The Effects of Teaching the Mother Tongue to the English Speaking Skills of Learners

Categories: English Language

According to Valerio (2015), one of the changes in Basic Education Curriculum brought about by the new K-12 program is the introduction of Mother Tongue- Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) specifically in Kindergarten, Grades 1, 2, and 3 to support the goal of “Every Child- A- Reader, and A –Writer” by Grade 1”. The mother tongue helps boost confidence for learners in public school because they can explain their idea and opinion without hesitation. As mention by Butzkamm (2003), the mother tongue opens the door, not only to its own grammar but to all grammars, in as much as it awakens the potential for universal grammar that lies within all of us.

This foreknowledge is the result of interactions between a first language and our fundamental linguistic endowment and is the foundation on which we build our Selves. It is the greatest asset people bring to the task of foreign language learning. For this reason, the mother tongue is the master key to foreign languages, the tool which gives us the fastest, surest, most precise, and most complete means of accessing a foreign language.

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However, there are studies conducted about the positive effect of MTB-MLE in basic education, but the use of mother-tongue as a medium of instruction to kinder and grade school students in a private school is not easy. In fact, teachers need to work extra hard just to follow this curriculum. Especially teaching Filipino subjects, teacher’s need to translate it in English, so that their students will understand and can follow them. As believed by Albano (2008), because of the “Mother Tongue” program, most Grade 4 pupils here could not understand simple English phrases such as, “You put your things on the table,” and – for lack of English vocabulary – would speak in the vernacular and stare blankly the moment they hear lectures in straight English, making translations necessary.

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There are some students that have difficulty in translating mother tongue to English and vice versa. It is hard for them to construct a sentence using the mother tongue. Students whose first language is English tends to stutter when using Filipino language and they can hardly compose a sentence.

By knowing the positive and negative effect of MTB-MLE teachers and parents has a big role in guiding the English speaking students to understand and learn the use of the mother tongue. As explained by Lartec J. K (2016), the collaborative perspective of parents and teachers towards a model for MTB-MLE in a multilingual setting and reflected on the importance of language, social values, cultural heritage and the suggested the instructional materials for teaching in a multilingual environment. The model could contribute a good foundation for a multilingual setting and provide quality-teaching aids that are effective in the learning process of all children. Good communication of the parents and teachers can help improve the English speaking students to enhance their difficulty in learning the mother tongue because through their involvement it has a possibility to develop their learnings.

Teachers must also provide materials to use in order to reinforce their knowledge about their mother tongue. Gurus, T. S. (2015), states that children learn best when they use graphical ways to represent what they are studying. They prefer it when information is represented in diagrams or graphs. Hands-on activities provided by the teacher can support students to learn and gain more knowledge and confidence in speaking the Filipino language. Socialization is one factor that can affect learners in learning mother tongue because through socialization they can encounter new friends and it will benefit them to master mother tongue.

In spite of many types of research, the effects of teaching the mother tongue to the English speaking skills of learners are still on process and it has no clear evidence if its effective or not. Some details are just open for specific studies. Future researchers should gather more facts to provide concrete proof about the effects of teaching the mother tongue to the English speaking skills. This study is still open for more verification.


Albano, E. (2008, December 20) Mother Tongue program hampers English, reading progress- teacher. Manila times.
Butzkamm, W. (2003). We only learn language once. The role of the mother tongue in FL classrooms: Death of a dogma. Language Learning Journal. 28. 29-39. 10.1080/09571730385200181.
Gurus, T. S. (2015). Study Advice for Visual Learners retrieved from
Lartec, Jane Kibla (2016) “Parents’ and teachers’ collaborative perspective: an input for a model on materials development in a multilingual setting,” Journal of Research Initiatives: Vol. 2: Iss. 2, Article 1.
Valerio, T. (2015.) Current perspectives on mother – tongue based instruction in the newly implemented k to 12 curriculum of the Philippines. Quirino Province: Published by European Centre for Research Training and Development UK. Vol.3, No.9, pp.51-66.

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The Effects of Teaching the Mother Tongue to the English Speaking Skills of Learners. (2020, Sep 08). Retrieved from

The Effects of Teaching the Mother Tongue to the English Speaking Skills of Learners

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