fiction writer), and (ehem!) me (to represent Asia).

We were asked to read from our works. I read excerpts from Bienvenido, My Brother and Josephine and did a staged reading of my English translation of Kuwadro. I initially felt intimidated by Robinson (an outstanding performance poet who was earlier in Manila) and Doughty (whose bestselling novel Stone Cradle is funny though profound), but the friendliness of the audience (made up mostly of alumni of Oxford) made me lose my stage fright.

The key academic speaker at the seminar was John McRae of the University of Nottingham, who is the biggest name in language and literature studies nowadays; he is so big that one other big-name lecturer, John Corbett of the University of Glasgow, quoted him, not realizing that he would be in the same seminar.

In 1991, McRae listed several reasons for “covering literature in English Language Teaching” (this is Corbett’s summary): “language learning, linguistic confidence, language description and awareness, language practice, memory, active involvement, classroom interaction, post-lesson stimuli, production, enthusiasm, receptivity, related world knowledge, personal satisfaction, cultural awareness, linguistic or aesthetic curiosity, critical evaluation, grammatical, structural, or functional reinforcement, information, and constructive enjoyment.”

McRae’s and Corbett’s discussions were mostly technical, meant for the high-level government officials and language specialists in the audience, but their thesis was clear: to teach the English language, teachers should use literary texts.

As my own contribution to the language and literature discussions, I showed a working cut of the episode on Basho’s frog haiku in CONSTEC Literature: A Telecourse for Students and Teachers of Literature, the 40-episode television course I am producing for the Foundation for Upgrading the Standard of Literature (FUSE).

A number of the participants asked how they could get a copy of the episode, as well as the rest of the series. I also found out from the Malaysian Ministry of Education officials that Malaysia had a similar series done some years ago. I asked them for a copy of their series, in order that we would not duplicate lessons on the same literary texts. If all goes well, we should be able to show their series together with ours, and they will show ours together with theirs.

After the showing, one Chinese education official approached me and said that the haiku form was invented in China, not in Japan. Ah, well.

(First published in The Philippine Star, 15 February 2007)

18 February 2007 at 8:04 AM | Posted in News | 4 Comments

Bayan at Lipunan

Talumpati sa paglunsad ng librong Bayan at Lipunan ni Bienvenido Lumbera noong 30 Enero 2006 sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas:

Binabati ko ang aking guro at guru na si Ka Bien sa dagdag pang libro sa listahan ng mga napakaraming nailathala na niya. Patunay na naman ang librong ito ng napakalaking papel ni Bien sa larangan ng kritika at kritisismo sa ating bansa. Heto ang aking testimonya sa kanya.

Alam naman ninyo na literary theory ang naging espesyalisasyon ko sa aking doctorado sa Maryland, isang unibersidad na kahit papaano ay nakakasama naman sa reytings sa Estados Unidos. Nagpunta pa ako sa Inglaterra, sa Oxford, para makihalubilo sa mga big-taym na mga kritikong Ingles doon. Tuwang-tuwa akong nag-aral ng pinakabagong uri ng kritika sa dalawang bansang iyon, at pinakabago na rin sa Australia at iba pang bansang napuntahan ko noong ako’y hindi pa retirado at may ambisyon pang makapag-ambag sa pandaigdigang larangan ng critical theory.

Aba, nabigla ako nang malaman kong ang aking pinag-aaralan palang Postcolonial Theory ay walang iba kundi ang itinuro sa akin ni Bien nang siya’y guro ko pa sa Ateneo noong kopong kopong. Sa katunayan ay mas malalim pa ang pagiging postkolonyal ni Bien kaysa sa mga dinodiyos na mga kritiko ngayon sa ibang bansa. Sa halip na magtago sa mga salitang inimbento dahil kulang sa bokabularyo, ginamit ni Bien ang wika ng nakararaming kabayayan natin para ipaliwanag ang diwa ng ating panitikan, pelikula, at iba pang sining. Tulad ng iba pang henyo sa pakibaka sa isip, ginamit niya ang karaniwang wika para masisid ang di-pangkaraniwang pilosopiya at estetika.

Sa madaling salita, sa pamagitan lamang ng kanyang talino ay natuklasan at sinimulan ni Bien ang pinakabagong uri ng kritikang pinagkakaguluhan ngayon lamang sa mundo. Dahil bobo ang mga kritiko sa ibang bansa dahil hindi sila marunong magbasa ng Tagalog o Filipino, hindi nila alam na huli na pala sila sa balita. Matagal nang uso sa ating bansa ang Postcolonial Theory dahil nabuo na iyon noon pa man ni Bien.

Ayan ang testimonya ko. Sa haba-haba ng prosesyon ko sa iba’t ibang bansa at iba’t ibang kumperensyang may kaugnayan sa kritika, sa silid-aralan at mga libro din pala ni Bien ako tutuloy.

Mabuhay ka, Ka Bien!

Largest English-speaking countries

31 January 2007 at 4:38 AM | Posted in News | 73 Comments

Thank you to the person that posted the comment about my mistake in identifying Australia (population: 20 million) as the second largest English-speaking country in the world; s/he said it should be the UK. When I checked the latest figures, it turns out that the two largest English-speaking countries in the world are India (350 million out of 1 billion) and the United States (300 million). The Philippine government still officially claims that the country (total population: 90 million, but less than half speak English) is the third largest English-speaking country in the world, despite all linguistic studies that show otherwise. China (almost 300 million so far out of 1.3 billion) is catching up quickly with India and the US. The UK (60 million), of course, outranks the Philippines. I’ve corrected my previous entry, in order not to mislead first-time visitors to this blog. (Population figures are 2006 estimates.)

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”);
document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));

var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-xxxxxx-x”);
pageTracker._initData();
pageTracker._trackPageview();

22 January 2007 at 4:42 AM | Posted in News | Leave a comment

Ang Kuwento ni Juliet

Talumpati sa paglunsad ng librong Ang Kuwento ni Juliet, salin sa Filipino ni Winton Ynion ng The Tale of Juliet: You Have the Power to Change Your Life ni Juliet Torcelino-van Ruyven (Far Eastern University Publications) noong 4 Disyembre 2006 sa Far Eastern University, Manila:

Ang sabi ng mga Italyano, “Traduttore tradittore,” o “Ang pagsalin ay pagtaksil.” Ang sabi naman nating mga Pinoy, “salin ay sala.” Pero kahit na anupaman ang sabihin ninuman, kailangan natin ng salin. Kung walang nagsalin ng mga akdang dakila sa mundo ay hindi sana natin nabasa ang Noli me tangere, ang El filibusterismo, ang Mi Ultimo Adios, bukod pa sa Bibliya, sa mga Dayalogo ni Platon, sa mga akda nina Aristoteles, Kung Fu-tzu, Muhammad, Homer, Virgil, Dante Alighieri, at Albert Einstein. Sa madaling sabi’y malaki ang magiging pagkasala natin sa kasaysayan, sa kamalayan, at sa sangkatauhan kung hindi tayo magsasalin at magbabasa ng mga salin.

Hindi lang naman mga dakilang libro ang kailangang isalin. Sa mga naglalaro lamang, tulad ng mga mahilig sa ahedres o sa bridge o laro sa kompyuter ay mahalagang naisalin na ang mga akdang nagpapaliwanag kung paano nananalo ang mga tsampyon. Sa mga naghahanap-buhay, tulad ng mga nangingibang-bansa o gumagamot sa mga banyaga, mahalagang isinasalin ang mga papeles para sa visa o ang mga salitang tungkol sa mga bahagi ng katawan. Sa mga seryosong iskolar, mahalagang isinasalin ang mga artikulo’t librong nagpapahayag ng mga natuklasan na sa ibang bansa, para hindi maaksaya ang panahon nila sa pag-ulit ng tapos nang mairiserts. Sa mga mahilig lamang magbasa, magpalipas man ng oras o matuto ng bagong kaalaman, mahalagang isinasalin ang mga nobela at iba pang librong nakasulat sa wikang banyaga.

Ang librong The Tale of Juliet: You Have the Power to Change Your Life ni Juliet Torcelino-van Ruyven ay maraming maituturo sa mga naghihirap nating mga kabayan. Mula sa kasukdulan ng kahirapan, ang bida sa librong ito ay nagsumikap na makaahon at mabuhay sa pamagitan lamang ng sipag at tiyaga, ng lakas ng loob, ng pananampalataya sa kinabukasan at sa Maykapal. Sa mga nag-aakalang hanggang doon na lamang ang kanilang buhay, sa mga nawawalan ng pag-asang umunlad sa lipunan, sa mga kumakapit na sa patalim, malaki ang maitutulong ng libro kung ito’y babasahin nila. Magliliwanag ang kanilang isip, dahil makikita nila sa buhay ni Juliet na maaari palang yumaman sa pera, sa kaibigan, at sa pag-ibig kahit na nagsisimula sa wala. Totoong malaki ang papel ng langit at suwerte sa buhay ni Juliet, pero malaki rin ang papel ng sariling sikap.

Habang nasa wikang banyaga ang libro ni Van Ruyven ay iilan lamang ang nakababasa nito. Sa katunayan ay ang mga makababasa lamang nito’y ang marunong nang mag-ingles, at ayon sa lahat ng pag-aaral natin sa wika ay maliit na porsyento lamang ito ng sambayanan, porsyento pa na nakatataas sa lipunan. Ang higit na nakararami sa ating bayan, ang otsenta porsyento ng mga Filipino, ay hindi nagbabasa ng libro sa wikang Ingles. Kung nagbabasa man sila, ayon sa huling sarbey ng Social Weather Stations, ang kanilang binabasa ay libro o babasahin sa wikang Filipino.

Ito ang dahilan kung bakit nagpasya si Van Ruyven, si Winton Ynion, at ang Far Eastern University na isalin at ilathala ang libro sa wikang Filipino. Nais tumulong ang FEU sa mga mahihirap na hindi kayang pumasok sa mga unibersidad, kahit na sa isang unibersidad na di-pangmayaman na tulad ng FEU. Ayon sa DepEd at CHED, humigit kumulang lamang sa labing-apat na porsyento ng mga Filipino ang nakakatikim ng buhay sa kolehyo. Ang higit na nakararami ay kulang sa edukasyon at ng kakayanang magbasa ng libro sa wikang banyaga. At ang mga ito, ang mga maralita, ang mga hindi nakababasa ng wikang Ingles, ang mga hindi nagtapos sa kolehyo, ang mga nawawalan ng pag-asa sa sistema at nagsisimulang isiping kailangan na ng madugong rebolusyon para magbago ang takbo ng kanilang buhay – ang mga ito ang dapat na malaman na may saya pala sa likod ng pagdurusa.

Ano naman ang masasabi natin tungkol sa salin na pinamagatang Ang Kuwento ni Juliet? Ito ba ay pagtaksil sa orihinal o pagkasala? Ang sasagot diyan ay hindi tayong mga nakabasa na ng libro sa Ingles. Ang sasagot diyan ay ang mga hindi pa nababasa at hindi kailanman babasahin ang libro sa wikang Ingles. Ang patunay ng mahusay na salin ay wala sa katapatan sa orihinal, kundi nasa mangyayari sa nagbabasa ng salin na dapat ay pareho ng nangyayari sa mga nagbabasa ng orihinal. Kung naudyok si Andres Bonifacio na maghimagsik pagkatapos niyang mabasa ang Noli me tangere sa orihinal na Kastila ay dapat na maudyok din ang mga nasa hayskul ngayon na nagbabasa ng mga salin ng nobela sa wikang Filipino. Kung hindi maghihimagsik ang mga estudyante ngayon na tulad ng paghimagsik ni Bonifacio ay walang kuwenta ang salin. Ganito rin ang magiging pamantayan natin sa ginawa ni Winton Ynion. Kapag ang mga nagbasa nitong mga maralita ay mabubuhayan ng loob at sisigasig sa kung anumang hanapbuhay ang nahahanap nila ay masasabi nating tagumpay ang salin. Iyan kasi ang nangyari sa daan-daan o baka pa nga libo-libong nagbasa ng libro sa wikang Ingles. Nabuhayan ng loob ang mga nagbasa ng orihinal at kasalukuyan silang umaasang sumisikat ang araw sa likod ng mga ulap na dulot ng ating sariling gobyerno, ng digmaan sa Mindanao at sa Gitnang Silangan, at ng mga mapang-aping dambuhalang bansa at korporasyon. Maraming naniniwala ngayon, pagkatapos mabasa ang orihinal sa Ingles, na maaaring gumanda ang takbo ng kanilang buhay. Kung dadami ang mga hindi kakampi sa mga komunista, sa mga terorista, sa mga kudista dahil mababasa nila ang libro sa wikang kinagisnan at mag-iibayo ang kanilang paniwala sa kinabukasan at sisipag pa sila, masasabi nating tagumpay ang salin.

Harinawa’y tagumpay nga at magtatagumpay ang Far Eastern University Publications sa proyektong ito. Hindi ito lamang ang sasaklolo sa atin sa masamang tayo ng ating bansa sa kasalukuyan, pero isa itong malaking hakbang para matauhan ang ating mga kabayan at manumbalik ang tiwala nila sa kapangyarihan ng kalooban at kabutihang-asal.

Binabati ko si Winton Ynion, si Juliet Van Ruyven, at ang pamunuan ng Far Eastern University Publications sa paglunsad ng librong Ang Kuwento ni Juliet.

« Previous PageNext Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com. | The Pool Theme.
Entries and comments feeds.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.