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Empowering Futures: Filipino Bilingual Program

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The largest school division in Winnipeg is enthusiastic about offering Tagalog instruction to its students. The Manitoba Association of Filipino Teachers initiated the Filipino bilingual program, which started last September 2023 at Meadows West School.

Paul Ong, vice principal of Meadows West School and Loreta Genota, a Filipino bilingual teacher, explains that teaching Tagalog to Filipinos in Canada holds significant importance for several reasons: 

  • Preservation of Culture and Identity: Learning Tagalog helps Filipino-Canadians maintain a connection to their cultural heritage. It allows them to communicate with family members, understand traditional customs, and participate in cultural events within their community. 
  • Family Communication: Many Filipino-Canadians have family members who primarily speak Tagalog. By learning the language, they can strengthen bonds with relatives, share stories, and maintain strong familial connections across generations. 
  • Integration and Inclusivity: Offering Tagalog instruction promotes inclusivity within Canadian society by recognizing and valuing the linguistic diversity of its population. It provides opportunities for Filipino-Canadians to share their language and culture while fostering a sense of belonging. 
  • Career Opportunities: Proficiency in Tagalog can enhance career prospects for Filipino-Canadians, particularly in fields such as translation, interpretation, international business, tourism, and diplomatic services. It opens doors to employment opportunities both within Canada and internationally. 
  • Cultural Understanding: Learning Tagalog enables non-Filipino Canadians to gain insight into Filipino culture, values, and perspectives. This fosters cross-cultural understanding and appreciation, contributing to a more diverse and harmonious society. 
  • Education and Academic Success: For Filipino-Canadian children, learning Tagalog can positively impact their cognitive development and academic performance. Bilingualism has been shown to enhance language skills, problem-solving abilities, and overall academic achievement. 
  • Heritage Language Maintenance: Teaching Tagalog in Canada supports maintaining and revitalizing heritage languages among immigrant communities. It ensures that future generations of Filipino-Canadians can speak, read, and write in Tagalog, preserving this aspect of their cultural identity. 

Teaching Tagalog to Filipinos in Canada is vital for cultural preservation, family connections, integration, career opportunities, cultural understanding, academic success, and heritage language maintenance. It enriches the multicultural fabric of Canadian society and strengthens ties between Canada and the Filipino diaspora. 

– Lourdes Federis, U Multicultural

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