The effect of mother tongue-based multilingual education on the Science achievement and metacognitive learning orientations of Ilocano grade 3 pupils: Implications for policy and practice

  • Jerome G. Santiago Department of Education, Division of Isabela, PHILIPPINES
  • Januard Denola Dagdag Isabela State University, Roxas, Isabela, PHILIPPINES
Keywords: Achievement, metacognitive learning, monolingual, MTB-MLE, Philippines, Science


The implementation of Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) in the Philippines is being criticized by stakeholders whether it is a better approach for pupils in the primary levels than the monolingual-Second language (MSL) approach using Tagalog. Several studies in the past decade attempted to test the effect of MTB-MLE on pupils' learning on different subject areas. However, there is yet no available study on the effect of MTB-MLE on Science learning variables such as metacognitive learning orientations and achievement among Grade 3 learners whose mother tongue is Ilocano. This quasi-experimental study was conducted to test the effect of MTB-MLE on the academic achievement, metacognition, learning processes, and self-efficacy of Ilocano Grade 3 pupils in Science learning. Fifteen (15) Ilocano pupils were randomly selected from each of two elementary schools of a district in Isabela Province, Philippines. The two groups were taught in Science using Tagalog-only (MSL) and Ilocano-Tagalog (MTB-MLE), respectively. Pre and post-assessment were conducted to gauge the pupils’ traits in Science. Descriptive statistics, independent-samples t-test, analysis of covariance, and paired samples t-test were used to analyze the data. There was no significant difference between the achievement, metacognition, self-efficacy, and learning processes of the MTB-MLE and the MSL pupils in Science. Moreover, the learning processes of the MSL pupils such as monitoring-evaluating-planning, learning risk awareness, and control of concentration did not significantly improve. Therefore, this study recommends the implementation of MTB-MLE in the primary level, and provides implications for policy and practice for better learning outcomes.


Download data is not yet available.


Abrea, A. C., Ortua, E. C. L., & Robles, R. L. (2020). Experiences of teachers teaching grade 4 pupils with mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTB-MLE): Inputs to policy development and teacher training for MTB-MLE. Asia Pacific Higher Education Research Journal, 7(1), 1-13.

Alcudia, F., Bilbao, P., Dequilla, M. A. C., Germinal, A., Rosana, D., Violeta, M. (2016). Mother tongue for teaching and learning. 776 Aurora Blvd., Cor. Boston Street, Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila: Lorimar Publishing, INC.

Arola, S. (2017, March). Why is mother tongue so important for language learning? Retrieved from

Arzadon, C. et Al. (2020, August). 10 reasons why mother tongues in schools should be saved. Retrieved from

Awopetu, A. V. (2016). Impact of mother tongue on children’s learning abilities in early childhood classroom. Procedia- Social and Behavioral Sciences, 233(2016), 58- 63.

Ball, J. (2014, February). Children Learn Better in their Mother Tongue. Global Partnership for Education. Retrieved from

Behrmann, T. (2018). Evaluating the effects of mother tongue on Math and Science instruction of secondary school students: An action research study (Unpublished Dissertation). Capella University.

Beka, M. B. (2016). Mother tongue as a medium of instruction: Benefits and challenges.‏‏‏‏‏ International Journal of Language, Literature & Art Studies, 4(1), 16-26.

Bete, A. O. (2020). Students’ knowledge and process skills in learning grade-8 chemistry. Journal of Research, Policy & Practice of Teachers & Teacher Education, 10(1), 1-13.

Busari, O., Tatira, L., & Madzudzo, A. (2018). Teaching Science through the Mother Tongue: A Case Study of two Schools in Zimbabwe. Journal of Linguistics and Language in Education, 8(2), 66-77. Retrieved from

Burton, L. A. (2013). Mother tongue-based multilingual education in the Philippines: Studying top-down policy implementation from the bottom-up (Unpublished Dissertation). University of Minnesota.

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. 2007. Research methods in education. Routledge.

Dahm, R. & De Angelis, G. (2018). The role of mother tongue literacy in language learning and mathematical learning: is there a multilingual benefit for both?. International Journal of Multilingualism, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 15 (2), 194-213.

Espada, J. T., Bayrante, J. R., Mocorro, R. E., Vinculado, O. P., Vivero, P. M., Bongcaras, L. L., & Labarrette, R. A. (2017). Challenges in the implementation of the mother tongue-based multilingual education program: A case study. Research Journal of English Language and Literature, 5(4), 510-527.

Ezeokoli, F. O. & Ugwu, E. O. (2019). Parents’, teachers’ and students’ beliefs about the use and study of mother-tongue in the secondary schools in Akinyele Local Government Area, Oyo State, Nigeria. International Journal of Education & Literacy Studies, 7(2), 82-93.

Gall, M. D., Borg, W. R., & Gall, J. P. (1996). Educational research: An introduction. Longman Publishing.

Grabbe, J. W. (2015). Implications of Experimental versus Quasi-Experimental Designs. In: Strang K. D. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Research Design in Business and Management. Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Gorjian, B., & Sayyadian, M. (2017). A comparative study on bilinguals and monolingual learner reading comprehension. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Learning, 3(1), 9-16.

Han, J., & Park, K. (2017). Monolingual or bilingual approach: The effectiveness of teaching methods in second language classroom. Purdue Languages and Cultures Conference 2.

Jago, B. (2019, October). Monolingual vs. Multilingual Classes – Teaching English Abroad. Trinity CertTESOL. Retrieved from

Jaikumar, M. (2018, July 31). Quasi Experimental Design [PowerPoint Slides]. slideshare. Retrieved from

Jostol, M., Mapa, N., & Yu, L. S. (2020, December). Mother tongue is home: Reflections on MTB-MLE. Retrieved from

Kioko, A. (2015, January). Why schools should teach young learners in home language. British Council. Retrieved from

Lari, M. (2020, May). What are the advantages of bilingual method?. FINDANYANSWER.

Kioko, A. N., Ndung’u, R. W., Njoroge, M. C., & Mutiga, J. (2014). Mother tongue and education in Africa: Publicising the reality. Multilingual Education, 4(1), 18.

Manabat, A. (2016, October). DepEd implements mother tongue-based learning to make lessons more interactive, easier for pupils. Business Mirror. Retrieved from

Mohamed, O. I., & Lobo, Z. J. (2019). A comparative study between monolingual and bilingual teaching methodologies of English in a Health Sciences University in the United Arab Emirates. English Language Teaching, 13(1), 73-84.

Mwakira, G. (2021). The use of mother tongue language and its effect on academic performance in public schools in Kenya. International Journal of Linguistics, 1(1), 20-27. Retrieved from

Namanya, S. C. (2017). The effect of mother tongue-based multilingual education on the English literacy of children in Silang, Philippines. International Forum Journal, 20(2), 160-177. Retrieved from

Perez, N. B. (2019). A comparative study of the MTB-MLE programs in southeast Asian countries. American Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences Research, 3(6), 47-55.

Piper, B., Zuilkowski, S. S., Kwayumba, D., & Oyanga, A. (2018). Examining the secondary effects of mother-tongue literacy instruction in Kenya: Impacts on student learning in English, Kiswahili, and mathematics. International Journal of Educational Development, 59, 110-127.

Ramamoorthy, S. (2020, August). 8 reasons why the NEP’s move to teaching in mother tongue could transform teaching and learning in India. India Today. Retrieved from

Ricablanca, J. (2014). Effectiveness of mother tongue-based instruction on pupils’ achievement in Mathematics (Unpublished Manuscript). Central Mindanao University.

Rojas, S. M. (2016, March). Living and Learning the local language is a call. DepEd, Division of Malaybalay City. Retrieved from

Thomas, G., Anderson, D. Nashon, S. (2008). Development of an Instrument Designed to Investigate Elements of Science Students’ Metacognition, Self- Efficacy and Learning Processes: The SEMLI- S. International Journal of Science Education, 30(13), 17, 1701-1724.

Tomblin, B. (2019, August). The importance of mother tongue in education. Independent Education Today. Retrieved from

Vela, J. D. (2015). Primary Science Teaching to Bicolano Students: In Bicol, English or Filipino?. International Journal of Evaluation and Research in Education, 4(1), 8-15.

Villaruz, M. G. & Perez, D. (2020). Mother tongue-based multilingual education of indigenous peoples learners in Southern Palawan, Philippines. Quantum Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 1(5), 85-101. Retrieved from

White, H. & Sabarwal, S. (2014, September). Quasi- experimental design and methods. Methodological Briefs. Impact Evaluation No. 8. UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti. Florence, Italy. Retrieved from

How to Cite
Santiago, J. G., & Dagdag, J. D. (2021). The effect of mother tongue-based multilingual education on the Science achievement and metacognitive learning orientations of Ilocano grade 3 pupils: Implications for policy and practice. Journal of Research, Policy & Practice of Teachers and Teacher Education, 11(2), 46-58.