HomeGood BalitaCavite State University's Lady Aileen Orsal Makes History as Harvard's First-ever Instructor...

Cavite State University’s Lady Aileen Orsal Makes History as Harvard’s First-ever Instructor for Filipino Language Course

Aileen Orsal Harvard Filipino Language Course
Lady Aileen Orsal is the new preceptor in Filipino languages (Tagalog) at the Harvard University Asia Center Department of South Asian Studies. Photo courtesy of Harvard University and Lady Aileen Orsal.

In a historic move that puts the spotlight on Filipino language and culture, Lady Aileen Orsal, a proud alumna and former faculty member of Cavite State University (CvSU) in the Philippines, takes the helm as Harvard University’s first-ever instructor for its inaugural Filipino language course. Starting today, September 5, 2023, Orsal will be teaching introductory and intermediate Filipino (Tagalog) classes, marking a monumental milestone not just for herself, but for Filipinos around the globe.

The Harvard University Asia Center and the Department of South Asian Studies announced the hiring of the Filipino educator as Preceptor in Filipino Languages (Tagalog) last August 25, following its notice earlier this year about the new language course offering, the first time such an academic program will be taught in Harvard’s nearly four-hundred-year history.

In its announcement, Harvard noted how Filipino (Tagalog) is currently the fourth most spoken language in the U.S. (after English, Spanish, and Chinese). It also gave an assurance that Filipino language will always be taught at the Ivy League school after the university received an endowment to fund the program.

“We are extremely happy to welcome Lady Aileen Orsal to the Harvard community,” said James Robson, Victor and William Fung Director at Harvard University Asia Center in the Harvard Gazette report. “We look forward to working with her to develop, highlight, and showcase the richness and variety of the history and cultures of the Philippines through events on the Harvard campus.”

Orsal received her B.A. in Mass Communication from Cavite State University in the Philippines in 2012, and her M.A. in Philippine Studies in 2017. She began teaching the Filipino language as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Northern Illinois University in 2018. She also taught Filipino at Cavite State University.

Even while teaching at Harvard University, Orsal will continue her studies to complete two degrees by 2024: an M.A. in Communication from Northern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in Philippine Studies from De La Salle University (DLSU).

Aside from her impressive teaching credentials, Lady Aileen Orsal is also credited with notable published research on the coffee culture of the Philippines, the use of music in political campaign jingles, and traditional tattoo art.


Elementary Filipino (Tagalog) I

MTWTh, 9:00–10:15 a.m.

This course is designed for learners of the basic skills of listening, reading, writing, and speaking in Filipino (vocabulary and basic grammar). Also, the introduction of some concepts relevant to Philippine culture

Intermediate Filipino (Tagalog) I

MTWTh, 10:30–11:45 a.m.

This course is designed to increase the learner’s communicative competence in Filipino. This objective is to enhance students’ comprehension of more difficult sentence constructions as well as a variety of literature pertinent to Philippine culture, traditions, history, and other current issues in the Filipino community.


Elementary Filipino (Tagalog) II

TWThF, 9:00–10:15 a.m.

This course has the same goal as Elementary Filipino (Tagalog), which is to equip students with the skills necessary to communicate in the target language and comprehend simple texts in situations including the home, classroom, and community. They will be better able to participate in conversations about everyday issues or straightforward transactions.

Intermediate Filipino (Tagalog) II

TWThF, 4:30–5:45 p.m.

This course has the same objective as Intermediate Filipino (Tagalog) I, which, using a combination of communicative, content-based, task-based, and other pertinent approaches, prepares students to fulfill daily demands in the target language. Additionally, it equips the students to participate in a range of communicative scenarios and social exchanges, ensuring that the acquired language abilities will be put to use in real-world contexts.

Advanced Filipino (Tagalog)

TWThF, 6:00–7:00 p.m.

The overall objective of this course is for advanced-level students to become more proficient communicators. This course will assist students in exhibiting their ability to hold a conversation in Filipino and write reports and reviews on topics in a variety of formats, in addition to preparing them to comprehend larger texts in the target language. And at the end of it, the students must be able to articulate their thoughts on a range of social topics that are pertinent to the Philippine setting and the viewpoint of all Filipinos worldwide, in addition to being able to accomplish communicative tasks with fluency.

Filipino language and culture courses have previously been offered at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, and the schools of Alberta in Canada.

Don’t miss out on this inspiring story—share it with your friends and family to celebrate a monumental milestone for the Filipino community both here and abroad!

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Junie Mae N. Batocael
Junie Mae N. Batocael
Not just any student, but a BA Journalism student currently in my senior year! A future-known journalist, and yup - that`s me, Junie. Feature writer and editor of Ang Kawayan (2011–2012), Ang Trailblazer (2013–2015), and Panitik Imuseno (2016) serving you with factual good news.

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