We are grateful to the UCCLLT and its Director Dr. Robert J. Blake for the 2005-2006 Instructional Grant to develop this material that is aligned with the Heritage Language Curriculum for Filipino and the University’s mission of Excellence through Diversity.
In some respect, and to a small degree, we see this Project as an historical endeavor in language teaching. There has not been a curriculum expressly developed to address the needs of the growing Filipino heritage population in the Filipino language classrooms in universities and high schools of California. This is also the first time that a consortium of instructors of Filipino has worked collaboratively to produce such a current and timely material, benefiting not only our “heritage learners” but teachers in the field as well.
Through this Project, we come together from the “frontline” of our respective classrooms with our common challenges and varied areas of expertise. We are from the UC System: UCLA, UC San Diego, and UC Berkeley; from schools beyond UC: the City College of San Francisco, the University of San Francisco, The Defense Language Institute, California high schools namely James Logan High School in Union City, Morse High School, Bonita Vista High School and Miramar College in San Diego, and SEASITE at the Northern Illinois University. This was written in the thick of our teaching responsibilities during the funding year.
The goal for the funding period (July 1, 2005-June 30, 2006) was to develop a content-based culturally rich curriculum for “heritage language learners” of Filipino, and to post it on a website to serve as a “textbook on the web” or as a resource for other practitioners. We only ask that, as materials are used in teaching, the source be duly cited. There are 15 content-based units in all. Each unit introduces a topic on culture that is relevant to the Filipino-American experience. Its aim is to enhance, not detract from the learning of the non-heritage learners. Each Unit opens with a Cultural Essay in English to serve as a background or theme for the class, during the two weeks that each unit will be covered. The unit ends with a project wherein students are given scenarios that offer an opportunity to function in the language on the Unit’s topic of cultural interest. This course material is intended for one academic year of introductory Filipino. A two-semester course might cover Units 1 through 8 in the Fall, and Units 9 through 15 in the Spring. A course running on a quarter-term basis might cover five units per quarter. The trained instructor has full control of adapting the material to the level and needs of the class.
The Project’s potential is limited only by funding and time. The website is still in the initial stages of development. Work is far from being a fully interactive medium. For now, we are pleased and privileged to offer the product of our yearlong collaboration to the teachers who, like us, ultimately have the challenge of bringing the material to life in the classroom.
University of California, Berkeley
Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies