Representatives from the Myanmar Education Consortium (MEC) and its partner organisations participated in a six week long Mother Tongue Based – Multi Lingual Education (MTB-MLE) course in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The aim of the course, delivered through a partnership between SIL International and Payap University, was to develop the participants understanding of MTB-MLE.
The course was structured in order to equip the participants with a concrete understanding of how a longer four year MTB-MLE course would be delivered within Myanmar. For many of the participants, the concept of MTB-MLE was a new one, therefore discussions surrounding the theory behind the importance and value of an MTB-MLE education were a core component.
The participants learnt about why it is important to design an MTB-MLE programme that follows a curriculum which enables children to learn through different languages, beginning with their mother tongue language, referred to as L1. When children become proficient at learning through this familiar language, the main language of instruction (L2), is introduced in order for the children to fully access the curriculum.
Workshops were held that enabled representatives with a range of language backgrounds to create learning materials in their own mother tongue language. These resources included reading primers, big books, busy pictures, reading books, oral stories, poems and songs. Tailoring these resources to the local culture through traditions, festivals and seasonal events was highlighted as one of great importance. Following the production of L1 materials, the participants learnt about methods used to transition between the mother tongue language and the main language of instruction, further developing materials to support this.
On completion of the course, the participants were able to return to their local organization to pilot the materials that they had created. They also went on to become key members of the larger MTB-MLE course facilitated through MEC, supporting further participants from their organizations with their thorough understanding of MTB-MLE.