Off-centered Butuan: A critical analysis of instructional materials and classroom interactions in the mother tongue-based multilingual education in Butuan City

2016 IJRSLL – Volume 5 Issue 1


Tagyamon, Castor Jr.*
Humanities, Social Sciences, and Communication Department, Far Eastern University – Institute of Technology, Philippines (


Since June 2012 the Department of Education (DepEd) in Butuan City has implemented the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE). The program promotes the teaching of Cebuano, Filipino, and English as language subjects particularly to grade one public elementary students in Butuan. The department believes that the teaching of Cebuano, students’ mother tongue in Butuan, will bring students close to their Butuan culture; Filipino will help them to communicate with other Filipinos who belong to various cultural groups; and English will connect them to the cultures of the world. To know whether there is a one-to-one correspondence between language subjects and cultures taught to students is the main objective of this study. More specifically, this study compares, contrasts, and evaluates the cultural discourses or schematic representations of cultures present in instructional materials (IMs) (i.e. word cards, images, and stories or big books) and classroom interactions in the three language subjects of five grade one sections of one school in Butuan. A word card normally contains one word with no clear cultural contents. Images produce mixed cultural messages. Stories or big books generally portray the Filipino culture. In general, classroom interactions using IMs center on students’ Butuan culture. The interactions suggest that the learning of second languages (i.e. Filipino and English) does not necessitate the learning of cultures unfamiliar to students. Thus far, incongruities exist between the MTB-MLE program on paper and the same program in action. More work, therefore, needs to be done to improve the program.

Keywords: MTB-MLE; language subjects; instructional materials; classroom interactions; cultural discourse



*Corresponding Author