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Posts tagged "education"

By Miam Tan-Fabian

“You can divide the Red Sea,” my son declared.

We had just finished discussing the story of Moses (assigned by our homeschool provider as a lesson under Values Education). I emphasized that Moses’ story was a great narrative but it was just a story.

“What do you mean?” I asked. “What did you think about Moses’ method of dividing the Red Sea?”

Sil answered, “His method was a miracle, but you can still divide the Red Sea even without one.”

“How?” I asked.

“Make a dam,” he said.

I chuckled. It’s moments like these that reinforce my determination to pursue homeschooling, at least until Sil finishes Grade 6.

Through homeschooling, I have witnessed the development of my son’s character, his mental faculties, and his talents. By no means am I saying that homeschooling is easy — it entails a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and a persevering commitment — but it has also been very fulfilling. At the same time, it is far too easy for parents who homeschool their kids to doubt their own teaching abilities, to worry if they are teaching their children correctly.

“Surely, a professionally trained teacher is better qualified than a homeschool parent.”

I used to think that too until natural curiosity had me googling the academic performance of homeschooled children when compared to their traditionally schooled counterparts…

Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

By Miam Tan-Fabian

Homeschooling is a much misunderstood and maligned word. It seems natural for people to jump to conclusions about it. After all, since one knows the meaning of “home” and “school”, naturally putting them together should obviously define homeschooling as education relegated to the home environment, right?


It’s true that homeschooling in general includes more contact hours at home, but it doesn’t mean that learning is solely done at home. In fact, a big part of homeschooling is experience-based (experiential) learning outside the usual four corners of traditional classrooms. The whole world can literally become the student’s educational oyster…

Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

by Pecier Decierdo

DepEd, Y U No Teach Science to Kids?

The news that our Department of Education decided to remove the ‘Science’ subject in the first and second grades released a flurry of criticism and commentary in the past two months. Since science education is one of the main advocacies of the Filipino Freethinkers, the issue was tackled in a couple of articles on this site. To read the articles, go here or here.

Now, if there’s one thing worse than DepEd’s dropping ‘Science’ in the first and second grades, then it is their reason for doing it. In the words of Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro, they decided to jettison science in order to “decongest the Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) and to make learning more enjoyable to young learners.” In other words, they believe that in postponing the teaching of science, they are doing the students an act of kindness.

Science, the School Bully

That many people believe science is not “child friendly” is sad on so many levels. The other levels have already been excellently discussed in the other articles on this site. I want to concentrate on this one level in particular: DepEd and the Philippine public as a whole view science as a congestion because they do not understand the first thing about it.

Given how they view the subject, I am in fact happy that DepEd dropped ‘Science’ in Grades 1 and 2. I don’t want an institution that views science as a congestion to teach it to the future generation because if they do, they will only end up alienating the kids to science.

In fact, we are better off with a public ignorant of science than a public alienated to science. Scientific ignorance can be remedied by a few years of quality education and public information. I know this because I am the product of our public elementary school system, and when I entered high school I was almost a science ignoramus. A few years of good education cancelled all my years of bad education. 

Bad science teaching causes alienation toward science.

Before we move on, let me illustrate how bad my elementary education was. I had one science teacher who taught us that a monkey-eating eagle was a monkey. I also had one science teacher who was a creationist, and another who was a moon hoaxer. I also remember being scolded by another teacher for bringing encyclopedias to school and allowing my classmates to revel in them. The encyclopedias were “too advanced” for us, that teacher said. To be fair, I had good elementary teachers too. Sadly, the effect of one bad teacher requires the correction of five good ones.

Now let us proceed to the main point. There is a fundamental difference between being simply ignorant of science and being alienated to it. Good education can only be effective in minds that are not yet alienated to science. For my part, I am very thankful for my few good science teachers – who are, by the way, glowing embers in the dark world of our public education system – for keeping my sense of wonder alive throughout all those years of horrible science teaching. I believe I wouldn’t be writing this essay right now if it were not for the fact that my sense of curiousity survived all those years in a public elementary school.

Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

By Pepe Bawagan

A few weeks ago, Kevin, an agnostic atheist member of the Filipino Freethinkers, posted on his blog about his frustrating experience with a substitute teacher in his Values Education class. He wrote:

Our regular professor was out so we had a substitute. The lesson for that day was about different personalities. He showed us a diagram:

  1. Wise - someone who is god-fearing and is able to recognize mistakes.
  2. Foolish - someone who doesn’t love god or someone who denies him and his orders.
  3. Mocker - someone who rebels against god and mocks him.

Being a secularist, this set off alarms in Kevin’s head, and after raising his complaints and delivering an extensive explanation of his objections to his teacher…

He then went on saying, “Yes, okay. We understand that. But you still have to participate in this class. You have to understand that Values came from ‘God’. He is the root of it all. And we are defining personalities according to biblical terms and definitions.”

Read the whole article here

It’s bad enough that this happened in a school that was purportedly non-sectarian, but perhaps it was just a fluke. Maybe it was just this one teacher who was, after all, just a substitute. Surely their regular Values Ed teacher would be much more aware and sensitive of religious diversity and secular morality, right?

Wrong: How You’re Doing Education

Even with their regular teacher, the same thing happened again, only this time it was much worse. Aside from forcing everyone in the class to write “the goal of my life is to make God smile”, she reacted mockingly and condescendingly towards Kevin’s explanation of his stance, spouting the usual nonsense, such as “atheists are just rebelling against God for their hardships and pain in their sad life”. I find it quite appalling that this kind of force-feeding, where dissent and diversity are brushed aside or unthinkingly dismissed, currently masquerades as education. And all this, after a lecture that was supposed to enlighten the students about differences of belief. 

Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.

The DepEd decided to remove Science subjects in Grades 1 and 2. This was reported in the January 24, 2012 Manila Bulletin article entitled, “DepEd drops ‘Science’ for pupils”. Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro, FSC explained the rationale of dropping Science subjects in Grades 1 to Grade 2 by saying that such a move was to “decongest (the) Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) and to make learning more enjoyable to young learners.” He claimed that the new curriculum is “more child friendly” and is based on the idea that “we should be taking the students where they are.”

Basis for choice
The justification of DepEd’s head is unoriginal, especially since the word “decongest” was the same word used by former Sec. Raul Roco in item 6 of DepEd Order 25, series of 2002 on the Implementation of the BEC (http://www.deped.gov.ph/cpanel/uploads/issuanceImg/DO%2025_6-17-02_00001.pdf). This seemingly uncritical acceptance of a rationale that’s 10 years old makes one wonder: How exactly did DepEd come up with such a decision? And why, of all the subjects, was science singled out? Why couldn’t it have been any other subject? If DepEd really had to make a drastic choice, why couldn’t the choice have been M.A.P.E., considering that Grade 1 and 2 students are naturally active, and that one real practical challenge is to keep such students focused on seatwork?

One likely consideration is the prior 2002 decision to implement the BEC, which the current DepEd administration is only implementing as a matter of compliance to a previous DepEd commitment. Still, it’s not as if the policy is set in stone. If the present DepEd admin believes that implementing such a decision may have negative long-term impacts, they could invoke a precautionary stance and decide to hold the implementation while reviewing the issue further.

Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.


There’s this blog entry that’s been making the rounds lately, entitled “What Ateneans Do Wrong after Graduating,” and the further I read the piece, the more dismayed I felt. And it’s not just because the author drops more cliches than Paolo Coelho writing Rick Warren a yearbook dedication. While it is grating to read someone dispensing advice like achieving success by working hard and being nice to your boss, as if this thought never occurred to anyone else in all of human history, it is unfortunately more grating that the author has the gall to address the entry to all Ateneans in general.

Among the red lights were:

“[Ateneans] NEVER would want to report to someone who came from a school which they think is too low for their standards.”

“ARteneans always expect job to be convenient.”

“He used to have the Atenean attitude of being so mayabang, complaining too much…”

“We Ateneans always want the SHORT-CUT.”

“We Ateneans, are SO opinionated that we believe so much our opinion would change the course of the world.”

“I hope I wouldn’t be bashed for this post. You know naman some Ateneans love correcting grammar and seeing faults on the opinion of others.”

She signed the end of the post with AMDG.

Spirited away

Now, if you think I’m going to continue this piece by defending the Atenean community with vigor, invoking my magises and halikinus over a blue and white flame, you are wrong.

I wasn’t irked by the fact that Ateneans were generalized so negatively. What irked me was that there was generalization going on in the first place, that some people continue to box others in according to what school they came from when, in truth, it is glaringly obvious that all people are different…

Read the rest of the article at the Filipino Freethinkers website

DKT Reproductive Health and Filipinay, in partnership with Sex and Sensibilities, are hosting the ART-H Mandala Making Contest this Monday, October 3, from 11:30 AM to 1 PM at the Palma Hall Lobby in UP Diliman. This contest is open to all UP Diliman students.

Participants, in groups of 4 to 10 students, are tasked to make mandalas using pills and condoms in light of the contest’s theme, which is sexual health rights, women’s health, and informed choice. Their output will be displayed for one week in front of the UP College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Student Council office for judging.

Participants stand the chance to win P15,000 for first place, P12,000 for second place, and P10,000 for third place.

This event is supported by the UP Reproductive Health and Gender Advocates Movement (RH AGENDA).