Just recently, the Philippines scored the lowest in reading comprehension in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Among 15-year old students in the 2018 PISA. The Philippines had an average reading score of 340, more than 200 points below China (555) and more than 100 points less than the OECD average (487). As a matter of fact, it really happened in the four corners of our classroom in our school. Observing our students at present many factors can be attributed to this maybe one of the factors is the too much magna carta for students and too much exposal in social media. But how can we give solutions to this? Here are several notes collected through interviews and forums from different concerned organizations and individuals.
Diagnostics. We can never go wrong with assessing their weaknesses and strengths. You cannot force a grade 10 curriculum guide to a student whose whose comprehension is of grade 7. For example, literary pieces of grade 9 cannot be appreciated by a grade 9 student whose comprehension is flawed. There is no way a teacher can transition to higher thinking skills abruptly.
This is where the teachers are at the mercy of forcing themselves to swallow the promotion of students from their earlier grade levels because of the policy of embracing what you have inherited. The cycle continues because those who promote nonreaders are in fact being branded as talented teachers because they have promoted students with no or low comprehension skills.
Compatible References. At some point where our teaching level can be at par with a curriculum level, we need to consider that kind of material that we use. The materials or references should coincide with the competencies in the curriculum guide, which means, we can use the textbooks or not. I have a feeling that teachers who insist on using the textbooks are just lazy knowing that some of our textbooks’ content do not match the needed competencies or its design is not necessarily fit to the learners.
Misleading Performance Tasks and Authentic/Creative Learning. Let us not spend too much time in asking students to build structures (like houses or any skills seemingly leading to an architectural degree), instructional materials (that will be displayed and rot in our faculty rooms), and other projects under the guise of performance or communicative purposes where in fact they take days to do it and the English language is hardly the focus.
The point is, these materials should be backgrounds of communicative processes and not the product of communicative teaching in itself. Authentic learning should be with respects to the area of teaching. In language teaching, you expect the students to spend more time in developing communicative competencies.
Limitations of Grouping/Collaborative Teaching. In my opinion these approaches or the strategies in them are not applicable all the time to heterogeneous and oversized class population. The first reason is that it only identifies the general condition of the class. It has no focus and outputs are done by the collective people. Remember there are skills better developed and appreciated individually. By the time you would like to go individual-focused on collaborative instructions, time is already consumed or you just discovered that some of them really need more time than the rest. In fact, you cannot resort to differentiated instruction in many instances because it requires some form of consistency in delivery where the pace of your students is different.
Student Promotion Policy. We know that we have this education for all policy but it should not be at the expense of promoting nonreaders to the next level. Principals should not be rated negatively on the retention rate so that they would not pressure their teachers to promote their students.
Reading comprehension is the work of all subject areas. This is in the universal principle that reading comprehension skills affects the academic performance of the learners. Systemic issues. Class size of 35 students. Paper works should be reduced. Non-teaching roles should be removed. Simply RPMS.
We should also take a look in the issue of Retention versus promotion. The number of studies unfortunately does not translate to how well effects of retention versus mass promotion on learning outcomes are now understood. There is great difficulty in deciphering exactly how retention or promotion affects education for one important reason: The fact that retention versus promotion is being considered means that something is already wrong. Otherwise, there would not be any question. Factors affecting learning outcomes are already present so that what happens in the future probably does not depend too much on whether a student is retained or promoted. What matters more is what educators do in response when a student is not meeting the expected goals. This goes far beyond retaining or promoting. Neither retention nor promotion really addresses the problem. It is this reason why studies on how retention affects students over the past decades has been unclear. Many teachers especially in public schools are confused with respect on the guidelines provided by education department in implementing the rules when it comes to the promotion of a student to the next level.
Retention versus promotion, according to the National Association of School Psychologists, is a wrong way of looking at education. Educators must instead focus on providing all students access to effective and equitable education. A student failing to learn inside a classroom strikes deep at the heart of an educational system. Mass promotion, on the other hand, allows children to be passed to the next level with no accountability. The issue of retention versus promotion has been the subject of a recent news item in the Philippines:
DepEd Order No. 73. S. 2012 defines promotion and retention by subject and not grade level. It is not surprising then that there is confusion. Students who fail in a subject are expected to erase these deficiencies over the summer. Right at the beginning, there is the question of how a student who failed because of truancy would fit in this procedure. Absenteeism is one of the most common causes of a child failing in an elementary class. A student who has failed to attend most of the classes is expected to make up all of the subjects over the summer. Thus, it seems that the teachers are indeed correct in interpreting the DepEd Order. It is mass promotion. After all, retention is not something proponents of the new K+12 curriculum would like to hear or see. On top of this, the performance ratings of a teacher are affected by retention.
By: Roslyn Lao-ing Dao-wan