Showing posts from April, 2012

ChemStart: Looking Back

As the semester unwinds, we are now in the period of giving our concluding lectures. The following is a story that I share with my students this semester - In a way, it summarizes what we went through....
It was my last semester as an undergraduate student at the Ateneo. Fr. Schmitt wanted to see me in his office. Apparently, a rumor has reached him that I was interested in pursuing a teaching career. He was actually a bit surprised, but he offered me a temporary position in the department. I was excited, as two of my classmates were likewise staying after graduation to teach. But I was disappointed after meeting Fr. Schmitt, while my friends would have their own courses to teach, I would be working as a teaching assistant to Fr. Schmitt in his ChemStart program. He basically thought that I was not yet ready for prime time. ChemStart was a summer program which introduced chemistry to high school students who had just finished second year. It was an opportunity to provide high school …

Hooray! No More Trigonometry

Note:  Since the publication of the article, I have been made aware of reactions from DepEd. Although DepEd order no. 31 s.2012 failed to mention trigonometry in enclosure 1, page 3, trigonometry is indeed part of the spiral curriculum for Mathematics in Grade 10 (the old fourth year high school) - as described in a draft of the curriculum made in January. In this draft, the first three years of high school (Grades 7-9) will cover algebra, geometry, and statistics and probability every year in a spiral fashion. This is good news. The bad news is that the article below is not so much about not having trigonometry. The article begins with a reaction (which seems happy) of a teacher after finding out that trigonometry is not part of the curriculum, but the rest talks about why science must be taught in early childhood. DepEd may have missed the science education part which is the central topic of the article but what is more disconcerting is that DepEd missed a deeper side of the article…

DepEd's Spiral Curriculum

Read more on this topic in DepEd's Spiral Curriculum II.

"Mapapagbuti na natin ang kaalaman ng mga mag-aaral sa Agham at Matematika sa pagsusulong ng spiral approach sa ating bagong curriculum," the DepEd chief said. (With the spiral approach in the new curriculum, we will improve learning in math and science)

Note: DepEd's current approach to reforming the basic educational system in the Philippines is an example of a spiral approach. DepEd tries to cover too many things at one time, without focus and prioritization. DepEd does not see the importance of "First Things First", the importance of prerequisites, the essence of mastery. In a layered reform, as opposed to spiral, the roots of the problems are first addressed: shortages, before boldly taking ambitious programs that are not going to be supported properly. In this s…

The Wisdom behind Deped's Short School Hours

And why is Grade 1 reduced to only half a day? In many countries with K to 12, Grade 1 is a full day. “Unlike in other countries, many of our Grade 1 students spend hours walking to and from school,” Luistro says. “They are tired when they reach school. I want them to enjoy school, not (to feel) that (it) is imposed on them.”
From: Straight talk on K to 12 By

First, In the US, if a student lives beyond one mile from the public school assigned, transportation by school bus is provided, otherwise, students here walk. Second, if this is the reason why school hours are shorter then it illustrates how badly policies are drawn by DepEd. There are much better solutions:
(a) provide transportation
(b) build school extensions
(c) copy what the Bernidos do (instead of reducing every school day,…

A critique of some commentaries on the Philippine K-12 program

A critique of some commentaries on the Philippine K-12 program
By Dr. Flor Lacanilao

Note that in my critiques below, the comments of scientists (1 to 3) on the Philippine K-12 program are supported by properly published studies or authorities, whereas those by nonscientists (4 to 8 ) are not.

Note further that the nonscientist authors and cited authorities include prominent people in education, and that these nonscientist authors and cited authorities enjoy wide media coverage. I think this situation explains the present state of Philippine education.  [My comments are in brackets]

A. Views of Filipino academic scientists [By definition, academic scientists are defined as those who have made a major contribution or contributions to one’s field as shown by publications in peer-reviewed international journals; that is, in journals covered in Science Citation Index (SCI) or Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI). You can find that out with Google Scholar.]

1. The basic education system o…

Solving the Problems of Philippine Basic Education

Note: Prof. Queena N. Lee-Chua recently commented on an email that I sent her (which contained a draft of this article):
" Last year, I wrote about Finland’s quality teachers (“Finland, Harvard and fun math,” May 23, 2011). Your ideas on the “conservation” element echo the concerns of many people, including former Ateneo president Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, S.J. (“Math mastery comes with balance of why with how,” Sept. 18, 2011).Her comments were published in the Inquirer.

Education policies for raising student learning: the Finnish approach. Pasi Sahlberg* Journal of Education Policy Vol. 22, No. 2, March 2007, pp. 147–171 Sahlberg enumerated seven key elements of education development, following the previous works of Hargreaves and others: Aho, E., Pitk√§nen, K. & Sahlberg, P. (2006) Policy development and r…