Every civilization has the necessity of educating its citizens to continue its survival and continue its civilized status, unless it wants to go back to barbarism. With the tremendous development of economics and science and technology, there is indeed a great gap of interest and lerning between the young and the mature member of the society; so, there is a need for transmission of these possessed knowledge and customs of the group through education. Dewey believed that the continual existence of society is the same as biological life which require the process of transmission; transmission of aims, and habits of the social group through communication. Communication of such aims and habits can best perform through education. Education is a constant reorganizing or reconstructing of experience. It is a way of life. The process of education, of teaching and learning has become a necessity for the continual existence of the society. Education should aim in instilment of understanding certain things in the society which benefit its people and help them acquire common aims and interest. No social group can exist, as for Dewey, without sharing common aims, beliefs, aspirations, knowledge — a common understanding or like-mindedness as the sociologists say. Learning should also be relevant to the current needs of humanity, of the continuous re-adaptation of education to the society and people. Learning should embody not only industrialization but also culture and citizenship.
With regard to this issue at hand, the paper aims to presenting Dewey’s ideas on teaching philosophy for children and its significant impact to Philippine primary education. Teaching philosophy for children in this sense should not be taken technically but instead consider it as a process; a philosophical approach which enables the learner to participate in a social group discussion- a dialogue which will leads to awakening of curiosity, sharing of educative experiences and to build a community of inquiry to attain common interest. The discussion would only focus on Dewey’s philosophy of education; on how his philosophy of education influenced those who are supporting and teaching philosophy for children, especially of Mathew Lipman’s philosophy for children; and the state of Philippine education. Although certain challenges in Philippine education and the approach that currently practiced by teachers and school managements will be discussed, the author would not want to question their powers and authority when it comes to educating children. These challenges, teachers and faculty situation and curricular development will only be discussed to present the current flaw in the country’s traditional education.
Basically, the paper would help us understand that the current Philippine educational system is not promoting respect to individual child’s freedom and that can no longer sustain the needs of the society in creating patriotic Filipinos who holds the virtues and aspirations needed to continue the existence of the Filipino civilization. It will significantly help us to realize that education is the only means in transmitting the values, aspirations, culture, ethics, and social bonds between our citizens. In line with the said statement, the paper would like to emphasize on the value of integrating philosophy in the teaching of children by engaging learning to its relevance to a child’s life. We will also be able to understand that through inquiry based learning- by engaging literary materials to Philippine culture, values and aims; children would also appreciate the literary, cultural, traditions and beliefs of Filipinos long gone from western influence. Other than perceiving education as a mere communication and transferring of old values, habits and learning of the past, the paper would also help us realize that education through philosophy for children would also help the society in making reasonable, critical minded, virtuous, and socially conscious individual who not only exercise voting rights but also has the capable mind to be prepared how to live independently and think for themselves. For those who are planning to do some research on the field of Philippine education, the paper would also help in revealing that the current educational system is designed to control the social status quo, where there is a controlling class who wants to maintain their prevailing control to the masses and power.
Different resources have been used in preparation of this research paper such as text books, e-books, articles from online journals, thesis, and web contents. And due to scarcity of written materials in the Philippines regarding Mathew Lipman, the writer tried to use some video recordings of Lipman concerning his philosophy for children from youtube in able to add supporting documents to the paper.
The paper will be presented by discussing in the next chapters what Dewey and Lipman’s similarities in educating children and how their ideology in teaching philosophy for children be an advantage to learning especially when it comes to thinking and reasoning. Issues in the underlying challenges in teaching philosophy for children in primary level for those teachers who would teach the said curriculum will also be explained. Another topic to be illuminated from the darkness is the importance of encouraging thinking in primary education and how this thinking through philosophy for children would help in the appreciation of national culture, values, traditions and sense Filipino citizenship. Issues on primary education would also be covered and discussed to give way to the understanding of how teaching philosophy for children be beneficial in their learning.
John Dewey’s Philosophy of Education
Children are immature members of the society who needs to be nurtured, cultivated, prepared, and shaped into the standard form of social activity. It is the vital role of education to increase the practice in accepting responsibilities, of enlightening the young to citizenship, morality, and virtues of the society where he belongs. Education should not only prepare the children in acquisition of content knowledge but also prepare them how to live, of how they will use their full potentialities that can be use for the common good; it should not only focus on systematizing and development for living but also for self improvement, involvement in politics, cooperation, well being, respect, and learn to value the current system and make the most out of it. Proper and guided education can be expected to solve the complex social problem of democracy (such as poverty and inequality). Dewey sees education as something that can prepare children for social change and citizenship. Social consciousness can only be awaken by means of social conditions that trigger the person to be involved in it. Language alone would not be enough in instilling this attitude of social consciousness but also physical activities. Language might turn out to be just as a noise if failed to convey its meaning and relevance to humanity.
A truly scientific education can never develop so long as children are treated in the lump, merely as a class. Each child has a strong individuality, and any science must take stock of all the facts in its material. Every pupil must have a chance to show what he truly is, so that the teacher can find out what he needs to make him a complete human being.
Dewey insisted that changes in education should promote changes in society, the democracy in the school should create citizens for a Democracy. Schools should not impose individualistic and competitive environment but instead should create a miniature society that promotes communal and cooperative environment where children treated as citizens, can share ideas, build a community of inquiry, and can feel freedom and equality.
Because of his observation from two conflicting schools of thought regarding educational pedagogy, he realized that something is wrong with these methods of learning. With children considered as a passive learner in traditional education, with their estrangement in the imposed standards, subject maters and methods, they cease to experience a social community inside the school. Dewey finds the traditional mode of learning as something which is opposed to expression and cultivation of individuality. Acquisition of mental skills, confidence, social consciousness and class participation will never be developed in the traditional mode of learning. Part of a student’s deeper understanding develops from active engagement. John Dewey, in his “Schools of Tomorrow” had compared the Organic School of Marietta Johnson with the rigid procedure of the traditional schools and have mentioned that instead of providing this chance for growth and discovery, the ordinary school impresses the little one into a narrow area, into a melancholy silence, into a forced attitude of mind and body, till his curiosity is dulled into surprise at the strange things happening to him. It is then a clear implication that what we have in the traditional school curriculum is a mind controlling, result oriented, and dictatorial mode of learning. Students learn best by actively ‘constructing’ knowledge from a combination of experience, interpretation and structured interactions with peers and teachers. Effective involvement can only be achieved through gradual participation into group discussions, and patriotism and social responsiveness is only an implication of a good orientation to the society and its aims and aspirations. In this case, he sees the school and education as instrument in creating social change and reform. The primary level of schooling is the most important stage of learning, and according to Dewey, “The amount and the mode of learning in this school of action is the most significant in revealing the importance of type of occupation within the school involving the exercise of senses and movement.” This stage is very essential stage in molding the child’s social consciousness and attitude towards fellowmen and society because this is the turning point of their maturity. Earlier education is the foundation of men, if it’s good your future will be better, but if there’s a deficiency in your earlier education, you are building a sandy foundation. Through self involvement to activities, the child will understand the purpose and relevance of such activity to his life. An effective education allows the student to relate the new information to his past experiences which deepens the connection with this new knowledge. Students learn better when they focus on the “how” instead of the “what.” When a student focuses on the “how” instead of the “what,” they develop a deeper understanding of the material, which leads to better performance. Dewey also argued that young children learn best through active, hands-on teaching methods.
The goal of the school is to make up for gaps in the home life of the pupils, to give them opportunities to prepare for a better future, to supply healthful occupation and recreation and to improve neighbourhood conditions.
Through advocating an educational structure that strikes a balance between delivering knowledge and also taking into account the interest of the students, Dewey was able to establish an ideal school of thought where children can participate in the class discussion, acquire confidence by sharing ideas and dialogue among other children and attainment of social consciousness freed from the mind controlling, result oriented, dictatorial mode of learning and teachers. Other than that, Dewey believes that the curriculum should emulate real life challenges and “occupations” of everyday life. Every learning can only be meaningful if it adds to the course of subsequent educative experiences. One particular experience can mean a lot in the sense that it will enlighten the individual of things related to such particular experience from other things, which previously ignored. When anyone becomes interested in a problem as a problem and inquiry and learning for the sake of solving the problem, interest is distinctively intellectual. Educative experience, as what Dewey believed, is an added power of subsequent direction or control.
To say that one knows what he is about, or can intend certain consequences, is to say, of course, that he can better anticipate what is going to happen; that he can, therefore, get ready or prepare in advance so as to secure beneficial consequences and avert undesirable ones.
Through proven and tested experience, one will have the ability of anticipating what will be the possible outcome of certain activity. That will then serves as a means of control to the forgoing event and ensure that the outcome will be less harmful and meaningful if not prevented. John Patrick Diggins quoted that, “Dewey showed how one could cope with the world even while being uncertain of it…Dewey insisted that human purpose is not grasp on immutable reality but to control an environment of change and contingency.”
An American author of “The Origins of Progressive Education” William Reese, viewed that “the child should be an active, not passive, learner; that the teacher should be a guide, not master; that the curriculum should adapt to a changing industrial society, not remain lodged in the past; and that something need to be done about the many incompetent teachers who sent their pupils to nearly eternal sleep.” We can see that the traditional school consists of restricted children and disciplinary institution which impose rules and regulations that the children should follow these rules and regulations and follow the teacher. Progressive education on the other hand has a promising program of providing a sense of freedom inside the school where every children has the freedom of doing what they ought to do as a child and express what they feel through sharing of thoughts and ideas in an open discussion. This sense of freedom , as for Dewey is closely tied to freedom in a democratic society. This inquiry based learning will then teach the children the responsibilities of freedom, as opposed to “the conventional type of education which trains children to docility and obedience, to the careful performance of imposed tasks because they are imposed, regardless of where they lead, is suited to an autocratic society.” Teaching people from the time they are children to think clearly and to take care of themselves is one of the best safeguard against exploitations. School, education, curriculum and teachers represent the community which builds the environment of the students that help in the construction of their individuality and citizenship.
One of the greatest developments in Dewey’s philosophy of education portrays a type of learning where students have the same rights with the teacher; where both are learners in the process. The teacher in this approach were not meant to establish such predetermined results about the study but instead should serve as a guide, as a facilitator in the class discussion to a thorough revelation of many questions that should awaken the interests of the students and learn from it. The teacher should not suggest the students what to do, for that is an unwarranted trespass upon their sacred intellectual individuality since the essence of such individuality is to set up end and aims. It has also been mentioned that “Since learning is something that the pupil has to do himself and for himself, the initiative lies with the learner. The teacher is a guide and director.” We can say that the teachers can improve learning and interests by devising special exercises that promotes training of thoughts.
Dewey’s educational philosophy focuses not only on teaching children how to read and write but also exposing them to social and political matters in the society. Learning by doing rather than by drill would lead the student to –and here Dewey indulged his penchant for the language of biology- “development,” “formation,” integration,” “unification,” “continuity,” “progression,” “and especially “growth.” He transformed philosophy from theoretical to practical by merging his pragmatic ideals to the process and methods of learning.
The Problem in Traditional Education
Dewey argued, students were alienated by a curriculum of abstract subjects and pre-digested textbooks and that a set of curriculum isolated the school from society. Traditional mode of learning built an environment where teachers maintain a set of rules and regulations established by schools. Students on the other hand, because of such rules and regulations were to follow and be obedient at all times. With children considered as a passive learner in traditional education, with their estrangement in the imposed standards, subject maters and methods, they cease to experience a social community inside the school. Dewey finds the traditional mode of learning as something which is opposed to expression and cultivation of individuality. “But when opportunity for individual self-expression is limited by too much formal instruction, worth-while interests which might, if encouraged, persist throughout life, may well be discouraged and lost.” Acquisition of mental skills, confidence, social consciousness and class participation will never be developed in the traditional mode of learning. Other than the mentioned problems in traditional mode of learning, this kind of learning would not only produce a passive individual who will act as the keeper and parrot of knowledge of teachers but also create a society of antagonism because this kind of education value international competencies and monetary advancement and children are evaluated in terms of competitiveness. The nature of learning is based from who dominates the rest will be the one acknowledge as the one who learned a lot—an indication that this kind of learning is a learning that introduces a ruler-ruled, master-slave, and a feudal-worker type of environment.
Flaw in Dewey’s philosophy for children and its alternative solutions
Although John Dewey and other early progressive educators have failed to address structural issues that might affect the choice of every individual, of the realities of the world children were to enter as adults, the brutalities and inequities of this world, the racism, exploitation of workers, political and business corruption, effects of imperialism and colonialism, they have still made a remarkable influence in the field of education. Their ideals- respect to the natural capacity of every child, to the belief that education should be joyous and creative, of confidence in every child’s ability to know, are remarkable.
Since Dewey and other progressive educators already attempted to introduce a utopian idealism concerning educating children for the attainment of the common good of the society, of liberating the child from social responsibilities, of a democratic view of education, of the schools social role and civil society, it is then the time for the people of the contemporary era to realize what are the things that should be adopted and rejected in this progressive movement. Indeed, Dewey’s progressive education has a danger to spoil the child by pleasing him just to earn his interest and exposing into too much freedom, it is then the role of education, of the method of instructions and the teachers to guide and watch the child’s character and personality development. It can be argued that on Plato’s dialogue, Socrates and Protagoras had a dialogue about virtue, where the former contradicts himself by stating that virtue cannot be thought although he asserted that all things are knowledge; as it can be thought, and that the later claimed that virtue cannot be thought. There is indeed a big difference between knowledge and virtue, between intellect and will, so, the learner can be thought of doing the right thing such as returning stuff that are not theirs cannot guarantee that they would do what has been thought, still, Plato on the other hand asserted that virtue might be thought. We can therefore conclude that even if Dewey’s philosophy of education might have a danger in spoiling children by too much respect on its individual freedom, still, it is manageable by means of instruction and methods that helps in building their character and personalities.
There could also be some challenges in training teachers on how to construct their ideas and deal with this kind of inquiry based discussions. Other than teaching problems on how to acquire children’s interest and facilitating an informal class, the teacher might also be overwhelmed on the environment where there’s no rules to be followed but instead a free flowing discussion guided by literary activities and play type of teaching. But, since philosophy for children has been practiced and developed over different countries and with the help of online resources, instructional materials for teaching, guides for facilitating the class and some literary materials to be used for engaging children in inquiry based discussion were made available. In addition, many other web sites also offer trainings and even additional online resources to which books can be used for further engagement to discussion of philosophical questions and situational topics.
Mathew Lipman and the Foundation of Philosophy for Children
Mathew Lipman was a professor of philosophy from Columbia University. During the contentious years of Vietnam War, Lipman have noticed that many of his students were having problems presenting their views about the conflict and convinced him that learning to think critically, to inquire about philosophical questions and to form reasonable judgments should begin much earlier. His ideals on teaching philosophy for children were greatly influenced by the influential pragmatic philosopher John Dewey. They share similarities on approach to teaching children by engaging them to inquiry and allowing students to reflect on the subject of the discussion for further enhancement of thinking and reasoning.
Because of the observation Lipman has experienced in the poor reasoning skills of his adult students in Columbia University, he realized that this reasoning skills should be developed at an early age. He aimed at teaching children logic to enhance reasoning and same as the early Greeks have realized, centuries ago- the perfection of thinking process; a process that culminates in philosophy.
He pointed out that children should be learning in school with fun environment. He believed that simple textbook can be presented as an adventurous material by exploring discoveries through different activities. His approach to teaching philosophy for children has been influenced by Dewey in many ways. One of those is the ideology that learning should be conducted through activities and dialogue where children would reflect on the experiences they have from school. This king of process helps children to understand the relevance of studying by not just merely reading textbooks and learning to write but also realizing that what they are learning in school has relevance to their life. In this manner, textual contents are communicated through activities and play in connection with real life challenges. Not only that Lipman’s Philosophy for Children or commonly known as P4C helps in the formation of character and behaviour but also helps the child to be prepared in facing reality with fun environment. Although as same as the other progressive reformers, Lipman’s P4C might also in danger of facing the challenge of misintrouducing the child to the reality of the cruel world. It can be argued that the practice of freedom and self expression children can get from this program might never be well accepted to the larger schools—to those schools which do not practice inquiry based method of instruction. There might also be a negative implication in the traditional schools on the higher education to the child’s outlook in life and behaviour if the former cause culture shock to the child by not acknowledging such freedom that the later had experience from the earlier education. Teaching philosophy for children will be a good foundation of education since this pedagogy teach children the ability to adjust to their environment. It is also a preparation for the children to think for themselves and for their adult life which enable them to understand that the situation is a challenge that they need to face and find a solution.
Lipman aslso tried to show education from the point of view of the child and parents; as for the former, meaningfulness of learning and as for the later, its thoughtfulness. He argued that traditional education is a disappointment to both by stating:
The child’s claim can be seen as a demand for meaning, the parents as a demand for rationality. The existing education process can only be a disappointment to both, for children are not disciplined in such a way as to enable them to engage in effective reasoning, nor are their school experiences contextually structured so as to make available to him a rich and tempting array of meaning.
Lipman and the others also noticed that parents seldom demanding that the school train the child in Reasoning much as parents do everywhere demand the other three R’s for the children. The attention to the drawing of ifference, the citation of reasons for beliefs, the quest for evidence, the formation of concepts are what parents failed to emphasize in considering what kind of learning their child should get.
Since children are individuals who are hungry for meaning in nature, the program P4C designed a kind of learning where children should not die for boredom of sitting in their desk for hours in school. Lipman and his fellow P4C advocates believed that they can give meaning to texts ad literature by engaging children into cultural and historical discussions and allowing them to reflect on it in connection to their lives. Meaningless approach to educating children will result to boredom and eventually to lack of interest and learning. P4C had given a great emphasis on the relationship of education and meaning. Children in as early as primary grade should understand the meaning and purpose of going to school so as not just think that schooling is just a mere baby-sitting operation, and to keep them out of the labor market. The reality of children ditesting schooling drives them to implementing a meaningful process of learning.
But if schooling experience where as rich and meaningful as it is capable of being, we would not see children detesting their lives in school, as so many in fact do.
As it was mentioned in the early part of this topic, the perfection of thinking is what P4C aims for in education children. Although thinking is a natural process which commonly thought as a process same as our organs do and misconceived that thinking is already on the best performance it can be, Lipman and the others believed that it has not yet reach its full performance. They believe that thinking is a natural, but it can also be recognized as a skill capable of being perfected. Thinking is very essential in learning, and through proper guidance, upon the process of its perfection, children would attaint the ability of dealing effectively the immediate cognitive tasks, such as problem solving and discussion making, the process in perfection of thinking would also improve judgement.
The Aims of Philosophy for Children
With the foundation of International Advancement of Philosophy for Children in 1972 through the leadership of Lipman, he was able to start teaching children logic and philosophy in belief that the foundation of good reasoning should begin from childhood. Basically, the P4C program aims was elaborated in Lipman’s Philosophy in the Classroom and these are the:
- Improvement of Reasoning Ability
- Development of Creativity
- Personal and Interpersonal Growth
- Development of Ethical Understanding
- Development of the Ability to Find Meaning
With these aims the program wants to bring into reality, teaching philosophy for children would not only improve reasoning and critical thinking but also the child’s morality.
Commonly, when parents bring their kids to school, they want them to be intelligent. The problem in the existing process of education children is that it has put too much emphasis on reading—it becomes an end of educating children. On the contrary, education process neglected the fact that reasoning should be developed in children other than reading. Even if there is a debate about the thoughtfulness of thinking—of it capable to being thought, still Lipman and the P4C advocates believe that it can be encourage. The program believes that if there is a good foundation in the process of reasoning it will manifest a good quality t thinking. Other than reasoning, philosophy for children also gives a significant emphasis on thinking because thinking is very necessary in everyday life. Whether it’s a vendor, dress maker, teller or even elevator operator, still they are required to think. It has been argued that the purpose of teaching philosophy for children is to perfect thinking. In this manner, Lipman showed that philosophy for children can give a significant impact in other academic discipline.
Experimental research has shown that introducing philosophy for children in a sustained and rigorous way by trained teachers can make a significant impact on basic skills.
Philosophy in the Classroom also revealed that teaching philosophy for children would also make a significant impact in academic performance of students by indicating that other than earning the ability of raising preliminary questions about the underlying issues of different disciplines, students would also earn the ability of developing critical habits and methods of inquiry essential to students proficiency in these areas.
The International Advancement for Philosophy for Children (AIPC) is an organization build to promote teaching philosophy for children. Their conception of reading and mathematics are just “basic skills” because they are said to be able to unlock and to reinforce other cognitive processing; performance in these areas can be no better than thinking skills that underlie them. The dialogical approach practiced in this method of learning has been considered as something that generates reflection as oppose to the traditional assumption that reflection is the means to engage in dialogue.
The common assumption is that reflection generates dialogue, when in fact, it is dialogue that generates reflection.
Lipman believes that class discussion concerning issues that matters to children are memorable and intellectual stimulating events of the school day. Lipman’s philosophy for children has a strong inclination to self reflection by engaging to dialogue and is considered as an effective means to develop thinking skills. Other than thinking, dialogue also develop confidence, social consciousness, judgement, morality, patriotism, political involvement and as well as cultural and traditional appreciation. A philosophical thinking skills program, in addition to encouraging children to be rigorously critical, will encourage them to speculate imaginatively. Another role of philosophy for in education for thinking is that it does not only provide motivation of thinking, but it also serves as motivation for making children think better. Philosophy strengthens reasoning, inquiry and concept-formation skills which makes better thinking.
Influences in Lipman’s formulation of P4C
Mathew Lipman’s educational philosophy can said to be greatly influenced by John Dewey, but, not only Dewey inspired him in constructing his educational philosophy but also the philosophers Lev Vygotsky and Plato. Lipman adopted Vygotsky’s view that children has different problem solving ability when solving individually and in collaboration with their teachers and classmates. Plato influenced Lipman in his philosophical point of view that education be conducted “not by compulsion buy by play” and that he mentioned that philosophy for children happens to be the fulfilment of Plato’s pedagogical admonition. Vygotsky on the other hand inspired him by his idea that the formation of classroom community as indispensable for stimulating students to think and to do at higher level of performance that they would display if acting individually. Lipman showed his great admiration on Dewey’s idea that nothing in human society commands our admiration as much as the way human institutions such as science and art, medicine and law seek in their practice to approximate their respective ideals of truth and beauty, health and justice.
Lipman’s idea in the need of reconstructing education has been inspired by Dewey’s philosophy of education and his great influence in American education that formed what has been said as the paradigm shift in the history of education—the idea of redesigning education to have thinking rather that learning as its target. Aside from Dewey’s approach to teaching children with freedom of individuality by allowing them to explore through play and engage in dialogue to build a community of inquiry, Lipman was also inspired by Dewey’s philosophy by stating that:
The major philosopher associated with this shift was John Dewey, although he was of course powerfully influenced by Peirce and G.H. Mead. But it was primarily Dewey who portrayed the natural course of thinking in everyday life as a concatenation of problem-solving efforts, who saw science as the purification and perfection of those efforts, and who saw education as a growth-producing, meaning-producing strengthening of the faliable thinking process indigenous to all human beings.
Lipman’s adoption of Dewey’s view on education also lead him to the understanding that when the shift to educating children from learning to thinking (reasonableness) be accepted as its goal, other thinks will betin to fall into place, like a domino effect. They both envision on education where both teachers and students contribute to their learning—that not only does the teacher act as a producer and the student as the consumer of information and learning, of a gardener who nourish the growth of the flowers but also a part of an adult intervention in liberating the thinking process in the student for its preparation for the adult life to think for themselves, rather than parrot the thinking of the teacher and the textbooks.
The State of Philippine Education
Laws Amended for Education
Many curricular changes have been applied to the Philippine education ever since the end of the war in 1945. The government also amended laws stated in the Section 3(2) of the Article XIV of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and Republic Act 9155 concerning educational institution:
(2) They shall inculcate patriotism and nationalism, foster love of humanity, respect for human rights, appreciation of the role of national heroes in the historical development of the country, teach the rights and duties of citizenship, strengthen ethical and spiritual values, develop moral character and personal discipline, encourage critical and creative thinking, broaden scientific and technological knowledge, and promote vocational efficiency.
Further developments were brought about by the passage of Republic Act 9155 on August 11, 2001. The law is known as “An Act Instituting A Framework of Governance of Basic Education Act, was passed transforming the name of the Department of Education, Establishing Authority and Accountability, Renaming the Department of Education, Culture and Sports as the Department of Education.” It provides that it is declared the policy of the State to protect and promote the right of all citizen to quality basic education and to make such education accessible to all by providing all Filipino children a free and compulsory education in the elementary level and free education in the high school level. Such education shall also include alternative learning systems for out-of-school-youth and adult learners. The goal of basic education is to provide the school age population and young adults with skills, knowledge, and values to become caring, self-reliant, productive and patriotic citizens.
Contrary to the law amended for educational institutions stated in The 1987 Philippine Constitution and The Republic Act #9155 is what Bienvenido Lumbera saw in the Philippine education that made him say that:
Sa edukasyon pinapalaganap ang Ingles bilang midyum ng komunikasyon. Tinanggal ang mga sabjek na makakahimok ng teknikal na pag-iisip, kinompres ang lahat sa Makabayan Curriculum, at pinaboran ang siyensya, matematika at Ingles.
It can be seen that there is a big difference on what the government wants the educational institution should teach and what these institutions are really teaching the students. What happen to the teaching and the accessibility of learning is not in accord with the law the government amended. It can be argued that educational institution has the power to manipulate the culture by imposing a social agenda that would either bring about a culture of passivity and silence, or a culture of dissent and freedom. Learning has become isolated to historical event that once have been a significant mark of Filipino civilization. Social Studies which exposes children to these historical and cultural facts has been compressed together with other minor subject resulting to the demarcation line of education from what is for economic advancement and what is for social progress. Not only poverty and also as what Lumbera et. al appealed that not only issues on enough fundings and misprioritization is what educational problem the country is facing but most of all is the misorientation of national educational system.
Because of such misorientation of education about what should be learned, many students has never realize the true value of involvement to social issues and even reject the idea of being involve in subjects concerning awakening of oneself to the national historical figures—if also given a chance to choose what country they are to live, 95% of respondents would choose other countries that Philippines. Lumbera’s statement is also an emphasis that once again, educational institution in the country has failed in delivering quality education that promotes critical thinking.
The Positive and Negative Impact of
Influences in Philippine Education
Education in the Philippines was influenced by colonization of Spanish and Americans. But, Philippine education was primarily influenced by American education and proof can be seen from text books and the curricular system of the country tailored from the American education.
The present system of education in the Philippines is patterned after the prevalent state school system of the United States.
Because Philippine education was patented to American education, the country’s educational foundation has become a little bit far from what Filipino education should be about. Other that the country’s education as being designed in accord to the American curriculum, it has been said that the country’s education is also being controlled by minimising the consciousness of the Filipino students concerning Filipino life, culture, ideals, heroes, and history.
As a result, subjects which are vitally important for nation and culture-building like history courses are dependent upon the economic calculations of the students. Since there students exist in a capitalist milieu where monetary advance is considered of primary importance, students consider if they will profit from such knowledge materially or no. In this market-driven culture, the purpose of education of instilling the values of social responsibility is defeated in the face of intense individualism promoted by liberalism and neoliberalism as they are expounded in theories in our schools today.
A decline on Philippine education has been observed and a report generated by Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM) stated that the competencies of elementary, high school and of the colleges and universities does not meet what the average Filipino can academically perform during the pre-war period.
Critiques on the negative influences of Americans to the structure of educational philosophy of the Philippines has viewed that the reason why the country is stagnant in development in terms of economic advancement is because the education that has been imposed in the country is designed to manipulate the people under their (United States) power. To make Filipinos think American and to maintain its territorial control over the Philippine through education.
On the issue concerning the observation of the decline in educational performance of students in comparison to the average Filipino during the pre-war period, it can be observed that many Filipino veterans were even complaining on how the current generation of students are performing in the academe. Some also have mentioned that even high school graduates before can qualify for teaching.
The quality of elementary education has deteriorated over the years as indicated by the low achievement rates of students in SY 2007 – 2008 which were around: 64.81% in Math, 63.89% in Science, 57.90% in English, 61.62% in HEKASI (Social Sciences) and 73.18% in Filipino.49 All scores were low compared to the desired 75% cut-off score. Meanwhile, the Philippines ranked 41st in Science and 42nd in Mathematics from among 45 countries in the Trends in International Math and Science Survey.
This data is not only an indication of poor educational performances of Filipinos but also an indication of an ineffective curriculum to the needs of the Filipino to be well educated. It can also be observed in different primary classrooms that children are not actively participating to class discussion especially when it comes to history and literature. In this manner, it can be said that the current prevailing educational system should be re-inventented, transformed or re-designed not only for economic advocacies but also for the awakening of the critical and nationalist spirit.
The method of instructions should not only about absorption and mere learning but also about construction and giving out. The later methods are individualistic in nature and it affects the child’s way of judging and reacting. The children were not able to produce his own contribution to learning but instead he participates in the production of others. The social spirit is not cultivated.
Although there have been few negative side-effects of foreign influences in the Philippine educational system, it can still be argued that there are also positive side of it. American education thought Filipinos the idea of freedom, democracy, independence, and character development—although this was only thought for the benefit of teaching but was not been thought for the benefit of acquisition of as such. American influence to the Philippine education atleast open the gate for an accessible education for children regardless of gender which can be considered as one of the significant contribution in educating Filipinos. This formal education was only available for few citizens way back Spanish Period and through the establishments of public schools during the American colonization, and with the implementation of the compulsory basic primary education, many children were able to somehow attain the ability of reading and writing (although reading and writing is not enough to be considered literacy without understanding).
Dewey, John. Democracy and Education. New York: The Free Press, 1916; Feather Trail Press, 2009.
Dewey, John. Experience and Education. Indiana: Kappa Delta Pi, 1998.
Dewey, John. Schools of Tomorrow. New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1915; General Books 2010.
Bauzon, Prisciliano T. Fundamental Philosophy of Education. Edited by Aurelio O. Elevazo. Mandaluyong: National Book Store, 2009.
Duka, Cecilio D. Philosophy of Education revised Ed. Manila: Rex Books Store, 2006.
Edman, Irwin, ed. The Philosophy of Plato. New York: Random House, 1959.
Forest, Ilse. Early Years at School. New York: McGraw-hill Book Company Inc, 1949.
Lipman, Mathew. Philosophy Goes to School. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988.
Lipman, Mathew , Ann Margaret Sharp, and Frederick S. Oscayan, Philosophy in the Classroom. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1980.
Lumbera, Bienvenido, Ramon Guillermo, and Arnold Alamon, Mula Tore Patungong Palengke. Quezon City: Ibon Books Foundation, Inc., 2007.
Ratner, Joseph. Intelligence in the Modern World. New York: The Modern Library, 1939.
Tuibeo, Amable G. Introduction to Philosophy: A New Perspective. Manila: FCA Printhouse, 2010.
Diggins, John Patrick. “Philosopher in the Schoolroom.” The Wilson Quarterly No. 4 Vol. 13, (Autumn, 1989): 76-83.
Reese, William F. “The Origins of Progressive Education,”History of Education Quarterly 1, Vol. 41. History of Education Society (Spring 2011): 1-24.
Roschelle, Jerremy, Roy Pea, Christopher Hoadley, Douglas Gordin, Barbara Means. “Changing How and What Children Learn in School with Computer-Based Technologies.” The Children and Computer Technology Vol. 10, No. 2, (March 2000): 76-101.
Weiler, Kathleen .“What Can We Learn from Progressive Education?,” Radical Teacher No. 69.University of Illinois Press: (May 2004): 4-9.
Barawid, Rachel, Claire Feliciano, Kenneth Kabotaje and Allen De Luna. “Are you in favor of having a subject on Andres Bonifacio?” Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp., (July 21, 2011, 12:32pm)
de la Cerna , Madrileña. “From education forum to EDSA.” Cebu Daily News, (February 27, 2011 09:38:00)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). National Education Support Strategy (UNESS). Philippines, January 2009.
 Joseph Ratner, Intelligence in the Modern World, (New York: The Modern Library, 1939), 627.
 John Dewey, Democracy and Education, (New York: The Free Press, 1916; Feather Trail Press, 2009), 4.
 Ibid., 5.
John Patrick Diggins, “Philosopher in the Schoolroom,” The Wilson Quarterly vol. 13, No. 4, (Autumn, 1989): 81, www.jstor.org/stable/40257948 (accessed 04/12/2011).
 John Dewey, Schools of Tomorrow, (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1915; General Books 2010), 137.
 John Patrick Diggins, Philosopher in the Schoolroom, The Wilson Quarterly vol. 13, No. 4, (Autumn, 1989): 82, www.jstor.org/stable/40257948 (accessed 04/12/2011).
 John Dewey, Experience and Education, (Indiana: Kappa Delta Pi, 1998) , 5.
 John Dewey, Schools of Tomorrow, (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1915; General Books 2010), 20.
 Jeremy Roschelle et al., “Changing How and What Children Learn in School with Computer-Based Technologies”, The Children and Computer Technology 10, No. 2, (California:
Packard Foundation, 2000): 79, http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/docs/00/19/06/10/PDF/A103_Roschelle_etal_01_Packard.pdf (accessed 06/20/2011).
 Joseph Ratner, Intelligence in the Modern World, (New York: The Modern Library, 1939), 609.
 Ibid., 605.
 Jeremy Roschelle et al., “Changing How and What Children Learn in School with Computer-Based Technologies”, The Children and Computer Technology 10, No. 2, by Richard E. Behrman (California: Packard Foundation, 2000): 84, http://halshs.archivesouvertes.fr/docs/00/19/06/10/PDF/A103_Roschelle_etal_01_Packard.pdf (accessed 06/20/2011).
 Joseph Ratner, Intelligence in the Modern World, (New York: The Modern Library, 1939), 614.
 John Dewey, Democracy and Education, (New York: The Free Press, 1916; Feather Trail Press, 2009), 90.
 John Patrick Diggins, “Philosopher in the Schoolroom”, The Wilson Quarterly vol. 13, No. 4, (Autumn, 1989): 83, www.jstor.org/stable/40257948 (accessed 04/12/2011).
 William F. Reese, “The Origins of Progressive Education”, History of Education Quarterly vol. 41, (History of Education Society: 2011): 23, http://www.jstor.org/pss/369477 (accessed 06/18/2011).
 John Dewey, Schools of Tomorrow, (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., 1915; General Books 2010), 303.
Joseph Ratner, Intelligence in the Modern World, (New York: The Modern Library, 1939) 223-224.
 John Patrick Diggins, “Philosopher in the Schoolroom”, The Wilson Quarterly vol. 13, No. 4, (Autumn, 1989): 80, www.jstor.org/stable/40257948 (accessed 04/12/2011).
John Patrick Diggins, “Philosopher in the Schoolroom”, The Wilson Quarterly vol. 13, no. 4, (Autumn, 1989): 80, www.jstor.org/stable/40257948 (accessed 04/12/2011).
 John Dewey, Experience and Education, (Indiana: Kappa Delta Pi, 1998) , 5.
Ilse Forest, Early Years at School, (New York: McGraw-hill Book Company Inc, 1949), 60.
 Further discussion can be seen in Kathleen Weiler, What Can We Learn from Progressive Education?” in the journal of Radical Teacher no. 69, (Progressive Education: May 2004): 8-9, www.jstor.org/stable/20710239 ( accessed 04/12/2011).
This can be seen in the dialogue from Irwin Edman, ed., Platos “Protagoras,” The Philosophy of Plato, (New York: Random House, 1959), 259.
Mathew Lipman, Ann Margaret Sharp, and Frederick S. Oscayan, Philosophy in the Classroom, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1980), 11.
 Mathew Lipman, Philosophy Goes to School, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988), 32.
 Ibid., 16.
 Ibid., 18.
 Chan Robles Virtual Library, The 1987 Philippine Constitution, ARTICLE XIV: EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, ARTS, CULTURE AND SPORTS—EDUCATION, http://www.chanrobles.com/article14.htm (Accessed 06/23/2011).
 Cecilio D. Duka, Philosophy of Education revised Ed., (Manila: Rex Books Store, 2006), (my Italic), 128.
 Bienvenido Lumbera, Ramon Guillermo, and Arnold Alamon, Mula Tore Patungong Palengke, (Quezon City: Ibon Books Foundation, Inc., 2007), xiii.
Education has always reflected the ideologies or bias of those who owned or controlled the education system. Few discussion can be referred to Amable G. Tuibeo, Introduction to Philosophy: A New Perspective, (Manila: FCA Printhouse, 2010), 116-117.
 Bienvenido Lumbera, Ramon Guillermo, and Arnold Alamon, Mula Tore Patungong Palengke, (Quezon City: Ibon Books Foundation, Inc., 2007),xv.
 The current educational system failed to conform to what educational reform government has amended and instead of bringing up children into patriotism, critical thinking and social consciousness, education seems to make children think foreign than Filipino. For further references, you can refer to Madrileña de la Cerna ,“From education forum to EDSA” ,(Cebu Daily News, Posted 09:38:00 02/27/2011) available at http://globalnation.inquirer.net/cebudailynews/opinion/view/20110227-322492/From-education-forum-to-EDSA (accessed 07/25/2011) and RACHEL BARAWID, CLAIRE FELICIANO, KENNETH CABOTAJE and ALLEN DE LUNA “Are you in favor of having a subject on Andres Bonifacio?”, (Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp., July 21, 2011, 12:32pm) available at http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/327689/are-you-favor-having-a-subject-andres-bonifacio (accessed 07/25/2011).
 Cecilio D. Duka, Philosophy of Education revised Ed., (Manila: Rex Books Store, 2006), (my Italic), 127.
 Further discussion can be seen from Bienvenido Lumbera, Ramon Guillermo, and Arnold Alamon, Mula Tore Patungong Palengke, (Quezon City: Ibon Books Foundation, Inc., 2007), 4-5.
 Ibid., 25.
 Prisciliano T. Bauzon, Fundamental Philosophy of Education, ed. Aurelio O. Elevazo, (Mandaluyong: National Book Store, 2009), 121.
 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), National Education Support Strategy (UNESS), (Philippines, January 2009), 14, Available at http://www.unesconatcom.ph/docs/education/uness_report.pdf (Accessed 07/24/2011)
Amable G. Tuibeo, Introduction to Philosophy: A New Perspective, (Manila: FCA Printhouse, 2010), 122.
 Bienvenido Lumbera, Ramon Guillermo, and Arnold Alamon, Mula Tore Patungong Palengke, (Quezon City: Ibon Books Foundation, Inc., 2007), 342.
Mathew Lipman, Ann Margaret Sharp, and Frederick S. Oscayan, Philosophy in the Classroom, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1980), 3.
 John Dewey, Moral Principles of Education, (Houghton Mifflin Company: 1909), 21.