Learning Tagalog for Teachers

Cartoon: Tourist at the Banaue Rice Terraces

Are you looking for a practical, complete and engaging Tagalog course for your class?

Whether you teach online or in person, Learning Tagalog: Fluency Made Fast and Easy might be the perfect match for you!

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What is Learning Tagalog?

Learning Tagalog: Fluency Made Fast and Easy is a Tagalog course that prepares students (age 12 and up) to participate in conversations.

The course introduces all fundamental grammar topics in Essential Tagalog Grammar using lively dialogues and drills.

The course is divided into three levels, which take about 60 hours of classroom instruction each.

  • Level 1: Lessons 1–20, CEFR level A1 (beginner)
  • Level 2: Lessons 21–40, CEFR level A2 (beginner)
  • Level 3: Lessons 41–60, CEFR level B1 (intermediate)

The focus of the course is on conversational patterns and practical vocabulary (high-frequency words) in the Philippines.

The course comes in three formats (editions): Online, Ebook and Print. They cover the same material. The most suitable format depends on your preference and situation. The print materials are most suited for face-to-face teaching. The digital materials are suited for both, but the Online Edition requires an Internet connection, whereas the Ebook Edition can be used offline.

The course material includes:

  • Realistic dialogues and drills, explained with literal and natural translations, and notes
  • Tagalog audio recordings for every phrase
  • Workbook exercises that correspond to the lessons, with answer key
  • A comprehensive grammar reference with thousands of examples

For teachers and their students, we offer the three levels separately. We do not provide this to individual users, to keep our offering simple.

Volume discounts are available on group purchases. For digital editions, the school can then distribute 100% off coupons to the students. Pricing can be negotiated to match your school’s budget.

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Class instruction vs. self-study

Because the materials have been designed for self-study, you could simply guide the students through it with minimal preparation.

However, the great advantage of a class setting over self-study is the opportunity for interaction. Students can ask questions and engage in role-playing and get immediate feedback or correction.

The more students can study independently at home, the more time is left for questions and conversation practice in class.

Conversation practice is indispensable to become fluent, but requires a good foundation. The course allows students to build this foundation, either through classroom instruction or through self-study.

Ultimately, the balance between self-study and classroom instruction will depend on the age group and the objectives of your class. A college or university generally expects more self-study compared to other forms of classroom instruction.

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How to use the course in class

Whether through video conference or face-to-face, you can guide the students through each lesson and play the audio file of each sentence a few times. Then read the translations and the notes. If students have any questions, you can answer them at that point.

Students follow along using either the Online Edition, or an ebook or print copy of the course books. For face-to-face classes, the slides could be projected with a beamer and the audio played through a classroom sound system.

In online classes given over video conference, you can share your screen so that students can follow along.

In order to maintain focus on the story in the first reading, we suggest you wait with the grammar overviews in Essential Tagalog Grammar until you repeat the lesson.

The grammar reference will help you to explain any grammar points that may come up in questions.

Students can review Essential Tagalog Grammar online. You can give them a link to the relevant chapter via video conference. Alternatively, students can buy their own copy of the grammar as an ebook or in print.

Students can also play and imitate the audio at home in between classes to practice pronunciation. In one-on-one teaching, you could correct their pronunciation.

The Online Edition also has a flash-card mode with several options. In addition, students can create their own flash cards based on the sentences in the lessons. This helps with memorization and spelling.

After having reviewed a lesson thoroughly, students can do the workbook exercises, either as a quiz or for practice. The workbooks are included as ebooks with the Online Edition.

Below is a suggestion on how you could use the course in a classroom setting.

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Suggested lesson plan

We assume that class duration is 45 minutes to one hour.

Each lesson in the course needs to be reviewed at least twice. The first review would be on the next day or class, the second review after at least 5 other lessons have been covered. There are reminders for these later reviews in the course. Spaced repetition helps memorization.

You may need to adapt the plan below to your specific situation, depending on class size and age group. Try to gauge how well students absorb the material. If an entire lesson is too much for a single session, a lesson can be split over two sessions: one for the story and one for the drills. There are 20 lessons per level. If each lesson takes 3 sessions of one hour, that would make 60 sessions. If each lesson takes 4 sessions, that would make 80 sessions.

Your feedback on the suggested lesson plan below would be much appreciated!

Session 1: Start a new lesson

  1. Group activity
    • Go through each slide, play the audio 2–3 times, then read the translations and explanations (skip the grammar overviews in Essential Tagalog Grammar for now).
    • Play the lesson overview.
    • Answer any questions students may have.
  2. Individual activity
    • Let students repeat the phrases out loud for themselves and let them review the meanings of the words.
  3. Activity in pairs
    • Let students read the phrases in pairs (story and drills). If there is an odd number of students, you can work with the remaining student.

Session 2: First review and grammar overviews

  1. Group activity
    • Go through each slide again, playing the audio twice. Let students review the meaning of words they forgot.
    • Play the lesson overview.
    • Read the grammar topics in Essential Tagalog Grammar that were referred to in the lesson.
  2. Activity in pairs
    • Let students adapt the dialogues with some of their own words (they will become better at this as the course progresses). Help them with vocabulary. If they run out of time, they can finish it at home. If this is too challenging, you can provide a few ideas or variations yourself and let students choose which one they’ll role-play.
  3. Group activity
    • If time allows, let them role-play their modified dialogues in pairs and correct any mistakes.

Session 3: Workbook

In preparation for this session, have students review the lesson on their own at home. Have them listen to the audio as well. If you like, you can ask them to make flash cards and test one another, working in pairs, before doing the workbook exercises in this session.

If not all student pairs were able to present their dialogues, let them do this at the start of the session.

Then, let the students do the workbook exercises. After that, correct any mistakes with the whole class. You can let the students find and correct their own mistakes so they remember the correct answers.

The workbooks are a good way to gauge whether the students are ready to move on to the next lesson, or whether they need to review the current lesson one more time. You may want to add more exercises if the students need them.

If appropriate, the workbook exercises can be used as a graded quiz. Or, you could create quizzes similar to those in the workbooks, and have a quiz every few lessons.

If the above activities do not fit in 3 sessions, you could use a fourth session to complete the lesson.

Repeat the above sequence of sessions for each lesson of the current level.

After every 5 lessons, we suggest you have a quick review of the previous 5 lessons by playing the lesson overviews. For example, before moving on to Lesson 11, you might want to review Lessons 1–5. This would take 10–15 minutes. It gives students the chance to write down any words they forgot and then review their meanings afterwards.

If you have time left in your lesson plan, after Lesson 60, you might want to cover topics in Essential Tagalog Grammar that aren’t covered in the course.

Feel free to add examples or variations of the sentences in the course or in the grammar. After that, conversation practice could focus on role-playing various situations, talking about hobbies or anything that engages the students.

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Tailoring the lesson plan to the group

You may have to adapt the lesson plan and activities above to the size, age and background of the group.

Younger students naturally need more time and perhaps more examples to explain the grammar. One way to give more examples is to replace words by other words without changing the grammatical patterns. For example, replacing si Mary with ang babae.

More mature students are more independent and able to review grammar alone. They can also more easily come up with variations in dialogues at home (activities in Session 2 above), or working with their partner through chat.

If you have too little time to cover all the material in class, you could ask more mature students to review the grammar at home first and prepare any questions for classroom discussion.

At the university level, or for adults, it would be possible to use this course mainly for self-study and use classroom time for questions, sentence variations, additional examples and conversation practice.

Conversation practice is indispensable to reach fluency. It cannot be practiced alone. Inviting students to role-play and helping them adapt the dialogues to what they want to say is both fun, emotionally engaging, and very effective. The crucial part is that it sounds native and is not an unnatural-sounding translation from English. Students will need your help with that. It takes a native speaker to tell whether something sounds natural. Students could submit their dialogues for feedback between sessions if there is not enough time in class.

The order in which the phrases, vocabulary and grammar topics are presented has been carefully thought through to be very practical while still being easy enough to follow.

Of course you can deviate from the lessons or include other materials. In any case, you can save a lot of time by using the dialogues and grammar in the course. They can serve as a starting point to introduce the building blocks of conversation, even if you choose to add other topics and materials to your curriculum.

You’ll surely find it easy to come up with sentences with the same grammatical patterns that students are already familiar with.

With a smaller group, more interaction is possible with each of the students. For larger groups, where giving feedback to customized dialogues is not feasible, you could provide a number of set alternatives upfront for students to choose from. Keep it fun and light!

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For questions, comments or suggestions, you can reach us at team (at) learningtagalog.com.

If you’d like to browse the entire course, please contact us.

We wish you success and a lot of fun in class!

Frederik and Fiona De Vos

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