A blog that tackles issues on basic education (in the Philippines and the United States) including early childhood education, the teaching profession, math and science education, medium of instruction, poverty, and the role of research and higher education.
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Should We Hire or Train Teachers?
With the extension of basic education in the Philippines from ten years to K to 12, plus a growing population, there is an obvious need for additional teachers. It is one reason why some argue that the Philippines should have started K to 12 only at kindergarten and not at first year high school. This would then have given ample time for the government to prepare for the two additional years in high school. If only those who finished kindergarten in 2013 are expected to go through the entire new curriculum then the government has at least ten years to prepare for the senior high school years. Unfortunately, the government has chosen a half-baked approach, forcing grade seven students into the new K to 12 curriculum four years ago. As a result, the challenges of both a low enrollment in higher education and a shortage of teachers have come too soon. With these difficulties, the government once more has chosen to take a band aid approach. DepEd secretary Briones is planning to use more than 15 billion pesos to hire teachers in 2017.
Teachers need to be trained specifically to teach especially with a new curriculum. Without the training, a professional often returns to how he or she was taught. Classroom instruction likewise requires much more than having the knowledge and skills in a subject for teaching entails establishing a relationship with students. Simply hiring professionals who have never been trained for teaching is not necessarily a good approach and in the state of Utah, this in fact is very contentious.
Billions of pesos should be used to attract and train new teachers. The government can use the money to support aspiring teachers through scholarships and stipends especially in subject areas where the shortage is much more serious. This is not a band aid approach but one that demonstrates ample planning and a clear long term vision. Doing otherwise simply wastes time and money. Moreover, it does not make sense to claim upgrading the standards of learning while downgrading the standards of teaching.
With the new K to 12 curriculum in the Philippines, various tracks are now offered in the last two years of basic education. The various options available obviously make it possible for students to find themselves later unprepared for the courses they decide to take in college. A student, for instance, who finishes the accounting business management (ABM) strand in the senior high school academic track, is now required to take additional courses if the student chooses to enroll in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) major in college. These additional courses which are now called "bridging programs" are either taken during the first year of college or over several weeks in the summer before college starts.
There are bridging programs in the United States, but these are different from the ones that are now appearing in colleges in the Philippines. In Coldwater High School in Michigan, for example, the "bridging program" is an option for students…
There is information to be gained from data. Tests in schools can be informative. Scores of students provide a quick glimpse of the current state of education. Thus, it is useful to have these numbers. These numbers may not tell everything in detail with high accuracy. Nevertheless, test results allow for a useful perspective. The National Achievement Test administered by the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Philippines, a set of standardized tests addressing the major subjects taught in school, is an example. These tests are given to Grade 3 where students are assessed in both English and Filipino (These two subjects comprise two thirds of the exam) and Math and Science (These two account for the remaining one third). A different set of tests is given to Grade 6 pupils where each of the following 5 subjects is assigned 40 items: (Science, Math, English, Filipino and Social Studies). Another set is administered to fourth year high school students (This is currently the last year…
My spouse and I have spent the largest fraction of our lives in this community called Annandale. Last night, my wife help organized a march. In the words of another resident, James Albright: "First protest I have ever known of in Annandale. Hundreds upon hundreds protesting in front of Mason District police station". We did not expect a very large crowd, yet hundreds of families from Annandale came, which actually made social distancing very challenging. It started with a march along Columbia Pike from Barcroft Center to the Mason District Police Station. Inside the parking lot of the police station, people knelt in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the same amount of time a police officer knelt on George Floyd during his final moments. Afterwards, the people, adults and children, of Annandale spoke up.
Names of African Americans brutally killed by the police were read by the son of Ricardy Anderson, Mason District representative to the Fairfax County School Board. Ander…