My column for last week's issue of Vox Bikol.
LAST WEEK, I ran a survey on the question "Do Filipino teachers really need to write daily lesson plans?" Though unscientific by its nature, I feel the opinion shared by my readers are worth sharing.
Mi, a student-teacher, said in defense of lesson planning:
"I've always been rebellious with regard to lesson planning and following these plans, but one thing I learned -- they are helpful. If you make a lesson plan, you'll have more confidence in delivering your lesson, you know what you want to happen.Schumey, a fellow blogger and Michael Schumacher fan, took the opposite view: "Lesson plans are detrimental to the whole teaching-learning process. One has to consider the pace and capacity to comprehend of your students. This is the reason why our students fail miserably during evaluation tests. We need quality not quantity."
"This would be most true to student-teachers and new teachers, as more seasoned ones should have their plans by heart already."
Porfirio Rubirosa, on the other hand, agreed with the Wikipedia item I quoted last week: "Lesson plans should be for rookie teachers only who are still groping in the dark, and needs constant reminders. But for veteran teachers, they should already know it by heart (the subject matter), and maski na pagbalilabaliktarin ini, they still have the mastery over it."
From the 14 who voted in the poll, 42% (6) said there is a need for daily lesson plans, 21% (3) said they're not needed, while 28% (4) said there is a better way.
On the surface, it appears that daily lesson plans do have a place in the learning process. Mi, I think, captured its essence: "The point is the lesson plan is a guide for you as a teacher in such a way that you know what exactly are you going to teach, what are the important points to bring up, and what you intend to accomplish."
But viewed differently, the seven votes cast by those who don't think so and those who believed there is a better way, taken together, outnumber the six who unequivocally voted for the daily lesson plans.
Who does it imply? One, daily lesson planning remains a contentious issue. Two, there is a need to treat seasoned, experienced teachers differently. There is sense in cutting them some slack and trusting on their experience to get the job done.
Thirdly, there is a strong sentiment for continuous improvement, of finding a better way in monitoring and evaluating teacher performance. Come to think of it, lesson plans are merely tools to facilitate the teaching-learning process. To rigidly require them of teachers is to fatally mistake an output for an outcome.
I believe the paramount outcome of the learning process must be measured on the student: Has he truly learned what he is supposed to learn inside the classroom? Or in teacherspeak, did he gain the minimum learning competencies at the end of the school year?
This is where Schumey's point precisely comes in: the need for evaluation tests to determine whether the public school system is indeed giving our young Juan de la Cruzes the quality education they deserve. This, I think, is how our teachers and the DepEd should be measured at the end of the day, not whether their daily lesson plans were faithfully prepared.