Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Teachers' Continuing Challenges as Instrumentalities of Knowledge and Wisdom in the 21st Century

By:  Gilbert M. Forbes
With excerpts from Ms. Dina Ocampo’s talk at PNU Graduation Ceremony, April 7, 2017

No one can deny that LIFE has become easy due to the improvement in the lives of the average Filipinos brought about by the increase in the so called per capita income.  Things considered as luxuries before by the poor and can only be afforded by the rich and the middle class like sardines, instant noodles, frozen foods, fork and chicken, even eggs are now affordable to the poor.  Even mobile phones, television sets, ordinary fashion even its from ukay are affordable too.  As such, at times the poor can outsmart the middle class in fashion and gadgetry.  It is now easy to go from one place to another.  Indeed, due to the onset of information technology, it has shrunk the world and the country we used to live.

Claro M. Recto Memorial Central School's grade two pupils in Tiaong, Quezon:
Learners' critical discernment has not been as great as it is today.
However, even if life has become easier and much entertaining, at least in our country as compared to Sub-saharan Africa, it did not contribute in the improvement of our values, morals, and spirituality.  While there’s an explosion of knowledge brought about by the information super high way, there came the evils of it. One example of this is the deliberate manufacturing and sharing of fake news to manipulate public opinion. The damage this causes society is massive. Anger is aroused, distrust is sewn, bigotry is fostered and culture of impunity is raised, promoted and even accepted as synonymous to forgiveness and the concept of moving on.

The pressure on educators such as ourselves to develop in learners critical discernment has not been as great as it is today. The age of information technology has become both a blessing and a bane to us teachers who ourselves have difficulty in distinguishing between credible news and “alternative facts” regardless of age bracket we belong be that as from baby boomers up to the mellenials or generation Y.   As such there comes the revisionists.

We must address this issue on two levels. First, establishing the truth must be based on facts that are corroborated by credible sources. And second, we must teach our students that the measure of fact has little to do with their preferred outcome. Just because it is your opinion, it does not mean it is right. Nor is it the truth.

In other words, critical pedagogy is what you must practice so that the students will develop critical discernment. Just because something resonates with your opinion, it doesn’t mean it is a fact. Scientific processes and the proper appreciation of data is needed. This can be done by giving students opportunities and direct instruction on how to dissect information. Otherwise, we will fall into the trap of believing that all opinions out there are for real. Worse, we will believe that our opinion is always better than others all the time and we ignore that there is always a possibility that we are mistaken.

Another example has to do with bigotry. In education, we have struggled to move away from labelling children and learners. We have stopped using terms like bobo and retarded to describe learners with different learning needs. We stopped homogenous grouping of our pupils and students according to their academic performance instead grouped them heterogenously avoiding labels as higher or lower section or fast and slow learners.  Move on na tayo diyan db? We have moved towards seeing the learner and their capacities instead of cuing onto the label together with the assumptions and judgements that go with that label.

Unfortunately, social media is full of bigotry. Dilawan and Dutertards are only two examples of such manifestations of bigotry. Labels such as these box in people into categories. Worse, they call into mind generalizations and characteristics that make recipients of these labels clones of each other as if they were not individuals and human.

Such bigotry resulted in the reign of terror in the middle east or even the unexpected personalities getting elected into public offices as a result of lies, trolls and memes. And now, still on-going, the attack on Marawi City by the Maute Group allegedly linked to ISIS. Or on statements like, “di ikaw na.  Addict ka!  “Kung kaanak mo kaya ang marape . . .”

As instrumentalities in propagating knowledge and wisdom we can help to abate social ills and lies for it would always be true and factual that education is the solution.  It is our greatest weapon and resource if we can only perform our sacred duties and responsibilities to the best that we can.  This we could do with much ease if we could rise above our basic enemy, the average in ourselves.  For we are tasked to do THY WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN!  Aristotle puts it, EXCELLENCE ISN’T AN ACT, IT IS A HABIT.

We should always be open to trainings, lectures and discussions even when we feel and think that it is no longer new or interesting because at the end of the of the day, there will always be novel in things we thought we knew already.  We should reflect on what has been given to us up to this very moment onwards to the bits of wisdom our experiences tell and by internalizing and committing to apply with much ease the Constructivist, Integrative, Reflective, Inquiry, and Collaborative Approaches in teaching. 

Where others fail, in K to 12, with these clearly defined and given approaches, doing it right and with expertise, we are bound to SUCCEED! 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Why Do Teachers Need to Plan their Lessons and Prepare DLL

By:  Gilbert M. Forbes

Teacher's Guides (TG's) are only guides. It is suggestive but not prescriptive. It is definitely not Lesson Plan (LP). As teachers therefore, we still need to plan our lessons to insure that it fits well with our classes. "Planning is one of the most important project management and time management
techniques. Planning is preparing a sequence of action steps to achieve specific goal. It is like a map. When following a plan, you can always see how much you have progressed towards your project goal and how far you are from your destination. Knowing where you are is essential for making good decisions on where to go or what to do next,"- (What is Planning and Why We Need to Plan?http://www.time-management-guide.com/planning.html)

All those things mentioned about planning is not contained in our TG's. However, LP preparation though the most ideal is very time consuming. So after more than a decade of struggle to move away from the rigors of LP preparations but not necessarily lost its essence, the Daily Lesson Log was introduced by DepEd so that time lost will be directed in studying the content of the lesson and the preparation of instructional materials.

DLL is a much simplified LP for it contains official record of activities, instruction and learning experiences written in a systematic way.

DO 42, s. 2016 explained it clearly that its aim is to support teachers in organizing and managing their classes and lessons effectively and efficiently and ensure the achievement of learning outcomes. Preparing for lessons through the Daily Lesson Log (DLL) or Detailed Lesson Plan (DLP) provides teachers with an opportunity for reflection on what learners need to learn, how learners learn, and how best to facilitate the learning process.

At first, because of its length, DLL preparation will require additional 50% or even double the time required viz the old DLL but its only while we are still new to it but sooner, as we became used to it and learned techniques of doing shortcuts, it will be easier.

For the meantime, let us just do and learn from doing it. A blessed Sunday folks. May God continuously shine on us!