Filipino mentors from University of Hawaii share expertise in teaching Filipino as second language

Asst. Prof. Leticia Cantal-Pagkalinawan, Ph.D., and Assoc. Prof. Rodney C. Jubilado, Ph.D., are both Filipinos teaching Filipino as a Second Language (TFSL) at the University of Hawaii. They were invited by the University of Santo Tomas (UST) College of Education to share their best practices in TFSL in light of online learning to their counterparts from the University through a webinar titled “Anong Bago: Ang Pagtuturo ng Filipino Bílang Pangalawang Wika sa Bagong Normal” (What’s New: The Teaching of Filipino as a Second Language).

The webinar, live-streamed through the official Facebook Page of the Department, was held on September 30, 2020, in celebration of the National Teachers’ Month which is observed from September 5 to October 5 each year. It was organized by the UST Department of Filipino under the College of Education, in cooperation with the Office of International Relations and Programs, as part of its Knowledge Exchange Series (KES).   

In her opening remarks, College of Education Dean Pilar I. Romero, Ph.D., recognized that we are living in a VUCA world, that is, vulnerable, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous, which was exacerbated by the current pandemic. However, she encouraged the participants to be resilient, with a kind of resilience that is rooted in the heart. She further explained that the real “new normal” is our ability to respond to the challenges of forming new insights regarding language, especially on its power to affect not only the thoughts but even our feelings and decisions. She believes that language is a driving force that can change the VUCA world.

Serving as resource persons of the KES were the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UH Manoa) Asst. Prof. Leticia Cantal-Pagkalinawan, Ph.D., and the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UH Hilo) Division of Humanities Chair and Assoc. Prof. Rodney C. Jubilado, Ph.D.

Pagkalinawan began her lecture by introducing the demographics of Hawaii, a US state that is home to Asian ethnicities with Filipino Americans comprising the most number followed by Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, and Korean Americans. The UH Manoa, the institution where she teaches, is the only HEI in the US offering a full-fledged degree program in Filipino, the BA Filipino Language, Literature and Culture.

According to Pagkalinawan, Filipino Americans pursue programs and courses in the Filipino language, culture, and literature to learn about their heritage language, discover the culture of their origin, and fully understand their identity. Meanwhile, non-Filipino students pursue the said programs and courses to establish a deeper connection with their Filipino friends and colleagues. Pagkalinawan discussed some of the approaches she uses in TFSL, such as Project-Based Learning, Task-Based Teaching and Learning, and Flipped Classroom. She also shared the array of learner-centered technologies she employs in TFSL.

In his lecture, Dr. Rodney Jubilado discussed the value of considering the profile, migration history, family structure, and linguistic repertoire of learners to design effective language programs and courses. He provided benchmarks of TFSL by sharing the Filipino Studies Program and Curriculum of UH Hilo, which is basically culture and natural resources-based. This was followed by the discussion of the fundamentals of a TFSL classroom, such as its syllabus, learning process, and expected outputs on the lexical, sentential, and discourse levels.

Some of the topics on TFSL that Jubilado suggested include daily expressions and greetings, basic communicative acts in Filipino, giving description and instruction, basic Filipino grammar and vocabulary, and introduction to Filipino culture. Meanwhile, some of the strategies that may be used in TFSL are conversations, narrative essay-writing, workshops, and performances. Dr. Jubilado also emphasized that TFSL must be useful, significant, and community-driven. It can be achieved by incorporating elements of the global community and citizenship and service-learning in TFSL.

The webinar which lasted for two and a half hours also included the official launch of the International Virtual Conference on the Teaching of Filipino as a Second Language by UST Department of Filipino Chair Asst. Prof. Alvin Ringgo C. Reyes. The international conference will be held from June 17 to 19, 2021. The event will be co-organized by the UST Department of Filipino and the UH Hilo Division of Humanities and is one of the concrete programs borne out of the Memorandum of Understanding recently signed between the two institutions.

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