Among the most ubiquitous of misattributed quotes is the following remark credited to Albert Einstein: “Everybody’s a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Despite the lack of substantive evidence that Einstein made this statement, this reflects an important idea that every school should consider. We are different people with different dreams and aspirations sadly most of our schools are don’t recognize this. We try to assimilate them to this mythical idea of a well-rounded and productive person. By ignoring this and because we are in the middle of a transition from traditional to contemporary teaching methodologies and philosophies, despite its beautyon paper, the Revised Basic Education Curriculum flops to win over the hearts of the Filipino people.
Our old education system, which apparently still manifests today, was meant for factory workers who are essentially becoming robots just to survive as explained by Collins and Halverson in 2010 in their article “The second educational revolution: Rethinking education in the age of technology.” In spite of the new philosophies presented to teachers, the mentality of mass production and mass control still runs deep in schools. We educate students by batches and govern their lives by specific instructions, telling them to do this and do that just to meet a goal that was set by the school.We send our children to school to prepare them for the real world which is changing rapidly but our schools haven’t changed much for hundreds of years.
In 2003, 36% in primary and 44% of secondary students that dropped were caused by lack of interest in school. Lack of autonomy equates to lack of interest. Autonomy is a crucial factor in the development of a child as the researchers Deci, Schwartz, Sheinman, & Ryan pointed out in1981 but this is ignored by many curricularists as teachers are blinded by their need to achieve the outcomes that are listed in their lesson plans. Rather than letting the students choose to learn what interests them, we force them to learn things because it is “what is written”. This leads them to be bored in class and fail in evaluations because they opted not to listen.This also sends a dire message to the children – they are not in control of their learning, they just have to follow what is laid down in front of them instead of making the most out of their choices.
The current education system operates like a factory – students have a certain amount of time to get graded and they’re either good products or bad products the system moves students along after a certain period of time and not when they’ve fully mastered the current subject matter. In Sal Khan’s book the One World Schoolhouse in 2012 he refers to this as Swiss cheese learning where students are allowed to pass on to the next year subject matter if they obtain a grade of at least 50%. That means there’s at most 50% of the material that they don’t understand and eventually all these holes in their learning will catch up to them and they’ll hit a point where the material stops making sense. The analogy Sal uses is that of a house. You wouldn’t build a house on weak foundation would you? We’re constantly doing this to our students by pushing them ahead regardless of their mastery over a topic. Mastery is crucial but we choose to ignore this.
What allows these problems to continue to plague us even though a tantamount of researches and philosophies are developed each day to improve education? A simple resilient parasite of an idea – an idea that claims the old way was a better way. Every single day it is war between two ideologies, contemporary theories or traditional theories. Despite the numerous orders and seminars taken, human as we are, we resist change. Teachers, parents, students, society and the government, each have varying opinions what is right.
Despite this, I am hopeful for the future. It is bright and clear because we are starting to embrace contemporary teaching strategies and philosophies. The claims of old are slowly fading in to the distance. We also start to embrace the diversity of each individual and cater their needs as best as we can. The problems of the old that permeates today will be nothing but silly stories tomorrow. Let us urge Filipino youth to embrace change because this is the only constant in an ever rapidly changing society.