I am a reader enthusiast and I enjoyed a lot of information about our education. Why? As a mother, sending my kids to school was a big challenge. The best school was just out there but the pay was not affordable for me. So I just enrolled my kids to the nearest public school in my place.
I believed that parents are the first teachers at home. While sending my kids to public elementary schools, I bought plenty of supplementary books on academics, educational CDs and of course personal computer to easily access the Encarta and some educational websites. This had made the difference as my daughters turned out to be good at researching and exploring things on the internet. I remembered my youngest daughter while she was in grade one telling me that she doesn’t want to go to school anymore because she already had learned to read. I was astounded by her reasoning when she proved to me how her teacher exerted effort to teach her non-reader classmates, making her idle the whole day of the class. Well, I understood her case, because she was more busy watching videos about sciences and world historical places in the Encarta and answering on her own, the activity books I bought. Her teacher was teaching her the reading skills while my child was already on her researching skills at home, reading and listening to the different children stories, cartoons and anime
Philippine Public schools have very rich resources of manpower. Unfortunately, most public schools are deprived of technological advancements in the classroom setting. Some teachers remained on their traditional approach of teaching. Sad, but most of them still do not have permanent internet connections at home. Many books are obsolete, library periods and computer laboratories time are limited. Yes, my kid’s teachers were intelligent but the problem was their lack of opportunity in enhancing their students’ 21st century skills, the known skills of survival, initiative and productivity. Although some teachers had been adopting the problem solving techniques in their teaching, many had remained dormant to their old belief of imparting knowledge to the youngsters.
A single mother like me, has many apprehensions on how I would prepare my kid’s life in the real global setting 20 to 30 years from their childhood. I was afraid on how my kids will struggle the hectic economy of the country and the “Global interconnections” between people on economy and technology. I often had discourse with my co-teachers before, agreeing on what was the best schools for our kids. I was a pro-public schools while she was a pro-private schools. I ended up convincing her to just choose public school and provide our kids with PCs, books and other multi-media materials to make their learning authentic and meaningful to our times and to their lives. But she didn’t listen. She was economically stable anyway while I was not.
Robert J. Marzano et al in his research “Classroom Instruction that Works” has proven that best schools can only give 20% of student’s academic achievement rate compared to ordinary schools. Effective teachers and their teaching styles matter most. I just read his research recently and I concluded to myself that I was right. My three daughters who are already working to one of the big global networks in USA which headquarter is situated at Texas, are the evidences of my effort on addressing their learning needs while they were growing up. In their elementary years, they did multitasking on multimedia use. They read assignments on the internet while exploring some related articles on the subject. They arranged music into medleys while infusing pictures in the movie maker. They edit photos and do the recordings to their ringtones. These things were not taught in their classes.
One could not imagine when my eldest daughter had an unforgettable experience in class. She was insulted by her classmates and accused of being boastful as she included in her History class report “her computer” as a source of her research. She went home crying and was gravely disappointed because her teacher was not even on her side to defend.
Everyone knows the mismatch of our educational approach in school. I tried to exercise my initiative on this case. Using the English language at home has been a habit of the family members, initiating their reasoning skills when socially entrapped with peers, exercise their discrimination skills to avoid compromises and every time they committed mistakes I trained them to reason out “Why”. They were emotionally stricken I knew because they were abandoned by their father for long years but I grabbed those “emotions” to be a portal of their linguistic expressions. This had challenged them to become writers.
Their expertise in English language was easily noticed in universities. Instructors got amazed upon knowing they just came from a public school. They grew up with self-confidence, leadership and initiative. Sad to say, their University life ended after one year as we were financially broken.
Forgive me then upon disclosing in this article that College diplomas was not their means of becoming competent workers in our global economy. However, their expertise in communication using English to the different nationalities and accents had attracted their employer who said: “I’m glad I found you!”
When I asked my daughters where they learned those things. They just answered: “Gee mom, we are on the Net Generation and everything is in just one click away”