"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

Sunday, March 12, 2017

I Miss Classes in College and My Parents Are to Be Blamed

I taught at the Ateneo de Manila University for two years and during those years, I had only one student (out of more than 200) who missed class ten percent of the time. Attendance in the classes I taught, as well as in the courses I took when I was a student, was always close to being perfect. Missing lectures in higher education can have a huge impact on academic performance since for a course, there are usually only three lectures every week. It is thus only expected that attendance correlates strongly with grades. Back in 2009, Soto and Anand concluded "Our direct logistic regression showed that the most significant association for passing our Cell Biology course was perfect attendance." Attending a class of course is only the first step in taking responsibility for one's learning. Truancy therefore shows an immense lack of responsibility.

Basic education in the Philippines faces enormous challenges. One area is teacher quality. Thus, it is especially troubling to see low passing rates for the licensure exam for teaching. Only 33.78%, for instance, pass the exam for secondary teaching in September 2016. A paper by Revina Ortizano- Mendoza published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Multidisciplinary Research offers an insider's view at a teaching college in the Philippines. The paper, "Attendance and Parental Support: ItsInfluence to College Students’ AcademicPerformance" provides disturbing data regarding college education in the Philippines. About a hundred students have been randomly chosen for this study. The first important piece of data is attendance. Attendance rate is apparently very low, about 70%. Students' motivation is self-reported and for this measure, students claim that they are highly motivated. Students are also asked about their perception of the school climate and most regard their teachers and peers as highly supportive. Most rate the school rate very satisfactory, if not outstanding. The students in this study are from Lourdes College in Cagayan de Oro City in Southern Philippines.

Above copied from Lourdes College, Cagayan de Oro City

Someone who frequently misses classes in a teaching college is not likely to facilitate the learning process in the future inside a classroom with dedication, competence and compassion. Not surprising, less than half of Lourdes College graduates in Teacher Education pass the Licensure Exam for Teachers. Only 37% pass the elementary test and 43% pass the secondary in September 2016. Such poor performance is only expected with such high number of absences. Worse, more than ninety percent of these students cites low parental support. While students think they are highly motivated and they feel supported by the school, these students frequently miss class. And they blame their parents. Taking responsibility for one's learning is a very important academic skill. This will be impossible for teachers to teach if they have never learned to take such responsibilty themselves.

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