When news of K-12 curriculum spread 2 years ago, the common knee jerk reaction of Filipinos was of contempt—K-12 curriculum has just been prejudged as an ill-timed unnecessary additional expense. They can’t be blamed. The sound economic fundamentals were not really being cascaded to the grassroots level. Maybe a part of me even had that knee jerk reaction.
But findings will tell us that K-12 is not ill timed; neither is it unnecessary. The Philippines is the last country in Asia and one of only three countries in the world (the other two being Djoubuti and Angola of Africa) with a ten-year pre-university program.
Our curriculum has to be responsive to the global standards.
Upon reading the news item in the official gazette of the Philippine government with link www.gov.ph/k-12, I became cognizant of the salient features of the K-12 curriculum.
Universal Kindergarten is a salient feature that will prepare the kids the children from informal to formal education as they advance to the primary level. It is aligned with familiarization with essential concepts.
Contextualization and Enhancement makes lessons more interesting as the topics are related to things that are already familiar to the learner. As the page illustrates, the triangle is compared with the vinta, Mount Mayon and bandiritas. It communicates to the learner that the things being learned in school are things which are already around them—in their physical, social and cultural environment. Using Bloom’s taxonomy, they are not just involved in recall and comprehension, but they are able to apply and synthesize the learning experience with the immediate environment.
The mother-tongue based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) feature of the K-12 is also interesting since ALL subjects from K to 3 will be taught in the mother tongue. It is advantageous for students since the language at home and community is also the language in school. This means the child’s adjustment, as far as language is concerned, won’t be difficult. Moreover, it’s easier for students to grasp the concepts as they learn in their mother tongue.
As I read this part of the article, what came to my mind was an English and Filipino class where mother tongue is translated to English and Filipino. Example, kayu in Ilocano is puno in Filipino. Then kayu in Ilocano is tree in English., and so forth and so on.
Hence, mastery of the mother tongue will be the tool to learn Filipino and English. And once they learned Filipino and English, these will be the languages of instruction beginning grade 4—found to be effective in the global community, and now a beginning field of educational research in the Filipino context.
Furthermore, the Spiral Progression in learning Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math is consistent with the basic to advanced approach in a gradual manner since the topics will be spread across the grades. This lessens the so-called “trauma” that students associate with the fast paced approach in learning each of these subjects in a year—one year for biology, one year for chemistry, and another year for physics.
Eventually, the senior high school may prepare the students for further academic studies, employment or entrepreneurship since there are three tracks: academic, technical-vocational-livelihood, sports and arts. This means that teachers have to prepare themselves well, since teachers will be the foundation of the successful implementation of this program—having direct contact with the students. Teachers should engage in multi-tasked, multi-disciplined, and multi-skilled activities.
Looking at the said scenario, the K-12 will have tremendous benefits for the students—as research have shown in various countries. The K-12 curriculum will have a great impact at home, school, community, and country. As a teacher, I have hopes—and trust—in this endeavor.
As the article stated, the K-12 graduate will be equipped with (1)information, media and technology skills, (2)learning and innovation skills, (3)effective communication skills, and above all, (4)life and career skills.
These are exciting times.
The implementation of the K-12 curriculum in the Philippines is not of ill timing; it is long overdue.