Reviving the Blaan Art of Storytelling to Improve Literacy and Develop a Community of Readers in South Central Mindanao
We implemented this innovative project to improve literacy and develop a community of readers in South Central Mindanao through the Blaan art of storytelling: Flalok.
The Flalok Project supports the aim of the Department of Education’s Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTBMLE) paradigm to provide learners with a strong educational foundation in their first language in terms of instruction. This project was implemented from 2015 to 2018, in partnership with the Gerry Roxas Foundation through the PhilAM Fund, and with sponsorship from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
CLAFI carried out the project by first collecting and documenting a total of 144 Flalok stories, passed on via oral tradition by story bearers from different Blaan Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICC). This was done after the Blaan Indigenous Cultural Community granted their Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) to participate in the project.
Using these stories, the project team worked with Blaan DepEd teachers, Blaan tribal leaders and elders and the Department of Education-Sarangani to develop materials such as Flalok Big Books (story books), Teacher Guides (TG), Learner Materials (LM), and Alphabet Chart, which were used to conduct mother tongue Flalok classes in Blaan schools across South Central Mindanao.
Beyond simply addressing the need for improved literacy, the project helped strengthen the Blaan’s cultural identity, and helped preserve stories that were only once passed down through oral tradition.
A total of 130 partner Blaan schools now implement Blaan MTBMLE:
- 69 from Sarangani
- 38 from South Cotabato
- 15 from General Santos City
- 8 from Koronadal City
- 8 from Sultan Kudarat
The project benefited a total of 15,298 Blaan learners. Today, this project is sustained by DepEd and our partner local government units who continue to reproduce and distribute the learning materials to the beneficiary schools.
Through this project, reading assessment results of Grade 1 and Grade 2 pupils increased from 58% in pre-test to 88% in post-test*, which proves that the project is successful in reinforcing literacy using the developed Blaan mother tongue materials.
This project was also featured on USAID’s Exposure page, “The Value of a Story”.