Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Digital Filipino Talks: Moving from Traditional to Liberal Elementary and High School Education

The episode of Digital Filipino Talks last March 28 is something I find relevant to the future success of our country. The topic was about liberal education and it's advantages over general education.

Moving from Traditional to Liberal Elementary and High School Education
from Janette Toral on Vimeo.

Mr. Raymond Villanueva ,president of Bannister Academy talked about Moving from Traditional to Liberal Elementary and High School Education. Here, he highlights the methodology his school uses to teach students in a more effective way as compared to the traditional method.

Traditional vs Liberal Education

Mr. Villanueva discusses the difference between General Education that majority of schools teach right now and Liberal Education, where students are taught in a manner where each lessons taught 'connects' to real life situations.

In a traditional or general education system, we are taught through separate subjects like mathematics, social studies and sciences. He mentions that the downside of this teaching method is that students do not appreciate the subject as whole. For the student, a subject taught does not seem they cannot be applied to real life situations.

In a liberal education system, mentors teach students topics that are relevant to today's issues, and subjects are taught in such a way that they connect to one another. This way, students appreciate the subject more, and are more willing to learn new topics presented by their mentors.

My views on the topic

Education is a very valuable asset parents can give to our children. In fact, I believe it is even more valuable than possessions like property, businesses, money, etc. It is through education, children develop positive values that they can rely on, which allows them to secure their own future and our country's as well.

Our deteriorating education system

I am not that aware of the demographic our system of education has right now, but this I can say: I think the level of education in our country has deteriorated overall compared to two decades ago.

Why do I think it is so? Well, this is because I personally know individuals who graduated in a public high school, yet have difficulty speaking and writing in English, solving simple algebra problems, and even do not know important facts and events about our country every Filipino I believe should know.

If public school students are allowed to graduate without knowing what they need to know, how do we expect our country to have a brighter future?

Lack of education: A stumbling block to progress

Majority of us agree that lack of education will undermine our country's progress. However, I think most of the parents do not seem to care what's lacking in today's curriculum. Specially for the masses who can only afford public schools, what matters to them is that their child graduates. Graduation may be enough proof to them that their child knows something.

The sad part is that some parents do not check if their child picked up what he needs to learn in school, specially math and English skills. Even if the child graduates elementary, high school and eventually college, it seems employers are having a hard time getting qualified candidates for their vacant positions. And their reason? The candidates are not qualified for the job.

Liberal Education in Public schools?

Like what Mr. Villanueva said in this interview, liberal education can be more effective than general education because lessons and topics can become relevant to the student, allowing them to become more interested to learn something new. It would really be nice to have this kind of system applied to public schools.

However, cool as the idea may sound, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to practice that in public schools. The liberal system needs mentors that will have a more hands-on approach on the student, ensuring that the student learns in the process. Public schools on the other hand have difficulty teaching students because of lack of teaching staff. Some schools have one teacher to more than 60 students in a classroom. How will the public school teacher ever teach on a more personal basis?

Parents: source of primary liberal education

A lot of us may blame our current education system why a lot of our young do not become successful in life. What we are forgetting is that the children's parents are partly to blame for our deteriorating education system.

First and foremost, it is the parents' duty to see to it that their child is learning something. It is their duty to check if their kids are having a hard time learning or coping up in their classes, or answer them if they have problems on a certain subject. If they see that the school is not doing it's role as educators of the young, it is the parents who should come out and complain to the school so that changes can take place.

While some parents do check up on their kids, others, specially the parents from the masses in the class D or E sector do not seem to care because, as embarrassing at it seems, they also do not know how to tutor their kids when the need arises. The end result? The children end up like the parents, knowing little of what they need to know if not none at all.

Second, it is the parents' duty to teach the children the liberal education they need. Children will learn algebra or English faster specially if the parents show their kids by example why they need it. It is the parents duty to teach their kids how to save money, plan ahead, how to express themselves through writing, how to do basic chores, how to behave in front of other people, ethics, morals, family values, respect towards others, and so forth.

Lastly, it is the duty of the parents to see to it that their child practices what they have learned, whether they learn it from school or from their own teachings. It is the parent's responsibility to make sure that the child grows to become a good Filipino citizen and a productive individual for the future. No school, public or private alike can ever replace the liberal education parents should instill on their child.

This is my entry to's Talks Blog Contest. Be part of the conversation. Visit the contest page to join. Feel free to comment on my blog post about My view on Moving from Traditional to Liberal Elementary and High School Education.

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