The Council for Teaching Filipino Language and Culture (CTFLC) and San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) held its virtual Closing Program for the Dalawang Baybayin/Two Shores, a Virtual Intercultural Exchange Program this year on May 20 & 21, 2022, both San Diego and Philippines via Zoom. Two countries, the Philippines and the United States, worked for seven months. The project started with a virtual kickoff on October 15, 2021. The project was participated in by schools from the Philippines and schools from Sweetwater Union High School District, San Diego Unified School District, and Poway Unified School District. The schools from San Diego were Bonita Vista, Eastlake High School, Eastlake Middle, Olympian High School, Otay Ranch High School, and Sweetwater High School. These schools are from Sweetwater Union High School District. From Poway Unified School district were Mr. Carmel High School and Westview High School. From the San Diego Unified School district were Challenger Middle School, and Morse High School.
The goal of this program is to enhance learning during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting distance learning contexts, to expand horizons, remove barriers and promote communication and intercultural understanding, through a linguistic, cultural, and educational exchange within a flexible framework. The objectives include providing an educational, linguistic, and cultural exchange between schools in the USA and the Philippines, establishing international ties and a collaborative framework for participating schools in the County of San Diego and the Philippines with similar characteristics, and promoting the use of Filipino and English languages in the context of authentic communicative situations for students and teachers.
Under the leadership of Ivy Dulay Daulo, Co-Chair, Outreach & Advocacy Committee, Dalawang Baybayin Steering Committee, and Rizalyn Cruz, the president of Council for Teaching Filipino Language and Culture (CTFLC), and under the guidance of Dr. Eva Pando Solis, Coordinator, World Languages Multilingual Education & Global Achievement Learning and Leadership Services San Diego County Office of Education, the project was created, launched, piloted, and ended successfully. With the support of The Philippine Consular office in Los Angeles, CTFLC was able to accomplish this program even with the pandemic constraints. The teachers and students who participated in this program have learned a lot and enjoyed the exchange of learning. It is significant evidence that, even from a distance, communication will still happen. With “Dalawang Baybayin,” students from the Philippines were able to meet new friends who are English speakers, and the students from San Diego met friends from the Philippines who spoke Filipino.
This program really helped students realize the importance of communication and intercultural understanding. It is hoped that this program will continue to make more students have firsthand experience of talking to a native speaker of a language they are learning.