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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Participating in a Rally Versus Attending Class
Students are staging protests in the United States and in the Philippines. In the US, pupils are unhappy with the results of the presidential election, while in the Philippines, the youth are expressing their outrage against the burial of a former dictator in a cemetery meant for heroes. How some school administrators in the US respond to these rallies is somewhat different from those in the Philippines. Students seemed to be encouraged to join protests in the Philippines while in the US, students are not.
Students have the right to express their rights as well as frustrations. However, these must be voluntary and not encouraged by school officials and teachers. Excusing absences for those who attend demonstrations is one thing, cancelling classes is different. Stating that there are "bigger lessons to be learned outside the classroom now" means only one thing: One is imposing one's political beliefs on the students. This is blatantly wrong.
We need a citizenry that is actively participating in politics. If US president-elect Trump suddenly dissolves the Department of Education and in so doing, denies the states the aid necessary to meet the needs of poor and disabled students, we need the voice of everyone. If Philippines president Duterte suddenly suspends the writ of habeas corpus unjustifiably, protests are necessary. Going out into the streets is clearly a way citizens can directly address the government. These specific cases may indeed be providing better lessons outside the classroom.
Trump is the newly elected president. He has not acted as president yet. In the Philippines, Marcos has been dead for several decades now. I simply do not see any lessons here that are better than one could learn inside a classroom.
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…
Science education is challenging. To some, science seems like a mere collection of facts waiting to be memorized. Not surprisingly, skills scientists exhibit are often emphasized in teaching science in primary and secondary schools. Since science does deal with a large amount of information about the world we live in, generalizations are greatly sought. Explanations that apply to a multitude of cases are theories worthwhile to both teach and learn. In high school, it is the deductive reasoning that is most often used to teach science. General rules are first taught and are applied to specific cases until a conclusion is reached. This is often called "top-down" logic. Drawing a hypothesis, performing experiments and making observations, and explaining the results is a common description of the scientific method. But scientists do not always work in this direction. There is likewise inductive reasoning or "bottom-up" logic. The difference between deductive and induct…