Showing posts from October, 2012

If K to 12 is ok, why need a survey to say so?

EDITORIAL - If K to 12 is ok, why need a survey to say so? (The Freeman) Updated October 31, 2012 12:00 AM   The Department of Education has come out with the results of a Social Weather Stations survey that reportedly indicated more and more people have been convinced about the merits of the K to 12 program that it has rammed down the throats of Filipinos. According to the survey (reports did not indicate who commissioned the exercise but it would surprise no one if it comes out that the DepEd itself did the commissioning), a whooping 72 percent of Filipinos have embraced K to 12. Either the survey is a big lie (because most people you ask, rich or poor, young or old, hate the K to 12 to their guts) or a big letdown — why only 72 percent, considering that people have no choice but to accept it? It was forced down their throats and is now in force, remember? Read more at

Inquiry-Based Teaching Practices and Student's Science Achievement

Discovery-based approaches to science education in primary and secondary schools are now widespread across the globe. It is now possible to assess the impact of these programs on learning outcomes. Such exercise may not provide crystal clear cause-effect relationships since proper controls are not present, but a good statistical analysis of current data may still furnish useful correlations. Although discovery-based learning may seem a precise philosophy of education, it is in fact a spectrum of approaches and techniques. There is a range of how much support a student receives in a discovery-based classroom. Kevin Gee and Kenneth Wong of Brown University have recently published a paper in the International Journal of Education Research in which the performance of students from eight countries (US, Mexico, Japan, Finland, Australia, Canada, Spain and Italy) in the science section of the 2006 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) has been closely examined in the li

A vote for science: More tips to improve Aquino's report card

by Flor Lacanilao An editorial of the journal  Nature  (25 October 2012) is  A vote for science   This is In support and recognition of Obama's concerns for science and environmental issues. It also says, it gives Obama a clear advantage over Mitt Romney.  Earlier supports for Obama's science programs were also expressed by voters in  Obama’s science report card  ( Scientist,  October 1, 2012 ), and by 68 Nobel Prize winners in  Obama Picks Up Nobel Endorsements  ( Science Insider, 18 October 2012). Voters gave Obama grades for Environment (B+), Health (A), Science Education (A), and Energy (B). The laureates wrote in their letter, “President Obama understands the key role science has played in building a prosperous America.”  Of course Obama's men and women in charge of his science-related programs -- and the over 20 in the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology -- are top scientists and Nobel laureates. In previous posts, I showed

How Does One Lure Back Much Needed Talent and Expertise

The US likewise looks at other countries to find ways to improve its educational system. For example, an article in the Washington Post was published several months ago describing South Korea. Here is a paragraph worth our attention: ...South Koreans who had gone abroad to study were lured back with handsome salaries to teach. And the best students in the country were recruited with the promise of free tuition and an exemption from mandatory military service, in return for a promise to work in a government lab for three years after graduation. Over the years, Kaist graduates have filled government research institutes and top jobs at companies like Samsung and Hyundai.... Recently, I received an invitation to teach during the summer in China. The Sinoway International Summer School Program currently involves the following universities:  East China Normal University, Shanghai, Nanjing University, Nanjing. Beijing Normal University, Beijing, University of International Busi

Finding What Works in Education

Pasi Sahlberg wrote the following sometime ago in the Washington Post : "...many education visitors to Finland expect to find schools filled with Finnish pedagogical innovation and state-of-the-art technology. Instead, they see teachers teaching and pupils learning as they would in any typical good school in the United States. Some observers call this “pedagogical conservatism” or “informal and relaxed” because there does not appear to be much going on in classrooms.  The irony of Finnish educational success is that it derives heavily from classroom innovation and school improvement research in the United States. Cooperative learning and portfolio assessment are examples of American classroom-based innovations that have been implemented in large scale in the Finnish school system." The above quote is echoed in the following initiative launched recently in the Unites States: And here are some examples the program has seen so

Science Lessons Forum for elementary and secondary schools

The following is an article I wrote for the Philippine Star in 2006. The article is also included in the book,  Selected Essays on Science and Technology forSecuring a Better Philippines . C.A. Saloma, E.A. Padlan and G.P. Padilla Concepcion, editors, University of the Philippines Press, Manila (2009). STAR SCIENCE By Angel C. De Dios, PhD The Philippine STAR 11/23/2006 The computer classroom, like any classroom, is a place, first and foremost, for learning and not teaching. This is a simple but nonetheless an important point. When we focus on learning, we provide an environment that is rich in opportunities for discovery and inquiry. On the other hand, an emphasis on teaching may carry the detrimental scars of negative experiences adults have had acquired in the past as well as our own limitations. Learning requires facilitation. It begins with resources and continues with guidance. Students, especially children, are generally visual, sensing, active and sequential learners. It

Episode 411: Why Preschool Can Save The World

The following is a link to an episode of the program " This American Life ", one of the radio stories of Planet Money of National Public Radio in the United States. "On today's show, we meet a self-described robber baron who decided to spend his billions on finger paint and changing tables. We revisit decades-long studies that found preschool made a huge difference in the lives of poor children. And we talk to a Nobel prize-winning economist who says that spending public money on preschool produces a huge return on investment."

A Practice That Increases Student's Engagement Without High Costs

When learning resources are quite limited, there are practices that can be employed to enhance student's participation in lecture-based classroom. To help students keep their attention during the instruction, previously prepared notes with missing items can be given to students. These notes follow the flow of the lecture but are incomplete. Students are then required to fill in the blanks as the lecture progresses. In this fashion, the student maintains specific goals throughout the lecture. The guided notes serve basically as a list of questions to which students must respond, and the answers or the missing pieces are in the lecture. Moira Konrad, Laurice M. Joseph and Elisha Eveleigh of Ohio State University have performed an analysis of how effective guided notes are in enhancing student learning: Guided notes basically achieve two goals. First, it provides students with a good template

Teachers Want More Funds to Education

NEWS RELEASE October 23, 2012 Teachers Dignity Coalition The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) on Monday hails the declaration from the Budget Department that it has released the funds amounting to P2.68 billion allotted for the construction of school buildings and water and sanitation facilities for public schools. The group believes that such amount could augment the needs of public schools for the improvement of physical facilities. “While it is quite late, because we are in the final quarter, construction and repair of school buildings, classrooms and toilets could really enhance the learning environment of our children. A place conducive for learning yields better performance.” Said Benjo Basas, a Caloocan City teacher and the group’s national chairperson. Basas however criticized the government for allotting very little funds for education sector in 2012 and in the proposed 2013 national budget. “If the government is sincere in its “globally competitive” programs like

Another Letter from a Teacher to a President

"Campaign for Our Public Schools" in the United States launched a call for teachers, parents, students, and concerned citizens to write letters to the government starting with the White House: Downloaded from Most of these letters criticize the "Race to the Top" program of the current US administration. Although these letters deal with public school education in the United States, the thoughts expressed in some of these letters are relevant to the Philippines. As an example, I have taken liberty to extract a couple of paragraphs from a letter written by an eight grade language arts teacher in Illinois, Diana Rogers . These sections, in my opinion, apply to the Philippine situation. The people who currently influence Philippine basic education, I think, need to hear and take these thoughts seriously: ...resources have been taken away from public schools and funneled into privately run charter schools that have not been

Points of View on the Budget

Here are three views. The first one comes from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers followed by the opinion of the Kabataan (Youth) party list. These two are capped with a brief exchange of views I had on Facebook with someone in the Philippine government. Explanation of “no” vote on House Bill 6455 I vote “no” to House Bill 6455, the 2013 General Appropriations Bill, for the following reasons: Antonio L. Tinio, Representative, ACT TEACHERS Party-List 1. HB 6455 continues the decades’ long trend of prioritizing debt servicing over education, health and sanitation, housing, and other social services.  A total of P360.4 billion is allocated to the debt burden, comprising 17.9% of the P2.006 trillion proposed budget. That’s larger than the combined budget for education and health.  The priority given to debt servicing continues to be the main reason for the gross underfunding of social services by gov

A Teacher Writes to President Obama

"Living in Dialogue" of Education Week posted a series of letters addressed to the White House that were written by public school teachers. I would like to share in this blog one of those letters. I think the thoughts expressed in this letter are important to consider. A good majority of pupils in the Philippines would easily fit the description of students who have major concerns that are far beyond just learning in the classroom. Thus, it is a must that we listen to our teachers, who are the ones living closest to these poor children. How Can One Teacher be Both the Best and the Worst? A Letter to President Obama Dear President Obama, I am a 7th grade writing teacher. I love my school, my job, and my students. Summers are torture to me because I'm out of the classroom. I truly feel I was put on this earth to teach middle school. My job is me and I am my job; the two cannot be separated. After twenty-five years of teaching, walking into my classroom each morning

Congress Railroads K+12 Bill Even As DepEd Admits Lack of Preparation

By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO MANILA – The House of Representatives is at it again. ACT Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio denounced the House of Representatives for approving House Bill 6643 or the Revised Basic Education Reform Act of 2012 on second reading and without amendments even as several lawmakers were protesting against what they said as the Aquino government’s lack of preparation and commitment to fully fund the kindergarten to grade 12 (K+12) program. Tinio revealed that during committee and plenary deliberations, the bill’s proponents failed to prove that the Department of Education (DepEd) is ready to effectively implement the entire program. The lawmaker pointed out that the DepEd failed to give acceptable or convincing answers to concerns raised, particularly those involving the perennial problems of teacher/ classroom/ textbook, and other resource shortages. “For the K to 12 reform program to significantly improve the quality of basic