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Keeping the Filipino language alive in Australia through Tagalog Learning Inc.

Tagalog Learning Inc. continues to grow during the pandemic, as more people join online classes to learn Filipino in Australia.

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By May Red Zafra, Teacher, Tagalog Learning Inc.

“How amazing it is to learn my parents’ language.” “I want to surprise my Lola by speaking in Filipino when I visit her in the Philippines next year.”

These are just some of the remarks you will hear from the students of Tagalog Learning Inc. The not-for-profit organisation recently celebrated its first anniversary. A milestone indeed, considering twelve months ago, this Language Maintenance Program was just a pilot project in the city of Brimbank.

Back then, the team was concerned about the sustainability of the project, as there is no solid source of funding. But with the collaborative efforts from its dedicated team of volunteers, supportive partners, cooperative parents and highly motivated and engaging students, Tagalog Learning Inc. has planted its roots firmly in the community.

From initially having ten regular students, and one class per week, it has now catered to more than 50 students with a total of six online classes running every weekend. Before the pandemic, the team was teaching face-to-face classes in Delahey Community Centre, unfortunately, this had to be temporarily suspended to follow the ongoing government restrictions. Despite that, the organisation adapted to the new normal by offering classes online.

Listening to the stories is an important part of learning Filipino | Photo credit: Tagalog Learning Inc.

At the moment, the team reads Filipino children stories through their Facebook group every Saturday at 1:30 PM and share these recorded storytelling videos through their YouTube channel so more and more kids all over Australia can benefit. They conduct online classes for teens on Saturdays, and online classes for adults on Sundays. They have also reached more students, now having students not only from Melbourne but in Sydney as well.

Tagalog Learning Inc., aims to celebrate, maintain, and enrich the Filipino language, culture, and tradition through its classes. It is committed to continue teaching free Filipino classes for children and teens for years and years to come.

Volunteer teachers are encouraging Filipino parents, to engage their children in learning the Filipino language, as it does not only improve a child’s understanding of his or her own heritage but it also strengthens ones’ self-identify and intensifies their intergenerational familial bond.

Tagalog Learning Inc. would be happy to teach more Filipinos the native tongue of their parents and they can be contacted through their Facebook group “Tagalog Learning Melbourne” or through their email; tagalog.learning.melbourne@gmail.com.

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