WHY BE PROFICIENT IN ENGLISH?
In the Philippines, people often judge the quality of education in the Philippines if he knows English well. As students, you will be judged by the quality of your written and oral performance. Dr. Felicidad Robles in her book Developing English Proficiency in College, states that the greatest significance of English as a language to Filipino students is that English is an “intellectualized language”. English makes the world’s knowledge available and accessible. It is not enough to learn Filipino alone because “Filipino is not an intellectualized language”. Physics, chemistry, astronomy, biology, mathematics, philosophy, law, medicine, and all the highest knowledge of man is available in the intellectual languages such as English, German and French. Filipino is considered a language for the expression of the emotions. Hence, it still needs to be intellectualized.
Discuss the following questions with your instructor:
1. Explain on the statements:
a. One cannot get an education through Filipino alone because “Filipino is not an intellectualized language.”
b. English is an intellectualized language.
c. How could it be possible that “Filipino is not an intellectualized language” if mentioned during the last article posted on this blog, that all language is perfect?
2. Is it true that all instructors are English teachers except those who are teaching the Filipino subject? Explain your answer.
WHY TEACH THINKING?
Thinking skills development is an important educational goal if students are expected to cope with the challenges of today’s rapidly changing world. There are several reasons for teaching thinking. Marzano and Arredodo (1986) state every basic reason. Some say that the knowledge of the world increases 8-15% every year. Since thinking skills necessary for success in the information age are not properly taught (students pick them from their environment) THE EDUCATION SYSTEM IS ACTING AS A SORTING SYSTEM. As the job market becomes more and more polarized or concentrated this might cause great social unrest in the future.
The task of the educators is to produce a changed environment for learning- an environment in which there is a new relationship between students and the subject matter, in which knowledge and skill become objects of interrogation, inquiry and extrapolation. It is expected therefore that as individuals acquire knowledge, they should also be empowered to think and reason. According to Presseisen (1988), one of the major thrusts of teaching thinking involves not only learning cognitive skill, such as comprehension analysis, classification, and evaluation, but also becoming aware of the strategies that are appropriate in the particular cognitive task. Metacognition which is “the ability to know what we know and what we do not know” or thinking about the way we think is now seen as central to the development of skillful thinkers.
It is not adequate to master the core thinking skills and complex processes per se; the learning- to- learn strategies that enable the students to plan, monitor and revise their own activity for more productive performance are also required for competence development and for the independence of the learner. Given the complex world students today face, Chipman and Segal (1985) suggest that the flexibility and competitiveness contained in the techniques of learning how to learn may have the most lasting influences on student achievement.
RESULTS OF BRAIN STUDIES AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS TO LEARNING
There has been much publicity the past few years, regarding the students’ lack of basic skills, their inability to think clearly, and their poor use of problem solving strategies. What really is the nature of the learner? How does he perceive, analyze, and organize events? How does he comprehend what he is reading? Why does he forget? How does he remember?
Science has for many decades sought answers to these questions by probing into the biology of the brain. Some of the findings about the human brain and their implications to education are:
1. Trythopan, an amino acid is important for brain chemistry and human milk has twice as much of this substance as cow’s milk.
2. About 20 weeks after conception the human embryo has laid down its entire nervous system: 12-15 billion neurons.
3. About 10 weeks before birth, each neuron starts to send out numerous thin fibers to make actual and potential connections with other neurons/ the power of the brain is largely a function of the number of neurons and the richness of their connections. The more the brain is stimulated the more and richer the connections and the higher the mental ability. Many of the basic interconnections are made before the age of five.
4. By age 5, the brain is already 90% of the adult size. Full adult size is reached at about age 10, w/ a weight of about 3lbs. That is about 2% of the weight only YET the brain requires 20% of the oxygen supply of the body.
5. Your brain has more than 15 billion nerve cells or neurons. Research shows that you are using only 4-5% of them. This means that 95-96% of your brain power is unused.
6. Mental ability does not decline with age. What deteriorates is the body; clogged arteries, diminished body supply, hypertension. There is no evidence that physio-chemical reactions become less frequent with age. In fact RNA, which is involved in memory, actually increases with age.
7. The better encoding of the new material and the more associations, the better the retrieval. The time spent in learning is important, but the way the time is spent and the way the information is presented have even more enormous effect on the rate of the learning.
8. Remembering the principles involved is always more efficient than remembering the specifics.
9. Learning through examples is much better than learning through reciting definitions.
10. Interactive visual imaging can improve recall by 300% compared with simple rote learning. Imaging by visualization is a powerful learning device.
11. The mind can create its own reality. Imagination has the power to suggest behavior and attitude changes.
12. Whether people are given lists of numbers or letters, they could not recall lists of more than about seven items.
13. Learning is enhanced when the expectation of success is high, the learner is strongly motivated, stress free and enjoys the activity. When the target is achieved, reward the learner.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THINKING ABILITY
The way students express their thoughts has some relationship with the way they think. It is through language that thoughts and feelings are expressed; that teachers and students state facts, offer explanation and justify their opinions. Prescott et al., states: “Most people send their children to school to learn fundamental communication skills, computational skills, and thinking skills. People ask the teachers to concentrate not on what to think but on how to think. They expect the teachers to emphasize cognitive processes and to plan for a variety of them so that students have a wide range of experience to draw on as they grow”.
Research has shown that the quality of education in the Philippines has been deteriorating. This is reflected in the decline of the quality of thinking. Those students in the elementary, secondary, college and even in the graduate school are weak in thinking and reasoning. Educators must be fully aware of one of the main goals of education in any level i.e., to help our young people to develop their ability to think. As Cesar Hidalgo, a language expert, pointed out: “The Filipino student must be trained to think. He cannot write if he cannot think”. Any student in English must be enabled “to comprehend, to think, critically, to synthesize, to relate and to integrate. Therefore, to teach language is to teach thinking.”
LEVELS OF THINKING
1. KNOWLEDGE- recall, remembering previously learned material
2. COMPREHENSION- translate, grasping the mechanical term
3. APPLICATION- generalize, using learned material in new and concrete situations
4. ANALYSIS- break down/ discover, breaking down material into its component parts so that it may be more easily understood
5. SYNTHESIS- compose, putting material together to form a new whole
6. EVALUATION- judge, judging the value of material for a given purpose