Sunday, June 21, 2009

MODULE1: Thinking Ability



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.


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.


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.


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.”

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

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fearing English in the Philippines

Today, it is internationally acknowledged that English has become the world’s most important language that is used as a medium for international communication. Quirk et al (1985) think that the importance of English stems from four factors. First, the number of native speakers of English is more than 300 million. Second, English is spoken over geographically dispersed areas about 1500 million people-- over a third of the world’s population-- live in countries where English is either the native language of the country or one of the native languages. Third, English is the language of great literatures and a primary means for the twentieth century science and technology. Fourth, English is the language of the United States of America, which has an enormous economic and political impact all over the world.

The demand for English is great. Good jobs require candidates capable of speaking English fluently because it has become the international language of trade and business. English is needed for access to the world of computing worldwide. Most of the information stored in computers is in English. It is also the language of international aviation, shipping, sport and public communication. English is an assigned subject within the educational system of most Arab countries. English learners at the secondary school level are considerably increasing due to the rapid increase of the population. in the developing countries. Many students from different parts of the world travel to English-speaking countries to continue their higher education where English is the medium for their studies.

Kindly take a look at the article below regarding the attitude of Filipinos in fearing the English language:

Fearing English in the Philippines

By Isabel Pefianco Martin
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Sometime ago, at a teacher training session I conducted, I made the mistake of suggesting that Math and Science teachers consider code switching (using English and Tagalog) as a strategy for making lessons less difficult for their students. I did not know that the school had just implemented an English-only policy in the classrooms, corridors and faculty lounges. No wonder teachers and students rushed to the quadrangle during break time!

This practice of enforcing English-only zones in schools is symptomatic of the lack of awareness among school heads about the nature of languages, as well as the basics of learning a language. One important reality that many overlook is that students will not learn a language if they fear it.

In the Philippines, the language most feared is English. I see this in my students who joke that their noses bleed after they talk in English; in my friends who claim that they speak English only when they’re drunk; and in my doctor who suddenly switches to Tagalog after I tell him that I teach English. We see this fear of English in classes where students feel stupid because they mispronounced a word; in contact centers where applicants take accent neutralization sessions; and in English review centers that continue to mushroom throughout Metro Manila. Fear of English is also manifested in predictions that the country is approaching an English-deprived future; in House bills that seek to make English the sole medium of instruction in schools; and in courses or training programs that focus only on developing grammatical accuracy.

Many research studies prove that learning a language becomes more effective when emotional barriers are eliminated. Linguist and educational researcher Stephen Krashen refers to these emotional barriers as “affective filters.” The formula for success in learning a language is painfully simple: the lower the feelings of fear (low affective filter), the higher the chances of learning.

One famous Filipino who exemplifies the lack of fear of English is boxer Manny Pacquiao. I have observed with delight how Pacquiao, in his post-fight interviews, confidently and effortlessly churn out so-called “carabao” English to share his joy over his victories. Pacquiao does not fear Barrera or Morales. Why on earth should he fear English?

Just recently, 17-year-old Janina San Miguel was crowned Bb. Pilipinas World 2008 despite her “funny” English during the pageant’s Q&A. Janina’s experience proves that personal successes need not be dependent on proficiency in English. Why fear English then?

From a linguistic standpoint, all languages are equally perfect and complete. This means that there really is no reason to fear English. Nothing in the sound system or writing system of English makes it superior to other languages. Conversely, nothing in the sound system or writing system of the national and local languages makes these languages inferior to English. It is the Filipinos’ attitude toward English that elevates the language to a prestige form. It is this same attitude that makes it difficult for most Filipinos to learn it.

Another reason English should not be feared is that the language is not owned by one country or one race, as many Filipinos believe. The profile of English today reveals that ownership of the language is already shared across continents and cultures. In international English Language Teaching circles, academics do not talk about English in singular terms anymore. There is widespread recognition that several Englishes exist—American English, British English, Australian English, but also, Malaysian English, Singapore English, and yes, Philippine English. In addition, “non-native” speakers of English are beginning to outnumber “native” speakers in the world today.

To be sure, English occupies an important place in Philippine society. But, it is only one language among the 150 that exist today. It is believed that most Filipinos speak at least three different languages. For these Filipinos, English might not even be one of the languages they speak. So when English is first introduced to them, it should be introduced slowly and gently, with much respect for their first languages.

Teaching and learning English in the Philippines may be a difficult task, but it need not be a frightening experience. So much has already been spent on testing the proficiency of teachers and then training these teachers to become more proficient in the language. But simply focusing on testing and training, without recognizing the multilingual context of teaching and learning English in the Philippines, only reinforces fear of the language.

This year, the International Year of Languages, all language education stakeholders are invited to reflect on their policies and practices so that Filipinos will finally regard their languages, including English, not with fear, but with confidence and pride.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I. Course Code : ENGL1

II. Course Title : Study & Thinking Skills

III. Course Description : This course is a study of communicative and thinking skills. It deals with the development of critical understanding of language gearing towards expressing oneself in various situations.

IV. Pre-requisite : None

V. Credit : 3 units

VI. Course Objectives : Develop the use of the English language as a tool for expression of thought by utilizing the effective language- learning activities.

Specifically, the students are expected to:

1. Comprehend oral and written materials ranging from general interest to specific discipline.

2. Appreciate the importance of study and thinking skills in various situations.

3. Paraphrase identified errors in reading materials.

VII. Course Outline :




Thinking Ability

Introduction to thinking ability


Background on English instruction

Levels of thinking


Vocabulary Development


Introduction to vocabulary development

Increasing vocabulary

Vocabulary learning method 1

Vocabulary learning method 2

Ways to increase use of new vocabulary

Strategies in getting the meaning of unknown words


Reading Comprehension


Introduction to reading comprehension

Description and examples of questions

Comprehension activities:

  • The Battle of Alamo

  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Edwin Forrest

  • Etching

Midterm examinations




Logical relationships between concepts


Analogy: Description and examples of analogies

How analogy is presented

Strategies in solving an analogy question

Common analogy relationships

Important facts about analogies


Structure and written expression



Description of structure and written expressions

Examples of structure and written expressions

Analysis of grammar principles



Sentence completion questions and frequency

Description and examples

Analysis of grammar principles

Final Examinations


54 hours

VIII. Learning Activities

A. Lecture, discussion and end of chapter assignments

B. Advance reading of topics reflected in the course outline

C. Group presentations and projects

D. Individual/Group classroom exercises

IX. Grading system: The work of students shall be graded at the end of each semester in accordance with the absolute grading system, i.e., 60 % as the passing grade.

Quizzes 30%

Class Participation 30%

Midterm/Final Exam 40%

TOTAL 100%

X. Class Policies

  1. Students are expected to strictly use the English language during class hours.
  2. Students of this subject are expected to complete fifty- four lecture hours as the preliminary requirement for this course. Since this course is more on the development of study, critical and thinking skills, students are required to participate in class discussions.
  3. Each student is required to bring pocket dictionaries in class. Portable dictionaries in media devices such as cell phones are not allowed.
  4. Eleven (11) absences will be considered automatically dropped from the list.
  5. Fifteen (15) minutes after the Official Time will be considered late and three (3) lates are equivalent to one (1) absence.
  6. Cheating during quizzes, monthly tests and major examinations is strictly prohibited.
  7. Mobile phones, mp3s, iPods, and other electronic gadgets even headsets are not allowed in class.
  8. There will be an automatic class suspension if the instructor is not yet present for fifteen (15) minutes.


Instructor : Ms. Abigail C. Gomez

Department : Education and Development Studies

Consultation Hours :

Contact Number : 09212964253

Class webpage :

Monday, June 1, 2009


This is an online class for CvSU CBE ENGL1 (Study & Thinking Skills) under Ms. Abigail C. Gomez.

This will be an official site where you may download articles and lectures which are to be used in classroom discussions.