Tara Quizmundo (firstname.lastname@example.org) of the Inquirer brought the following DepEd press release to our attention in an October 25, 2010 email to MLE-Philippines@yahoogroups.com.
To be fair, the arrangement was negotiated in the last year of the previous administration as an aftermath when one previous administration high official took a trip (more appropriately called a junket) to Spain and, mindful of his manners but not his country’s pocketbook issues, consented to the teaching of Spanish to our high school students without much public debate. I have this sneaky suspicion that this high official of the previous administration did not have any inkling why Spanish was banished from the college curriculum a few decades ago. I was a little more hopeful that the present administration would be a bit more circumspect before actually committing to the Spanish language teaching program. But, as in the “enhanced K+12 basic education” deal, we’re taking this thing hook-line-and sinker without benefit of an impact study. Whoa, I thought one of the arguments for the K+12 proposal was that there’s just not much time for our students to absorb what is being taught to them. Now, assuming the proposed K+12 fizzles out, aren’t we about to increase the academic load for our high school students by requiring them to take the additional Spanish course — and thereby giving them even less time to absorb what it is they’re required to absorb now?
With the Spanish Government’s cooperation in the Spanish language teaching program, DepEd appears even more excited in promoting the teaching of this foreign language — and disappointingly less excited in committing our teachers to their proper training in MLE teaching and MLE materials preparation as called for in last year’s DepEd Order No. 74 institutionalizing the use of the mother tongue as medium of instruction from pre-school to Grade 3. Some of our teachers have to spend their own money to go to Thailand to train in MLE teaching — there’s something wrong in this picture…
“Some 21 Spanish-speaking countries with economic activities worth US$4 trillion,” the press release says, “await the services of the Business Process Outsourcing sectors which demand call center agents that speak Spanish.”
The question is, how many of our high school students will wind up working in the BPO call centers or go to work overseas where the Spanish speaking skill is required?
I don’t mind the teaching of Spanish as an ELECTIVE — but certainly NOT AS A REQUIREMENT for graduation from high school. This solution, as former Deputy Minister of Education Abraham Felipe aptly puts it, addresses the needs of a few in a more focused way and does not indiscriminately impose on every Filipino the costs of meeting the needs of a few.
Anyway, here’s the DepEd press release:
Spanish profs train Pinoy teachers on language teaching
The Department of Education (DepEd) with the support of the Government of Spain, through the actions of the Ministry of Education of Spain, Instituto Cervantes and the Agencia Espanola de Cooperacion Internacional Para el Desarollo (AECID), are training select public school teachers from 54 schools nationwide in teaching the Spanish language.
“This is part of the continuing partnership between the Philippine Government and the Government of Spain,” said Education Secretary Armin Luistro. “This time, they will learn about advance methodological content and strategies in teaching the language.”
The 102 teachers are being trained by professors from Universidad de Salamanca provided for by the Ministry of Education of Spain. Training is being conducted at Instituto Cervantes in Manila and at the Ecotech Center in Cebu until October 29.
Javier Menendez, Education Advisor of the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines wrote, “I am sure our mutual understanding and collaboration shall result in a most beneficial in-service training for the Philippine teachers of Spanish.”
Grants will also be provided later on to allow teachers to attend intensive or summer training and professional development courses organized by Spanish universities.
Of the number of teacher-trainees, 27 teachers from the pilot schools are taking the advance methodological content and strategy at the Instituto Cervantes with another 44 from expansion schools in Luzon taking the methodology course. Some 31 teachers from Visayas and Mindanao will take the methodology course in Cebu.
Schools are selected based on their achievement levels in English from the National Achievement Test. One or two teachers from each identified schools are sent for training.
Published through DepEd Memorandum number 445 series of 2010 last October 12, the training aims to capacitate the teachers on: linguistic command of Spanish in grammar and vocabulary aspects from functional communicative approach; available resources to integrate culture content in Spanish as a Foreign Language (SFL) class; methodological approaches for teaching-learning SFL and offering patterns for the design and implementation of activities; communicative competence in real contexts of Spanish usage, by consolidating the competencies of each major skill (reading, writing, listening, and speaking); and Spanish culture and civilization, in order to contribute to a better understanding of the country and its people’s way of life.
Some 21 Spanish-speaking countries with economic activities worth US$4 trillion await the services of the Business Process Outsourcing sectors which demand call center agents that speak Spanish.
Pilot schools with on-going Spanish Language program are Ilocos Norte National High School, Lemu NHS in Cagayan, Honorato Perez Memorial Science HS in Cabanatuan City, Cavite Science HS, Dolores NHS in Marinduque, Naga City SHS, Capiz NHS, Don Pablo Lorenzo Memorial HS, Regional SHS of Region 10, Davao City Special School, Tupi NHS, Agusan NHS, Ifugao Provincial SHS, Quezon City SHS, and ARMM SHS. These schools represent each region except regions 7 and 8.
Expansion schools will be Civil Aeronautics Administration NHS in Pasay City, Ramon Magsaysay HS in Manila, Amparo HS in Caloocan City, Carlos P Albert HS and Tandang Sora Integrated in Caloocan City, Paranaque NHS, Tinejeros HS in Malabon City, Mangatarem NHS in Pangasinan, Don Eulogio de Guzman Memorial NHS in La Union, Santiago City NHS, Cagayan NHS, Dipaculao NHS in Aurora, Juan R Liwanag MHS in Gapan City, Pampanga HS in San Fernando City, Bayorbor NHS in Batangas, Lumbang NHS in Batangas City, Bernardo Lirio MNHS in Tanauan City, Domingo Yu Chu NHS in Oriental Mindoro, Looc NHS in Romblon, Palawan NHS and Palawan State University in Puerto Princesa City, Camarines Sur NHS in Naga City, Catanduanes NHS, La Castellana NHS in Negros Occidental, Lourdes Ledesma del Prado MNHS in Tanjay City, Cebu City NSHS, Quinapundan NHS in Eastern Samar, Hinunangan NHS in Southern Leyte, Balua NHS in Cagayan de Oro City, Tagoloan NHS in Misamis Oriental, Alae NHS in Bukidnon, Davao City NHS, Tagum City NHS, Digos City NHS, Esperanza NHS in Sultan Kudarat, Irineo Santiago NHS in General Santos City, Jagupit NHS in Agusan del Norte, Mainit NHS in Surigao del Norte, Lapinigan NHS in Agusan del Sur.