Preparatory Crash Course in Literature for High School Students in the Philippines
In the Philippines today the length of Primary and Secondary schools is being debated whether to add another two more years in the usual six years primary and four years secondary, making secondary also six years for a total of twelve years in preparation to college education. School principals and teachers alike are divided. Paying parents in the privates schools are resistant while even non-paying parents in the public schools raise their brows on the plan of the government. Many sectors question the program for that would mean paying more and staying longer in school. Parents want their kids to finish school right away so that their children can help them alleviate their poverty. So what’s the use of adding years in the 100-year long educational system when Filipino graduates all over the world are competitive. Below is a proposal based from a study the writer conducted on the Language and Literature program of Famy National High School Laguna, Philippines on the possible solution to help the lack of students preparation and exposure to Literature before they go to tertiary or higher education sans the issue of adding number of years in the secondary school.
After scanning the environment of the students, teachers and the materials available in Famy National High School in Laguna Philippines they both used when they had the English 4, the proponent saw the needs to prepare the fresh graduates from the Famy National High School by giving a preparatory crash course program in Literature to prepare them for the demands and rigors of college Literature courses.
The fourth-year high school students did not have enough exposure in learning Literature because the book they used entitled Moving Ahead in English published in 1999 which was framed on integrative approach hence, mastery of the four macro skills was emphasized throughout the year. The lessons they had in Literature was a mixed of World Literature, Asian Literature and Philippine Literature given after each lesson. Their exposure on Literature was not based on a solid foundation because the focus was more on language and not on Literature. Out of seven lessons, one was only given to Literature with questions focusing on the moral or didactic lessons. The students themselves looked at Literature as springboard lessons to language lessons without value for it as an art form.
The two teachers themselves assigned in teaching the fourth year were passionate teachers teaching the language lessons but they become less energetic when they reach the Literature lessons because students did not read. One teacher was BSE major in English graduate from Union College of Sta. Cruz, Laguna and the other was unit earner in Education with a Bachelor’s degree in Accountancy. Both seldom attend seminars on the recent trends and issues in teaching Literature because of the scarcity of financial support from the school. Hence, their knowledge and strategies were based from their old undergraduate schema.
With these problems, the proponent indeed saw the needs of preparing the students through a crash course program in Literature with the following reasons:
1. inform students about the basics of Literature they never had in high school; 2. discuss literature, not as a springboard of language lessons, but as it is as an art; 3. prepare students to the demands of Literature courses in College and 4. immerse students on the recent trends, strategies and issues in learning Literature.
B. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROGRAM: The crash course program in Literature primarily aims to prepare the incoming freshmen to College Literature courses that they never learned or encountered much in high school, not because they were not taught, but because the approach then was integrative of the four macro skills and Literature was used as springboard to language lessons. The crash course discusses the basics of Literature from concepts, theories, use of strategies, trends and issues in learning literature applied altogether in teaching the students. The program is only a crash course to be delivered in 45 hours with 3 hours per lesson. The fifteen-day sessions either in MWF (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) or TThS (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) schedules are devoted to classroom discussion and other recent activities that culminate in a variety show of poetry recitation, dramatization and choral recitation, activities which are also performed in college. It is in MWF or TThS schedule to give students time to read and accomplish their assignments on the lessons before coming to class.
C. PROPONENT OF THE PROGRAM The proponent of the program is Wilfredo M. Valois who is a current student in Doctor of Philosophy major in Literature at the Philippine Normal University, Manila. He has been teaching Literature subjects at the Royal and Pontifical University of Sto. Tomas (UST), Manila for twelve (12) years. He has taught subjects like Philippine Literature in English, Introduction to Literature and Classical World Literature.
D. FRAMEWORK OF THE PROGRAM With the advent of technology specifically the television, radio and internet, people have become less receptive to what is going on around them, rather, they become more dependent on what they watch, they see and what they hear rather than what they read. People’s vision is blurred by the comfort what technology gives them hence forgetting the value of reading, the value of Literature. In the academe, with the focus on the communicative competence and other ever-changing approaches and theories, the teaching and learning of Literature is often dwarfed, minimized or even abandoned by many schools.
Carolina Garcia and Ophelia Diamante reminded readers that Literature must inform and entertain. A good literature must be able to awaken people from ignorance to enlightenment. Furthermore, they said that literature must have intellectual value, emotional value, spiritual value, universality, permanence, style and most of all artistry.
Similarly, Edilberto Tiempo says that literature or good literature is intended to move, it must seduce but a work’s emotive quality must not assault the sensibility, it must be ungirded by reasonableness, by logic, it must complement and satisfy the intellect, it must have the inevitability.
The criteria on how the literary selections in this crash course program on Literature were based from Jose Garcia Villa’s criteria as cited by Edilberto K. Tiempo’s suggestions on what should be included in any anthology of Literature. They are substance and form. Jose Garcia villa said that he followed double standard of form and substance. Substance requires vitality of subject and significant selection of facts. Genuine substance is achieved only when a pulse beats through the correlated facts, for significant substance alone, if without beat of life, remain dead substance. To achieve validity, therefore, substance in fiction should be living as well as significant. The second test is form. It requires vigor of structure although form and substance in literature are a creative one and they are indivisible, still they are distinct. Thus making feasible this test of form. Form, in literature, is the adequate and beautiful externalization of substance. It is not restrictive, mold, but is free, yet artistically disciplined presentation of substance.
Literature liberates the mind and spirit as one reads through the pages. The experience one has in looking at a painting, listening to a classical music or a moving performance in a theatre is similar to the reading of a literary text. It moves the mind to think critically. It touches the heart with that emotive power when one reads poetry or reads a play. All these effects and more are experienced by readers or learners including the enthusiasts when they are arrested by powerful literary texts with beautiful form and substance.
Literature is an instrument to fight illiteracy. People have become dependent on moving pictures and flashed items that they tend to read less. People have become lazy readers if not none readers at all, hence elevating our status of illiteracy. Thanks to the government’s effort in putting Alternative Learning System or ALS in various municipalities and barangays where teachers educate the illiterates. But the efforts are geared towards economic and not artistic. Hence, the debate on the conflict between “art for art’s sake” (autonomy of the art) and “art for social awareness” (proletariat literature) is once again high. The crash course provides an answer to this debate as it hinges on bridging the gap and conflict between the autonomy of art and social awakening by giving students the artistic literary texts that will give them at the same time an awakening along the way in the study of literatures.
The program is designed to meet the needs set by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to give at least six units of Literature courses across discipline in the general education. Namely, the two courses are Introduction to World Literatures and Regional Philippines Literatures. That when they proceed to college education, incoming freshmen will be more than ready to face the demands of the Literature courses without insecurity and ignorance due to lack of exposure and education in literatures.
E. OBJECTIVES: At the end of the crash course, incoming freshmen are expected to: 1. Define the meaning of literature; 2. Differentiate fiction and non-fiction; 3. Enumerate the five genres of literature; 4. Compare and contrast the features of narrative and poetry; 5. Draw or diagram the structure of a narrative plot; 6. Read a poem with emotions according to its type; 7. Explain the figures of speech used in the texts; 8. Identify characters in the short story, novel or drama; 9. Describe the setting in the short story, novel or drama; 10. Arrange logical sequence of plot in the short story, novel or drama; 11. Synthesize themes from the texts; 12. Trace the causes and effects of actions of characters in the texts; 13. Appreciate the text the culture of a country; 14. Identify an author and his/her work; 15. Analyze a text using different approaches in understanding literature; 16. Write a critique on the assigned literary text; 17. Recite effectively and individually a poem; 18. Dramatize effectively scenes from the text; 19. Mount a variety show highlighting poetry recitation, dramatization and choral recitation.
F. COURSE CONTENT: The crash course includes excerpts from Literature courses that Commission on Higher Education CHED has mandated what each college student should take across discipline. Namely they are:
LITERATURE 1: Regional Philippine Literatures
This course presents a survey of world literatures representing a gamut of human experiences as exemplified in different literary types and forms.
LITERATURE 2: Introduction to World Literatures
This course introduces students to representative literatures from the regions tackling the wide array of Filipino encounters and experiences as these are expressed through themes such as gender, racial identity, class and history
G. MATRIX OF COMPETENCIES/OBJECTIVES AND THEIR CORRESPONDING LESSONS:
1. Define the meaning of literature; Lesson on Introduction to Literature 2. Differentiate fiction and non-fiction; Lesson on Introduction to Literature 3. Enumerate the five genres of literature; Lesson on introduction to Literature 4. Compare and contrast the features of narrative and poetry; Lesson on Introduction to Literature 5. Draw or diagram the structure of a narrative plot; Lesson on Introduction to Literature 6. Read a poem with emotions according to its type; Lesson on Poetry 7. Explain the figures of speech used in the texts; Lesson on Poetry 8. Identify characters in the short story, novel or drama; Lesson in Fiction 9. Describe the setting in the short story, novel or drama; Lesson in Fiction 10. Arrange logical sequence of plot in the short story, novel or drama; Lesson in Fiction 11. Synthesize themes from the texts; All lessons 12. Trace the causes and effects of actions of characters in the texts; All lessons 13. Appreciate the text the culture of a country; All lessons 14. Identify an author and his/her work; All lessons 15. Analyze a text using different approaches in understanding literature;
All lessons 16. Write a critique on the assigned literary text lessons in poetry, short story, novel, drama and essay 17. Recite affectively and individually a poem; Lesson on Poetry 18. Dramatize effectively scenes from the text; Lesson on Fiction 19. Mount a variety show highlighting poetry recitation, dramatization and choral recitation. All lessons
H. SYLLABUS ON THE CRASH COURSE PROGRAM IN LITERATURE
Content/ Topics Teaching/Learning Activities Time Allotment 1. An Overview on Literature a. Definition b. Reasons why we study literature
Group work brainstorming Discussion Timeline
2. Kinds of Literature a. Fiction and non-fiction b. According to countries c. According to classification Library research Buzz group discussion Jigsaw puzzle Diagramming
3. Seven (7) standards of good Literature a. Samples for each exemplifying each standard
Pair work Collage Poster-making 3 hours
4. Genres of Literatures a. Poetry b. Short story c. Novel d. Drama e. essay Popcorn discussion Diagramming Thought bubbles 3 hours
5. Poetry a. Nature and types b. Elements c. Figures of speech Lecture Chanting Diagramming 3 hours
6. Reading and analyzing of samples of poetry a. “God Said I made a Man” by Jose Garcia Villa b. “The Man of Earth” by Amador T. Daguio c. “Si Lola Isyang at ang Matandang Puno ng Kaimito” d. “Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost e. “I am Nobody” by Emily Dickenson f. A sonnet by William Shakespeare g. “Psalm 23” by King David Discussion Reading of the text Chanting of the text Unlocking vocabulary Role playing Pair work Synthesizing through slogan Write a critique paper 3 hours
7. Short Story a. Nature and types b. Elements Discussion Diagramming Library research 2 hours
8. Reading and discussing/ analyzing of samples: a. “How My Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife” by Manuel Arguilla b. “Harvest” by Loreto Paras Sulit c. “Footnote to Youth” by Jose Garcia Villa d. “The Lady and the Tiger” Anonymous e. “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry f. “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant Literary map Thought bubbles Comics strip Movie poster Radio drama Skit Role playing Tableaux Discussion Write a critique paper
9. Novel a. Nature and types b. Elements Discussion diagramming 2 hours
10. Reading and discussing/analyzing of samples: a. An excerpt from America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan b. The Pearl by John Steinbeck Literary map Thought bubbles Comics strip Movie poster Radio drama Skit Role playing Tableaux Discussion Write a critique paper
11. Drama a. Nature and types b. Elements Discussion Pair work Jigsaw puzzle 2 hours
12. Reading and discussing/analyzing of samples: a. “The World is an Apple” by Alberto Florentino b. “New Yorker in Tondo” by Marcelino Angana Thought bubbles Comics strip Movie poster Radio drama Skit Role playing Write a critique paper Tableaux Discussion
4 hours 13. Essay a. Nature and types b. Elements Discussion Diagramming 2 hours
14. Reading and discussing and analyzing of samples: a. “Heritage of Smallness” (an excerpt) by Nick Joaquin b. “On Having a Stomach” by Lin Yutang c. “Of Studies” by Francis Bacon Mock debate Pair work Buzz group discussion Slogan writing Discussion Write a critique paper 4 hours
15. Culminating Activity through a Variety Show of: a. Poetry recitation of “Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening” b. Skit or Dramatization of “New Yorker in Tondo” c. Choral Recitation of “God Said I Made a Man” Variety show Poetry recitation Dramatization Choral recitation 3 hours
Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities, Consevatory of Music, University of Sto. Tomas (UST), Manila, Philippines
PhD in Literature (in progress), Philippine Normal University (PNU), Manila, Philippines
Municipal Councilor, Famy, Laguna, Philippines
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