LAST week, I discussed the first of a 3-point agenda of DepEd called Digital Rise, about how wrong it was to expect everyone to learn the same skills and information as everybody else via a fixed curriculum.
This time, I want to tackle the 2nd and 3rd points — which is to preload material on teachers laptops, mapped to the curriculum, as well as to provide each learner with their own device to access e-Learning resources.
While I understand the idea that pre-loading material on laptops makes such information accessible to far flung areas that do not have internet access, I also see the danger in the wording that makes DepEd think it has the power to decide what sort of materials to preload. I’m sure there will be a lot of materials on mathematics and science, but what if the child’s interest doesn’t lean towards any of those?
What if a child is interested in learning and mastering card magic, or playing billiards, or singing? Will those be part of their e-Learning resources? DepEd might shake its mighty head and say those aren’t important but who are they to say what is or what is not important to a child? Accomplished magicians in places like Las Vegas can earn more in a year than our public school teachers earn in their lifetime.
Who are we to curate, censor and filter a child’s interest?
In fact, probably the only point I can get behind is providing learners with their own devices, but I fear that even then, they will try to lock the devices to access only materials they think are “educational.”
The best would be just to provide kids with a basic and inexpensive Android device, a place where they can access wifi, and leave them be.
There is a saying, often misattributed to Einstein that goes “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” That, in a nutshell is what DepEd does with its focus on curriculum, on standardized testing, and adding this or that subject because they think that’s what the child needs — never mind what the children themselves think.
It is tragically funny how DepEd uses the word “learner-centered” in their documents when what they do is anything but that. To be truly learner-centered means respecting and supporting the interest of the child, not to create a curriculum and then try to have the child fit in there.
To be truly learner-centered, one must learn not how to control, but how to set free.
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