No more homework, but two more years
On Sept. 16, Education Sec. Armin Luistro issued Dept. Memo No. 392, s. 2010 prohibiting teachers from giving homeworks or assignments during weekends to pupils. Titled “Guidelines on Giving Homework or Assignments To All Public Elementary School Pupils,” the memorandum was issued in order for the pupils “to enjoy their childhood, and spend quality time with their parents without being burdened by the thought of doing lots of homework. Although this is DepEd’s response to parents’ complaints, teachers and other stakeholders opine otherwise.
Sec. Luistro in this same edict admitted that homeworks or assignments, which have been part of the pupils’ school lives, are meant to “increase their knowledge and improve their abilities and skills.” However the same learning procedure should be limited to as not to “rob” the parents and the pupils quality time to be together in more enjoyable activities. In this memo, he advised that “teachers limit the giving of homework and assignments to a reasonable quantity to give their pupils ample time to rest and relax at home for the rest of the day.
Luistro, who is the president of the globally acclaimed De La Salle University, came out with this “stunning” instruction allegedly and solely on the basis of parents’ complaints. Without further elucidating on the substantial inimical effects of giving homeworks or assignments or in Filipino “Gawaing Bahay” to the children’s development, Sec. Luistro desired this Memo to be immediately and widely disseminated and followed.
Henceforth, all bureau directors, regional directors, schools division and city superintendents and heads of public elementary schools are enjoined to have this followed without discrimination as to whether or not the school ranks high in the National Achievement Test or produces qualifiers to the prestigious Philippine Science High School and other specialized academic institutions. Not one public school is exempted.
While Luistro and his consultants deem this new development as a positive approach towards improving the relationship between parents and the pupils, as there will already be ample time for them to bond and have more quality time together, the same is frowned upon by those who view it as a setback to improving the students’ study habits, especially nowadays that mass media and the Internet take too much of this supposed quality time between parents and their children.
Further, while the national government seriously adopt the international policy of K plus 12 or Kindergarten plus 12 years (that is, one more year in grade school and another more year in college on top of the pre-requisite pre-elementary school), here is one policy of the DepEd that not only limits the giving of homeworks or assignments but totally banning it during weekends to all pupils in all of the 37,600 public schools in the country. If the purpose of K-12 is to make these students competitive enough to face the real battle in the employment or job-seeking arena at the age of 18 when they graduate in high school, why will this no-homework-during weekend policy which was issued simply because of parents’ complaints get into the way of improving the students’ study habit, sense of responsibility and time management while they are still pliant and trainable?
In an inquirer.net report, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) expressed its dissention contending that “weekend homework afforded both parents and teacher occasion for quality time together.” Quoting its spokesperson Emma Policarpio, the article wrote, “In reality, making assignments can turn into a bonding moment for parents and their children,” adding that the teachers know how much work to give students for the weekend and (does it) to “develop (in the students) self-learning, self-discipline and time management skills even without the supervision of teachers.”
Clarifying her stance, she added in the same inquirer.net report, “The DepEd has good intentions for the memo… But teachers know what kind of assignments to give students—those that they can do on their own. Homework is not intended to burden children.”
In DepEd teacher.blogspot.com, a few commentaries were posted in the morning of September 17 by government teachers (Ulirang Guro) )on this issue. Here are some of them copied verbatim.
(Classroom) “I’ve been teaching English for almost four years now. My students know that I don’t give homework on weekends, except when it’s really necessary for them to accomplish one. I make it clear that they have to read a book, either fiction or non-fiction during the two days of freedom from school.
Doing homework is important in developing study habits. Some students relish doing their homework, as I did when I was a student. It’s not something we can do without. I made up my “No homework on weekends” policy three years ago when I noticed how students struggle with the other tasks dumped on them in other subject areas.
I didn’t expect that DepEd would come up with a memorandum implementing zero homework on weekends. I may want to lighten up the students’ tasks, but I don’t want ALL homework to be banished from their weekends. Let’s not spoil them that much.”
(Anonymous) “paurong ang sistema! other countrie were teaching their pupils on how to do robots, on how to make computers…. but us, assignments lang???!!!! we’re robbing the child’s day of rest?????!!!! No wonder we have poor quality of education. Pupils are not hardworking anymore, no sense of study habits… we must teach them hardwork! at a very young age, they must learn hardwork… to be competitive… to be fighters… matibay sa hirap… hindi malambot sa kakaunting homework!”
(Anonymous) “dahil lang nagrereklamo ang mga magulang??? para sa ikabubuti naman yan ng mga bata. alam naman nating lahat na hindi ganun kataas ang antas ng pag aaral satin.. lalo sa public.. Imagine a teacher for more or less 70 students without the help of homework during the weekends.
unang una.. kawawa ang teacher… hirap na magturo sa dami, hirap pa lalo mag turo kasi no homeworks to keep the students on tract sa lessons nila. at sa huli pag bumagsak ang student, teachers ang masisisi. pangalawa… kawawa ang students; pag dating sa college mas macculture shock sila. puro laro inaatupag ng elem – hs sila, tapos hindi na nila alam pano i-manage ang time nila kasi nga nawalan na ng disiplina sa pag aaral. pangatlo… kawawang pilipinas.. panobagong batikos na naman sa ibang bansa…”
Somebody quips, “Why not give it a chance and the benefit of the doubt?” Indeed, it may too early to judge Sec. Luistro’s newest memorandum. Therefore, the directive should be given time to serve its purpose.
Hopefully after that particular time has been reached it will not be too late to remedy the policy’s effect when pupils start to deteriorate in terms of developing study habits especially on weekends, or when they suffer some sort of “culture shock” should they move to private schools which are not practicing the no-homeworks-on-weekends policy as they are not covered by DepEd Memo 392 s. 2010.
It is further hoped that DepEd Memo No. 392 will serve to improve the competitiveness of this country’s young learners wo are poised to experience the good and not quite-good repercussion of K plus 12.
By: Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros
Short URL: http://leytesamardaily.net/?p=3982