Overwhelming Response to the 1st NCWoLL, a Department of English-Hosted National Conference

by Michelle Jeanne C. Caracut, Office of the Chancellor (with reports from members of NCWoLL Documentation Committee)

Featuring award-winning writers and language education experts as resource persons and a geographically well-represented audience, the first National Conference-Workshop on Language and Literature (NCWoLL) organized by MSU-IIT’s Department of English exceeded all expectations during its three-day run last week.

The Department of English was overwhelmed by the response from participants since opening registration for the NCWoLL in the morning of November 9 at the Amphitheater of the Institute’s College of Engineering and Technology (COET).     

As many as 300 teachers from various private and public elementary and high schools, and state universities and colleges, as well as undergraduate and graduate students – twice more than the expected number –  registered for the November 9-11 NCWoLL.

The participants came from the National Capital Region, Visayas Region, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Calabarzon, Soccsksargen, Davao, and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.

The NCWoLL served as an avenue for experts and participants to share trends and current practices and discuss challenges and solutions to issues concerning the teaching of the English language and literature. It consisted of a series of plenary sessions, paper presentations, parallel workshops, and a cultural night.

The plenary speakers for the NCWoLL were Dr. Rolando B. Tolentino, Professor of the University of Philippines-Diliman and former director of the UP Film Institute; Dr. James Howard McLellan, Senior Assistant Professor of the University of Brunei Darussalam; Dr. Melanie P. Estacio, Language Program Supervisor of the Department of Education, Region XI, Davao City; and Dr. Aurelio P. Vilbar of the University of the Philippines-Cebu.

Dr. Steven Patrick C. Fernandez, playwright and director of the MSU-IIT’s Culture and Arts Studies Center and the Cultural Development Office, also served as a plenary speaker.

Palanca-award winning poet, essayist, and fictionist, former dean of the Institute of Arts and Sciences of Far Eastern University (FEU), and former faculty of the English Department of MSU-IIT, Dr. Jaime An Lim keynoted the NCWoLL.

Sharing his thoughts on the politics of language and literature, An Lim pointed out that language and literature “are not free from the hold of politics. If anything, politics is very much part in the very history and nature of language and literature.”

He explained this premise through the lens of Philippine history, particularly looking at how the Spanish and English languages flourished in the country as mediums of communication, as well as instruments of domination and power.

“There is no space in our country that is not polluted by the inescapable exhalation of politics. Politics, not just as the art and practice of governance or organized control over a community or country, but politics, as in general and complex web of power relations among various entities and elements. In a multicultural and multilingual setting, politics is especially omnipresent,” An Lim said.

The NCWoLL was conducted in partnership with FEU.

FEU Institute of Arts and Sciences Dean Joel M. Chavez was on hand for the opening of the conference-workshop. Chavez came to MSU-IIT together with 21 of his colleagues and students, including the Program Head of FEU’s Department of English, Dr. Philip Jay N. Alcoberes.

MSU-IIT Chancellor Sukarno D. Tanggol welcomed the conference-workshop participants and challenged them to think of different approaches in the teaching of literature and language.

“Language and literature are keys to nation-building,” Tanggol told the participants.

Department of English chairperson Dr. Nelia G. Balgoa, for her part, gave the rationale for the activity that saw fifty-four research papers presented.

The research papers presented focused on the following topics: Analyzing Discourse Dynamics; Discoursing the Legal, Academic, Cultural, and Conversational Texts; Strategizing Teaching and Testing; Reconstructing Texts and Developing Effective Strategies; Language Change , Attitudes and Etymology; Decoding Missing Voices in Philippine Languages; Analyzing Markers and Arguments for Comprehension; Contextualizing Images and Themes in Social Media, Radio, and TV; Exploring Social Media Influences on Academic and Intellectual Communication; Echoing Identities in Literary Genres; Linguistic Approach to Reading Literary Genres; Assessing Cultural Relevance of IMs to MTB-MLE; Applying MTB-MLE Framework in the Classroom; Indexing Indigenous Identities through Cultural Practices; Relativizing Language, Texts, and Culture; Communication, Media and Internet; and, Writing Discourse.

Five parallel workshops were also conducted during the NCWoLL.

These workshops were the following: Discovering Iligan’s Diyandi through a Grammar Class by  Prof. Arthur P. Pizaro (FEU); Postponement and Performance by Prof. Ariel R. Valeza and Prof. Eda Lou Ochangco (FEU); Storytelling Workshop with Michelle C by Asst. Prof. Michelle Jeanne C. Caracut (MSU-IIT); Doing Action Research in Language and Literature by Dr. Ivie C. Esteban and Dr. Alita T. Roxas (MSU-IIT); and, The Language of Peace and Conflict Resolution: Conversation on the Construction of Meanings and Non-Violent Processes by Prof. Saturnina S. Rodil (MSU-IIT).

Performances by the Integrated Performing Arts Guild (IPAG), OCTAVA Chorale Society, and the Kalilang Ensemble, showcasing Mindanao’s diverse culture, highlighted the NCWoLL’s cultural night. The AB English Organization (ABEO) Playhouse also performed Anton Chekhov’s “The Boor” for the conference-workshop participants.

NCWoLL is a realization of the Institute’s Memorandum of Understanding with FEU. The second NCWoLL is slated to be held next year at FEU.   

Photos by: NCWoLL Documentation Committee and Ms. Mae Lucille A. Bayron, OPI

Topics : NCWoLL  national conference  English language  literature