Outside in and inside out! A place to store ideas about education.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Six years and counting...

I'm looking at the stuff I wrote earlier, and found this in my little storage box of goodies:

Reflections on my first year of teaching

I have a dream…
         I applied and entered the UP Open University last year with a dream in mind: to help upgrade and uplift science and technology education in our country.  It was therefore with great enthusiasm that I accepted the faculty post as Assistant Professor in the Diploma in Science Teaching Program.  I believe that joining the University, with its wealth of human intellectual resources and forward-looking people, I can now take concrete steps toward making this dream a reality.
          My position in UPOU has given me valuable insights in the current state of science education.  Moreover, it allows me to directly interact with science teachers who are at the heart of the matter:
 “Analysis points to the science teachers as a good target for halting this downward spiral of educational decay.  Empowering and enabling the teachers to tackle teaching science everyday with an everyday setting is important.  Materials which can engage the students in exploring their natural environments, understanding indigenous phenomena, and relate science with other subjects (history, geography, and culture) which will allow students to see how science may be applied to everyday life.”
                                                             SciHigh proposal, written June 2004.
My first year in the UP Open University has shown me the depth of the problem.  However, UPOU, through DE, has also shown me the wellspring of potential, and the hope that this problem could be solved.

I realize, five years later, that this is still my dream for myself here at UPOU.  Yes, I still do believe in this dream, and I still do believe that it's possible!

It just takes a lot more work than I have anticipated :P

Sunday, January 30, 2011

How to be Alone

This viral reached my inbox recently:

Oh yes i honestly MISS being alone!



Monday, January 17, 2011

UBD in the Philippine Context

I'm in the process of putting together a research on the Understanding By Design as applied in the DepEd.  I think it is a good opportunity to study what the teachers think about UBD and how they apply it to their teaching in High School.  Below is a copy of a response I posted at the forum, a really nice venue to discuss and vent about teaching in the Philippines :)

But personally,  I'm actually quite impressed with the UBD framework primarily because it looks scientific in approach and overarching in scope. Indeed, if we focused on Understanding rather than just drilling on facts and procedures, maybe our kids will learn a lot more from school that is actually useful later on in life.

If only it were that simple.

The matter has been greatly complicated by the many ideas with which educational reform has been toying with, with various degrees of success. There is authentic assessment, there is cooperative learning, there is problem based learning, etc.... all these new labels are confusing and confining, however interesting or logical or useful or effective the method or the process contained within. Once we put a label on something, it is bound by that label. Thus, after a while the label looses its effectiveness as a buzzword, and it becomes dated, laos, wala na sa uso.

I think we have to focus on one thing here, Understanding Big Ideas, and the many ways to get it. UBD is one such way, but it is not the only way. It just puts into the spotlight things we have forgotten in the hustle and bustle of the labels and buzzwords that educational reform is so fond of using (and, for that matter, funding!)

I remember a colleague saying that DepEd has more pilots than the airforce. How true! By focusing on a single aspect of a single reform measure, we forget that what we really want is Understanding, and that has been with us pre-UBD, pre-educational system, and since the beginning of human existence.

I think it's high time to simplify the way we do things. Let's lose the labels, and go for what is necessary, in all the ways possible.

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