Explaining the K + 12 Curriculum-A A +A
Thursday, May 31, 2012
IN THE previous issue of this column, I tried to present an overview of the government’s Enhanced K + 12 Basic Education Program and I have also discussed some implications. Before I continue discussing some more implications, allow me to give an overview of the curriculum design so that we will understand it better. Curriculum can be simply defined as “what we (teachers, schools) teach.”
The new curriculum is designed in a spiral progression. It is designed in such a way that the basics of a concept or a certain skill is introduced in kindergarten and will be developed until the learner, the pupil/student, masters it at a certain point in elementary or high school.
The concept or skill introduced in kindergarten will be taught again in Grade 1 but this time, it will be taught at a level appropriate for first graders. In elementary he starts to master certain concepts which later in high school he will be able to use.
As the learner advances to elementary, he still continuous to explore the concepts introduced in Kindergarten. Some more concepts and skills will be introduced also in Grade 1 and will be enhanced as the learner moves to the next grades. He continuous to develop life-long skills and acquires knowledge. This progression will go on until Senior High School when the child now chooses a specialization. So as the child develops physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially, the concepts and skills he started to learn also develop. The aim of the spiral progression design is for better mastery of concepts and skills.
The new curriculum is also designed to integrate all subject areas. This is based on the principle that a child learns best when he finds the connections of what he learns in a subject with other subjects. Research shows that learning doesn’t take place in segments. For example, when a learner enters his Science class, he doesn’t shut off his English class mind and turns on his Science class mind. Instead, he uses what he learned in his English subject to understand his Science lesson and vice versa. To illustrate further, the Science teacher also corrects grammar just as the English teacher does and the English teacher reinforces science concepts in teaching grammar.
The approach in the new curriculum is thematic also. It basically starts with the learner, his immediate environment, and goes on to exploring the world and the universe; it goes on in a spiral progression. With this approach, integration is easily done. For example in Grade 7, the first quarter of the school is basically about the student’s self. In English and Filipino the theme is on appreciating one’s self; in Values Education the theme is on valuing one’s self; in Social Studies the focus is on exploring one’s own place; in Integrated Science the focus is on the physical functions of the body; in TLE the focus is on acquiring basic skills for survival; and in Math the primary focus is on the application of Math concepts in real life. The goal of this integrated approach is for better understanding of the concepts and mastery of the skills.
An implication of this is the abolition of the Bureau of Secondary Education (BSE) and Bureau of Elementary Education (BEE) since there is only one curriculum for kindergarten, elementary, and high school. There will only be the Department of Education. Another implication is that teachers in elementary can teach in high school and vice versa. This is so because the elementary teachers should know what the high school teachers are teaching and vice versa. The status quo is that if you’re an elementary teacher, you don’t have business knowing what’s going on in high school and vice versa. This may also mean changes in the course offerings and subject offerings or a revamp of syllabi in the Colleges/Schools of Teacher Education in colleges and universities in the country.
There are a lot of implications with regards to this new curriculum and I think I brought out more questions than answers. I will try to discuss additional implications in this column in the following weeks. You may send your reactions, questions, and comments in my e-mail, email@example.com.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 31, 2012.