"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Textbooks in Philippine Public Schools

Image above downloaded from the Facebook page of Joy Rizal


This is a repost of an article from Jose Carillo's English Forum.


Tale of the Text: A Mind-Numbing Torrent of Cringeworthy English
By Antonio Calipjo Go

The Department of Education (DepEd) simply ignored my commentary published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer last June 10, 2013 (“Again, error-ridden textbooks”) and my letter to the editor published in the same paper last July 26, 2013 (“‘Worst learning material’ prepared for Grade 8 schoolers”) regarding the numerous errors that I found in two learning materials currently used by Grade 7 and Grade 8 students in public secondary schools. What did the DepEd’s deafening silence imply—that I was wrong in both instances, or that I was right? A great divide separates what is said and what is done, and it likewise separates what is promised and what is delivered. In the matter of textbooks, that which is promised but not delivered—that which is missing—is quality.


I have finished reviewing the 582-page learning material entitled “Voyages in Communication,” which was written by 14 authors, reviewed by four reviewers, and published by the DepEd itself for the use of the Grade 8 students in public secondary schools. I have recorded a total of 1,836 defects, deficiencies, infirmities and errors in that learning material, making it hands down the worst learning material I have seen in my entire career. It is what Tagalogs call“ginawa ng paa” (made by the feet)—written with no concern, no consideration, and no respect whatsoever for the end-users, the learners who should by rights be learning from it. 
   
Edwin Uy, DepEd program coordinator, just gave this response to my June 10 commentary about “Voyages in Communication”: “The DepEd might have missed out on certain things in the distributed materials and this is why it opened its lines for feedback and comments from the field. The collated reports on glaring mistakes would be verified and advisories would be sent out all around. The learning resources should get better through the years.” 

That process could take years and years, and maybe never! Public school students who will use this book would’ve been, by the final reckoning, experimented upon, made guinea pigs of, and idiotized by design! Shouldn’t the learning materials have been made absolutely correct from the very start?
   
It breaks my heart to realize that now, in the evening of my life, my advocacy had not chipped even one fang of the monster that is the Defective Textbook, that a bureaucracy as abundantly and profusely blessed in everything as the DepEd is—with money, grants, funding, resources, and a vast army of hired and paid personnel—cannot come up even with just one sensible textbook. Before me stands another monster, this time leering and showing all of its 1,836 fangs! The errors of which I speak need to be seen to be believed, and I am ready to show this magnum opus of the DepEd for what it really is—a monstrous error and a big mistake, a “learning” material fit for use only in a Monster University.
   
In time, slaves get to love the chains that bind them, chains whose rattlings can put them to dreamless sleep. Many of our countrymen want to be bound by ignorance and mediocrity, believing they can be made wise even if they are being miseducated—donkeyfied by sick books that unteach. 

People are asking why I persist in my advocacy when nobody seems to care. I have only one answer. Because it is the right thing to do. And because it is, I will continue to do it even unto my dying days.

Tale of the text: 1,836 erroneous or virtually nonsensical passages

Below, all quoted verbatim, are just a few of the total of 1,836 grammatically or semantically erroneous or virtually nonsensical passages that I found in “Voyages in Communication,” the learning material for Grade 8 pupils published by the Department of Education itself. Judge for yourself.

“For Kopag’s father, any creature with a hole could be entered. He forced his wife to have sex with him. His body began to crave the body of another to feast upon.” 

***

“Joe and Joan are black couple. Joe works in a manure factory.”

*** 

“Men burn their hopes. When men hope, their hurts burn.” 

***

“If the heart flies, it must have wings on its own. The heart literary flies.” 

***

“Filipinos are part of the Asian continent. Filipinos and Thais have water dwellers. What Filipino traditions and beliefs are practiced by Thais? Orally talk about similarities of Thais and Filipinos.”

*** 

“Jews are tough, emotionally hardened and ruthless.” 

***

“Indians are said to be a remarkable people.” 

***

“Egypt, another Asian neighbor, is considered the most populous country.” 

***

“English idiomatic expressions are Greek in origin.” 

***

“The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam, which scattered philosophical quatrains of rare music, contains a total of 31 lines. What makes it outstanding is the fact that these verses were written for the readers of the western world.” 

***

“The singer is best known for her recordings of Schubert.” 

***

“Many times the messages you convey are not understood because of the manner you say them, specially so when conversations are carried out in monologues.” 

***

“Compound sentences are often combined with conjunctions. If there is no conjunction used between two simple sentences, a semi-colon or a period should be used.” 

***

“Can you read these words without fear or hesitation ---- village, remember, international, surprising?” 

***

“Their palms were’nt exposed. She could’nt stop laughing. She did’nt tell me. I would’nt get tired. He could’nt make them be white.” 

***

“Write smaller paragraphs. The smaller the paragraph the easier to read. More people read only smaller articles.” 

***

“Supportiving evidence. Grasp your performance. Grasp your schema. Enrich your familiarity. Probing your understanding. Lengthen the thinking. Words beyond my thoughts. Bite the theme. Donut-shaped sofa. Please think inside me. Ban on women to drive. She drops tears. He ate 5 pieces of moron. Buffalo fell in the ground. Cows, dears and boars.”

*** 

“Embrace the goodness of the Korean psyche. I’d rather fail to remember that I’m Korean. Korea is a country divided by two, which is engaged into hostilities against each other.” 

***

“Cemetery is the antonym of pharmacy.” 

***

“The lion is covered in a furry mane.” 

***

“56% of everyone jailed in America today is due to drug charges.” 

***

“In your own words, create a script of Ramayana. Draw a comics strips narrating the story Shakuntala.” 

***

“No true Filipino would vote to take away our rights by outlawing hunting. Don’t let those bunny huggers take away our right to hunt.”

***

“Trained birds showcased their wares.”

*** 

“You are now enthused to study the Asian Peninsula.” 

***

“It is possible to overcome difficulties in your life from the literary selections of Burma.”

*** 

“Reading is beyond enjoyable if you don’t understand the reading selection.” 

***

“You can stop someone dominating the conversation and you can include quieter people.”

*** 

“One can produce gold, jade and other precious jewelry at the Bangkok riverside markets. King Rama brought with him excellent samples of porcelain, which the court artisans used to decorate pagodas using their elaborate spires. Thailand developed heavily in export promotion.”

*** 

“We will talk about another country, Persia. How do you characterize Persian women in general? Persia and Africa are Afro-Asian countries.” 

***

“Christian whispered softly in John’s ears.”

*** 

“The public has a tendency to go bias.” 

***

“Our people are suffering like no hell on earth.”

*** 

“I succeed, I planned, I worked.” 

***

“He cleaned the forests.” 

***

“A host of talented writers perfected the art of being themselves.”

*** 

“Implicit: something not ever clearly stated.” 

***

“The woman moved as a distinct population.” 

***

“The showmen were fond of exhibiting human endeavors.” 

***

“Family members don’t hesitate to pursue fields of endeavor that would bring them honor and glory. Take for example the political dynasty we have in the country.” 

***

“People clothe in red for the New Year celebration.”

*** 

“His behavior was enough to drive anybody to work.”

*** 

“Do you agree with his lamenting?” 

***

“It was going late when we left.” 

***

“Be sure to give star listing for this film.” 

***

“Monologue: a continuous series of jokes or comic stories.” 

***

“Anti-hero is more ordinary than traditional hero.”

*** 

“Through a mathematical formula, show the age of Makato when he became king.” 

***

“A dictionary uses the most frequent words in English in their definitions.” 

***

“Recognizably, these costumes are for Leila.”

*** 

“Do good despite of the difficulty.”

*** 

“Businesses are more accepting of women performing business.” 

***

“Exhibit makes use of effects but occasionally distract the content.” 

***

“Assessment: evaluation of something based from its worth of importance.”
 
***

“You are in Iran you were able to witness the desire of an Iranian to give thanks.”

*** 

“She worked in both a field and as a fisherwoman. Why do you think it came across to the mother to commit suicide?”

*** 

“She expresses her voice for female empowerment. How will you express your perspectives while respective other cultures?”

*** 

“Do you agree that if women are treated equal long before, women could have done great things as with men?” 

***

“Proa is a canoe that can survive the deep seas near Indonesia. Indonesian language are still spoken in Formosa. The Indonesians finally went south to New Zealand and the islands of Indonesia. During those times, migrations were still very few then.” 

***

“The woman’s skin felt like bark. Her beauty rivaled that of a tree trunk, she was more beautiful than the most sacred pile of timber. The indentations of her body and face resembled those in a piece of timber.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mr. Antonio Calipjo Go, retired academic supervisor of the Marian School of Quezon City, has been waging a lonely crusade against badly written English-language textbooks in the Philippines for many years now.

1 comment:

  1. He should take a look at the Arts module. It's a crime to the humanities. They designed it like five year olds. I've seen it myself. It's childish, the content is plain wrong and inappropriate and it uses "you" all the time. As if it was an exciting adventure or whatever.

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