"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, July 8, 2015

DepEd's K to 12 Like Other Systems Requires Feedback

"You're getting warmer. Oops, now you're getting colder. Now, you're getting warmer again. Wow, now, you're hot." These clues help a lot in a children's game during which one player looks for something that is hidden. Without such clues, one is simply going around the room blind. One may actually stumble upon what is hidden but this will be purely accidental. Even our human body needs to know where its parts are. Our eyes through our brain sends messages to our hand that informs how fast, which direction, and how far it should move to reach a desired target. Processes in order to be successful and effective require feedback. As noted in the previous post on this blog, in education, feedback is an essential part of teaching. Not surprisingly, education reform itself requires good feedback.

DepEd's new K to 12 curriculum is not bereft of feedback. The following news article alone should be loud and clear:

Above copied from the Manila Standard
Obviously, DepEd views the above feedback as unsolicited. DepEd prefers cheerleaders. One can only imagine if your eyes tells your hands, "Try harder, we can do it, we just have to work together", when you are trying to reach something, instead of informing you whether your hands should move to the right, left or forward. Cheer leading eyes are pretty useless.

Moreover, the above petitions are in fact quite serious since these simply demonstrate that some already feel the need to resort to legal means to stop an education reform. Some of these petitions in fact even question the lack of consultation with parents and teachers. In its fourth year of phased implementation, feedback is imperative. Feedback needs to be timely, transparent and tangible.

Fortunately, even with DepEd not asking itself the very important question: "How am I doing?", there is crystal clear yet unsought feedback:

Above copied from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers
At the start of this school year, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers enumerated the following:

• There is a shortage of 57,167 teachers (there were 4,019 items unfilled by DepED for 2014).
• 112,942 classrooms are needed, 59,671 budgeted classrooms were not built by DepED in 2014
• 4,281 schools have no water supply and 16,920 water supply projects were not implemented in 2014
• 10,514 schools have no electric service
• At least 23,928,335 textbooks and modules are needed, 12,775,823 of it were supposed to be delivered last school year
• 34,935 complete science and mathematics equipment were not delivered in 2014
• 10,383 ICT packages were not delivered in 2014
• 395 internet connectivity projects were not implemented

Proponents of K to 12 are probably going to be quick to point out that these are shortages and issues tangential to the curriculum. After all, DepEd's K to 12 goal is the following:
The K to 12 Program covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education (six years of primary education, four years of Junior High School, and two years of Senior High School [SHS]) to provide sufficient time for mastery of concepts and skills, develop lifelong learners, and prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship.
Effective feedback should therefore be confined to measures of the above desired outcomes, not shortages. After all, one must simply remain focused on goals. The truth is, feedback is supposed to help us reach such goals. Feedback on shortages on required inputs for education is important. When our eyes are telling our hands that a target is out of reach, it will be really foolish for our hands to even try.

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