Thursday, December 09, 2021

Sungduan: For inclusive education

Stand Up for Life

AN ILOKANO Lexicographer based in Hawaii, USA revealed new proposals for Inclusive Education.

At the International Educators’ Forum on Language Teacher Education held on April 24, 2021 and attended by almost 400 educators in many parts of the world including participants from Ecuador, Mongolia, Pakistan, the United States, South Korea, and the Philippines, Dr. Aurelio Solver Agcaoili unraveled new proposal on liberatory education.

Agcaoili, a member of the instructional faculty of the University of Hawaii, proposed for the urgency of accounting all Philippine languages and to not only recognize a handful for mother language education.

Founding the Nakem Conferences in the United States in 2006 and seeing the founding of a country counterpart in the Philippines, the Nakem Conferences Philippines in 2007, he has been at the forefront in the struggle for linguistic justice, cultural democracy, and emancipatory education in the Philippines and in the United States.

In his talk on “Ilokano Lexicography for Liberatory Education: Theory and Practice,” he argued that the country is obligated to make sure that all Philippine languages not only survive but thrive.

He defined the thriving of a language as its use not only in the home and in the community, but its use as well in education, in public services, and in the professions.

Agcaoili also proposed that all languages including Ilokano must adopt an attitude of aggiornamento or updating.

He said that Ilokano, in its present state, cannot fully perform its task in all these domains of social life if it does not update.

To pursue that goal, he said that language scholars must become aware of the sources of the corpus of the language they are working on, respect the corpus, but must be critical of areas where domains need to be expanded, enriched, or updated.

In the case of Ilokano, he demonstrated the need to have what he calls “Low Ilokano” as the state-of-affairs of that language, and a “High Ilokano” as the evolved form that can respond to all the challenges of the community, the professions, and the rest of the domains of intellectual and social life. In between those categories, he talks of a concentric circle that makes it possible to have a transitory category, the “Middle Ilokano.”

Agcaoili, one of the foremost lexicographers of the Ilokano language, is currently working on his Multilingual Ilokano Dictionary and Thesaurus.

Previously, he has worked on four other dictionaries including a monolingual Ilokano dictionary and an Ilokano grammar written in Ilokano.

In December 2020, along with Nakem Philippines President Dr.AlegriaVisaya, Agcaoili led the holding of the 15th Nakem International Conference on “Inclusion and Critical Engagement in Education in the Time of Covid-19.”

The conference was participated in by more than two hundred academics, cultural workers, teachers, researchers, writers, and representatives of local government units.

At the aforesaid educators’ forum, conference wherein the participants were encouraged to work for more equitable education, Agcaoili expressed the view and warned that if the world does not listen to the needs of indigenous linguistic communities, the international community including the Philippines will see more and more of cases of linguicide or the systemic killing of languages.

A multi-awarded scholar, poet, fictionist, novelist, and educator, Agcaoili received in 2019 the United States Fulbright Scholarship. The University of the Philippines Baguio had also awarded him an appointment as Visiting Professor in the areas of language and culture.

On May 8, Agcaoili will again deliver a talk for scholars, educators, cultural workers, and students particularly from Southeastern University in Mindanao. His talk will be centered on “Indigeneity, Engaged Inclusion, and the Philippine First Nations.”

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