HomeThe Asia-Pacific Education Researchervol. 19 no. 2 (2010)

Towards a Culturally-Relevant Pedagogy: Importance of Culturally-Sensitive Teaching Materials and Methodology

Aleli B. Bawagan

Discipline: Education



The Iraya Mangyans are the indigenous peoples in the uplands of Northern Mindoro, Southern Luzon, Philippines. They have a distinct culture – language, farming practices, spiritual beliefs, customary laws and a social organization different from the lowland political organization and hierarchy. Over the years, they have subsisted on slash-and-burn farming and other economic activities such as producing abaca, weaving baskets, selling of their farm products to the lowland market, and working in the farms of the Tagalogs. Their communities experience discrimination, exploitation and oppression from the majority lowland populace, leaving them impoverished and marginalized. With the very little cash they have, they are forced to sacrifice much, and one of this is in the formal education of their children. Most of them only finish until Grade 2 in the government primary school in their village. Yet many of them desire to finish at least high school. Aside from the financial woes, the Irayas are faced with a situation wherein lowland teachers and students discriminate against them. This paper will share the lessons learned from the experience of the use of culturally-sensitive teaching materials such as video documentaries which helped teachers understand better the situation of the Mangyans and discover ways of being more culturally–relevant in their teaching. Moreover, the use of reflection papers as a culturally-sensitive teaching method will be highlighted.