Monday, December 18, 2017
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  • Conrado & Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation, Inc. (CLAFI)

    Flalok Project: Reviving the B’laan Art of Storytelling to Improve Literacy and Develop a Community of Readers
    To increase adult and early graders’ literacy among B’laan communities by promoting a culture of reading using Flalok storytelling and developing B’laan reading materials
    Sarangani, South Cotabato, and General Santos City
    50 B’laan schools from Sarangani, South Cotabato and Gensan, 50 B’laan parents, 2,000 Grade 1 Pupils,
    2,000 Grade 2 Pupils, 1,000 ALS Pupils, 100 Teachers, and 150 Youth Volunteers
    2 years

    The current version of the mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTBMLE) prescribed by the Department of Education (DepEd) identifies only 19 major mother tongues: Iloko, Pangasinan, Kapampangan, Tagalog, Bikol, Waray, Hiligaynon, Cebuano, Meranao, Chavacano, Maguindanaon, Tausug, Ybanaq, Ivatan, Sambal, Akianon, Kinaray-a, Yakan and Suriqaonon. Blaan dialect is not included in the list.

    In a study conducted by the DepEd Regional Office in Sarangani on Indigenous Knowledge, Systems and Practices of selected indigenous groups, the Blaans have the highest population of roughly 1.5 million even extending beyond the province. Of this number, Conrado & Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation, Inc. (CLAFI) reported low literacy rates among approximately 2,000 Blaan students.

    USAID, through the Philippine-American Fund, supports CLAFI in increasing early graders literacy outcomes in indigenous peoples communities using quality mother tongue module and reading materials, and raising awareness on the importance of early grade literacy among Blaan communities.

    The project has developed Flalok Big Books which they use as their main material in increasing the literacy rates of Blaan children. Flalok is the Blaan tradition of storytelling. During the quarter, the project was able to accomplish the fourth batch of validation for these Flalok big books. It was conducted with the participation of tribal leaders and the Learning Resource Development and Management Systems of DepEd. The review was done to ensure quality, authenticity and validity of the stories presented in the big books. As a result, 54 big books were forwarded to the printing press for reproduction.

    The Flalok big books were formally launched on Feb. 01, 2017 in Sarangani. A total of 559 individuals (56 percent females) attended the launch. The participants included teachers, school heads, tribal leaders and local government officials. During the launch, the Flalok big books, teacher’s guide, learner materials, pre-tests, alphabet charts and number charts were formally turned over to DepEd.

    Also during the quarter, the project was able to conduct pre-tests in all 76 partner schools. Flalok writers and DepEd coordinators developed pre-tests for Grades One and Two with an accompanying guide for teachers. It contained Filipino translations and answers. This test assessed the reading level of Grades One and Two pupils in Blaan MTBMLE. The test revealed that pupils from both grade levels scored an average of seven correct answers, which DepEd claims to be high compared to the test using the standard teaching language. According to DepEd, the higher score may be attributable to the use of the Blaan language, which facilitated better understanding and contextualization of the questions.

    Since the project began, teachers who were involved reported significant improvements in the pupils’ participation in class when the new learning materials were used. According to them, pupils showed higher motivation to attend classes due to their eagerness to listen to Flalok stories. Pupils were also able to answer comprehension questions after the storytelling and were no longer hesitant to recite during discussions.

    A total of 4,523 students from Grades One and Two received new sets of learning materials. Teachers’ Guides were also provided to 163 teachers. A total of 164 pieces of Alphabet and Number Charts were issued to be posted in every classroom.