Facing the challenges of teaching high school physics through service learning, faculty social involvement and ARTIST
Republic Act No. 10533 entitled "An Act Enhancing the Philippine Basic Education System by Strengthening Its Curriculum and Increasing the Number of Years for Basic Education, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes" was signed by the President of the Republic of the Philippines on May 2013. Aside from adding two more academic years in the basic education, the law also stipulates a curriculum based on the following standards and principles:
- The curriculum shall be learner-centered, inclusive and developmentally appropriate;
- The curriculum shall be relevant, responsive and research-based;
- The curriculum shall be gender- and culture-sensitive;
- The curriculum shall be contextualized and global;
- The curriculum shall use pedagogical approaches that are constructivist, inquiry-based, reflective, collaborative and integrative;
- The curriculum shall adhere to the principles and framework of Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education.
The science subjects–earth sciences, chemistry, physics, and life science are now taught, from Grade 3 until Grade 10, in a spiral progression that should be constructivist, inquiry-based, reflective, collaborative and integrative. Teachers in Grade 7-10 are expected to teach all the science subject areas regardless of their field of specialization. Teaching the four subject areas sequentially in a seamless way is a huge task for the teacher. The inquiry-based necessitates hands on and minds on activities that require equipment and materials but which are not usually available in many high schools. These are just some of the challenges that the science teacher faces as a result of the paradigm shift in the teaching of the sciences.
We would like to share our experience during the past three years on improving Physics education in four public high schools. In consultation with the stakeholders, the Department of Physics and the Office of Social Concern and Involvement of the Ateneo de Manila University worked together to deliver several coordinated programs–service learning involving students enrolled in NSTP, teacher training through faculty social involvement, design and fabrication of Grade 7-10 Physics laboratory apparatus, action research through the Erasmus+ project Action Research to Innovate Science Teaching (ARTIST), and the establishment of an ARTIST network center.