Bare walls, bare education (Conclusion)

Bare walls, bare education
Photo by Ben Sturt

The learning environment is so crucial. It needs to be a place of diversity, with different points of interest and inspiration. For younger learners in particular, they learn through play. There needs to be bold and exciting visuals, evidence of work and learning, active displays, reading corners, books, different objects and toys, creative materials, and spaces for them to exercise and socialise.

Perhaps I have misinterpreted DepEd’s directive. They do have a valid point when they talk about the dangers of displays getting stale and old. It is true that there is little point having things on the wall if they are irrelevant or unstimulating, especially if they have been up for a long time. Walls need to be “alive” and interactive, they need to be refreshed and play a key role in the learning process. This allows children to actively engage with them and make the most of their learning environment.

The quality of what’s on the walls is central to the effectiveness of them. My fear, however, is that DepEd’s Order does not take account of this nuance and instead encourages a complete removal of materials from school walls.

I would welcome further clarification from the Department of Education on Order No. 21, s. 2023, about whether it makes an exception for quality, relevant, and active displays, because my fear is a literal interpretation of their directive, as I currently perceive it, would see learning environments wrecked and students’ work put away. These items are not distracting, they are a crucial component to the learning environment.

Bare walls equals bare education. Teachers: defy the ban and keep the displays proudly up.

Ben Sturt is a foreigner who works as an English teacher at Stockbridge American International School here in Davao City.


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