Friday, May 4, 2012

Tandem Telling: Juan Tamad and The Rice Pot

The Regional Conference on School Librarianship: Directions for the Future of School Libraries in Bacolod was, indeed, a memorable conference. I had a great time with friends, old and new, from the profession. Presenting a paper and a workshop was a good breather for me now that I keep a full time job.
When school librarians go out of their schools to see the bigger learning community, horizons are broadened and linkages are fortified. This help in establishing professional learning
network (PLN) that is essential for continuing professional education. In an industry that changes so fast, thanks to technology, a support system via PLN is a compass for the school librarian who navigates a library in a sea of constant influx. PLNs also offer collaborative opportunities to further strengthen programs and services.

The thing with collaboration is that, it can be done in many ways from the simplest to the most complex of tasks. Take for example the storytelling workshop I had in the conference.

In my storytelling workshop, I took the opportunity to tandem tell with another librarian who hails from Bacolod. Mr. Melquiades "Milky" Alipo-on graciously said yes and together we told the story of Juan Tamad and the Rice Pot. This folk tale is from Batangas and is found in the collection Tales From the 7,000 Isles (de Las Casas and Gagatiga, 2011). Batangas is a province in the Southern Tagalog Region of the Philippines. The tandem telling was impromptu. Milky Alipo-on translated into Hiligaynon the Tagalog version I told. And he was awesome! He even sang a lullaby in his mother tongue, the Dandansoy, to add in the story a Negrense flavor. A link of a video clip can be viewed here.

In light of this experience, I could not help but think about the issue on developing resources and materials on the mother tongue. Language is learned orally. To listen and to speak the language leads one into acquiring and learning from it and about it. I will make it a point to always include a tandem telling using the mother tongue in all my workshops.
Now I have to thank Margaret Read McDonald, Dr. Wagupta Tosaa of Thailand for demonstrating this technique way back in 2002  at the Singapore Storytelling Carnival; and to EthnoTec for performing in tandem at the 1st Manila International Storytelling Festival. It was inspirational to watch you all, fantastic storytellers! My gratitude goes out as well to Dean Dina Ocampo of the UP Diliman, College of Education for giving me the opportunity to run a storytelling workshop during the Mother Tongue Instruction Institute in 2009 where in I asked participants to do tandem telling of their favorite folk tale in Filipino and their mother tongue. Such experiences would not have led me to continue on experimenting ways to use tandem telling.

If we all work together and collaborate, surely, we are effectively using our time and putting our talents into good use.

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