Vol. 7 (2017)
With this issue, we address four research areas in the social sciences: language teaching, linguistics, folklore, and migration. Using qualitative and quantitative designs, the papers articulate the issues confronting teachers, students, and migrants. The research sites include cities in the Philippines and Japan. As the research landscapes become multidisciplinary, the six papers discuss the apparent connection between teachers as instructors and teachers as researchers. Teaching is enhanced by research, and research provides teachers new perspectives to students’ learning. Corollary to this is the challenge of empirical data to link the micro level analysis to the macro realities as a system of discourse of both students in the academe and migrant Filipinos in other countries. This issue endeavors to reinvigorate the academic terrain of conducting research with the ebb and flow of educational philosophies and methodologies, extending its scope to identity construction and folk practices.
Teaching students with autism can be daunting when they are mixed with other students who are different from them. But in a learning environment where this concern is not adequately addressed in terms of support mechanism, the teacher has to devise means to make the students feel that they are part of the class. The paper on “The Hushed Voices of Autism: Chronicling Social and Academic Experiences in College” by Judith S. Cagaanan looks into the lived experiences of students with autism (SWA) at MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology. She explores the academic performance of the students and their social experiences using semi-structured interview. The phenomenological analysis of the data reveals that the will to succeed in their academics is hampered by everyday personal tussles. Various themes are identified and support system on their social and emotional needs are recommended.
A more focused quantitative study on anxiety among students at Western Mindanao State University (WMSU), a state university in Zamboanga City was investigated by the late Mario Mark B. Selisana, a PhD Language Studies student. His study seeks to correlate State-Trait Anxiety with linguistic competence of ninety (90) sophomore students. Using a standardized State-trait Anxiety Inventory (Speilberger 1991) and the Linguistic Competence Test on grammar and vocabulary (Salian, 2012), there is a significant relationship between anxiety and linguistic competence, but gender and course do not influence state-trait anxiety and linguistic competence. In addition, their language competence test on grammar and vocabulary is classified as “very good user”, suggesting more exposure to critical skills that involve evaluation of textual structure and lexical items. In this study, female and male students equally perform in the linguistic competence task.
Higher Education Institution (HEI) English teachers recognize the shift from grammatical versus functional syllabuses and cognitive versus experiential learning styles. However, it has been observed that assessing language proficiency remains grammar-based. The paper, “Assessment of Students’ English Oral Proficiency Based on Degree Programs: Implications for University Admissions Examinations” by Helen R. Betonio employs a modified oral proficiency test from the Texas Oral Proficiency Test (TOPT). To measure the respondents’ oral proficiency on functions, content, vocabulary, grammar, comprehensibility, and fluency, a one-way ANOVA test of Equality of means is used, followed by Post Hoc Analysis in relation to degree programs. The results show a significance level of 0.05 in all areas. This study has implications to the MSU-System Student Admission and Scholarship Examination (SASE) that has a Language Usage (LU) component. In some faculties of the Institute, students’ SASE scores in LU are used as bases in program admissions. Thus, test designers of SASE may revisit the test items of LU and reexamine them whether they objectively represent the language needs of the examinees.
The implementation of K+12 Basic Education in the country has initiated drastic reforms in the various curricula in the HEIs. With the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTBLE) framework, indigenous languages are revitalized. The paper “Varyasyong Leksikal Ng Mga Wikaing Bagobo-Tagabawa, Giangan at Obo-Manobo ng Lungsod Davao: Pokus sa Dimensyong Heyograpikal” by Luden L. Baterina argues that the three languages in Davao possess lexical variations but carry the same meanings while one language does not share the lexical variations of two languages. From the emerging variations, it is observed that each language has its distinct way of using words related to their respective topographies.
This linguistic phenomenon within sociolinguistics falls within Labov’s concept of language change that is partly a result of language contact. Using Meyerhoff’s (2011) analytical method of free variation, the study contributes to the growing literature on indigenous languages in terms of lexical variations.
Philippine folkways are intricately woven in our everyday lives. They do not only define us; in fact, they symbolize the worlds of the unknown, simplified as manifestations of supernatural powers. “The Mananambals and Their Functions in Philippine Culture” by Lourd Greggory D. Crisol and Efren John J. Oledan, the paper explores folk healing among practitioners in Iligan City. Reminiscent of the anthropological tradition of Malinowski and folklore studies of Dorson, the findings reveal that folk healers or mananambals attribute their craft to supernatural powers while their ability to diagnose illnesses and diseases are guided by various spirits. Similar to shamanism, these healers perform incantations to cure the patients, massage affected body parts, and prescribe herbal medicine. They also use amulets and trinkets to protect themselves from harmful spirits. Despite scientific advances in medical science, this study reifies the Filipinos’ sense of community where the folk healers, at least in Iligan City, still occupy a role and spirituality that remains grounded on folk healing, beliefs, and practices.
The economics of migration in Philippine context has resulted in brain drain, but Filipinos’ concept of nation in foreign lands keep them connected to the families, friends, and relatives they left behind. The paper “The Filipino migrants in Japan: Reconstructing Identity and Nation” by Nelia G. Balgoa interrogates the symbols and representations of Filipino identity through a Barrio Fiesta held in Yokohama, Japan. In depth interviews are used to document the migrants’ experiences while social semiotics provide the analytical tool. While the Filipinos during the fiesta index their identities through costumes and other semiotic resources of “Filipino-ness” in their fiesta kiosks, the study argues that identities are reconstructed and that the concept of nation is negotiated. As host country of the festival, Japan acts as a destabilizing entity, breathing its physical presence to Filipinos’ expressions of “home” or nation. Being a Filipino in Japan is a manifestation of multiple involvements that sometimes lead to negotiation rather than assimilation of Japanese identity or assertion of a stable Filipino identity.
The six articles in this issue reflect the dynamism of the College of Arts and Sciences of MSU-IIT’s attempt to foster a culture of research among its students and faculty members and the growing interdisciplinarity of research in the production and generation of knowledge.
For and in Behalf of the Editor,
Dr. Ivie C. Esteban
English Department, CASS, MSU-IIT