Teachers struggle using Chavacano amid DepEd’s new K to12 curriculum PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 28 June 2013 11:40

“To preserve the culture by using Chavacano as a medium of instruction in all schools in Zamboanga City”.

This is how a Grade-I teacher from Zamboanga West Central School understood the new K-to-12 curriculum.

It is already weeks after school began utilizing the K-to-12 program this year.

Inside a kindergarten classroom where 70 pupils wore their smiles exuding excitement, their teacher, May Ann Ruiles, is teaching them the different letters in the Chavacano alphabet. To her it is a very different teaching experience because Chavacano was not used before, as it is now ordained as a medium of instruction from Kindergarten to Grade III.

Ruiles said that she struggles to make teaching adjustments with the new curriculum especially with the use of the mother tongue. She has problems with the teaching materials because unlike before when she can just buy and find visual aids in a cheaper price and use it again, now she really needs to hunt for new Chavacano materials which are expensive and sometimes hard to find.

Like Ruiles, Grade I teacher Emily L. Ko of the same school also said that language barrier is a problem in teaching her pupils notably those who are Samas using the local mother tongue.  What she does to be able to make her student understand the lesson is to translate the Chavacano words used to Tagalog or English, surely a complicated or tedious necessity.

Some pupils speak and understand only Sama. She has problems interacting with them especially during discussions. To be able to solve this problem, she asks her Sama pupils who understands Tagalog to translate into Sama their lessons to better instruct other Sama pupils.

With this situation, she encounters predicaments with the process of teaching, making it roundabout if not frustrating. She also added that it took them time to really inculcate the lesson to their pupils with the use of Chavacano.

Ko said that this problem is not just for teachers but also for pupils who came from a different place or city and do not understand Chavacano. Teaching subjects were added like Health, Art and Physical Education further create problems with time management and workload.

But as a teacher, she also has a crystal clear vision for her pupils. Whatever the curriculum is, she said she does her best to make her pupils a productive citizen in the future starting in the four corners of their classroom following the use of the mother tongue Chavacano.

Last May 15, President Aquino signed into law the program mandating Filipino pupils to attend kindergarten, six years of elementary school education, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school. The signing officially ended the country’s 10-year basic education cycle.

However, under the revised curriculum for Grade 2 and Grade 8 are being delivered late, as in last year when the K + 12 program was rolled out. As in the previous year, teachers did not have enough time to prepare. They only had a five-day mass training just before the start of classes.

In the first and pilot school year of K-12, subject area convenors developed all the Grade 1 learning materials, including those for the various Mother Tongue subjects. This year, though Grade 2 learner’s materials were devolved to the DepEd regional offices. Using the learner’s guide developed in Filipino, the DepEd regional offices tailor-fitted the materials per subject according to their language and cultural context

The DepEd is employing 12 major local languages—Tagalog, Kapampangan, Pangasinense, Iloko, Bikol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Waray, Tausug, Maguindanaoan, Maranao and Chabacano—introduced as a subject in Grades 1 to 3 in select schools. The teacher’s guides, however, are all written in English. — Shirly  Espino/Peace Advocates Zamboanga