In a town hall meeting held last April 1 at the Cory Aquino Democratic Space, DLSU President and Chancellor Br. Dennis Magbanua FSC broke the news that undergraduate students can now teach at DLSU during their stay in the University. Starting next academic year, the DLSU TEACH program will be opened to Br. Andrew Gonzalez College of Education (BAGCED) students.
The new program will be patterned to that of other universities that offer education courses. For instance, at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), education students are allowed to teach at UST’s high school as part of their on-the-job training.
Meanwhile, the main objective of DLSU TEACH is to ensure that BAGCED students will pursue the profession of teaching after graduating from DLSU. Education majors will teach only selected one to two-unit floating subjects and a few elective courses under the program.
Students will be evaluated on their ability to communicate and explain theoretical concepts and ideas clearly. As future educators, the program will serve as a training ground for them to hone the hard and soft skills needed to become an effective teacher. All BAGCED undergraduate students will be required to participate in the program before they can graduate.
No compensation will be given to BAGCED students, since the program will become a requirement in the curriculum starting next academic year. Instead, student-teachers will earn course credits. The University is also open to directly hiring those who will excel in the program after their graduation.
Declining quality of (the College of) Education
“[DLSU TEACH] was conceptualized in response to the growing unemployment rate of BAGCED students. Some graduates take months or even years before they get a job related to their course,” explains BAGCED Dean Dr. John Garcia in support of the announcement about DLSU TEACH.
Dr. Garcia laments, “It is also saddening that other students opt to take education as a course not because of the nobility of the profession, but because it is the [easiest gateway] to DLSU. Some students also just finish their education courses for the sake of earning a diploma.”
To support his claim, Dr. Garcia presents statistics that reflect more than 60 percent of the college’s graduates experiencing job mismatch or becoming employed in jobs unrelated to education. Only 10 percent are actually teaching in preschools and primary schools, or are involved in conducting training in corporations. The rest of the 30 percent do not even have jobs.
“These numbers caused the college to permanently dissolve six of its degree programs in the last five years,” Dr. Garcia adds.
On a lighter note, Dr. Garcia explains that the program simultaneously aims to encourage a more transformative approach to teaching and learning at DLSU. DLSU TEACH is another step the University will be taking towards its goal to become a world-class research university.
“The ASEAN integration will put us in direct competition with local universities, and universities in Singapore, Malaysia, and the like. In order to be more competitive, we want to introduce innovative programs that will benefit both the students and faculty,” Vice Chancellor for Academics Dr. Myrna Austria stated during the town hall meeting.
The new program will also address the possibility that DLSU will lose a number of its seasoned professors because of the New Lasallian Core Curriculum required by the Commission on Higher Education’s General Education Curriculum. By allowing students to teach some classes, the teaching program will lessen the workload delegated to existing faculty members, decreasing the number of professors needed.
Dr. Austria explains that the administration also realized that having students teach allows more flexibility with the schedule and class offerings. For the professors who will remain with the University, they will be in charge of teaching major subjects and guiding students through their thesis writing and practicum.
However, Minerva Mayoma, a lecturer teaching TREDONE and TREDTWO, thinks that the new program is counterproductive. “Students still do not have the right skills set to teach their peers, and learning the discipline and the profession is precisely why they are still in college,” she quips.
Antonio Bandeja, a Psychology professor, agrees with Mayoma, stressing that DLSU TEACH would only pose problems to the University’s educational system. “Not only do I have to compete with other professors from other ASEAN universities for a teaching post at DLSU, now I have to compete with my students as well,” he points out.
However, despite initial objections from faculty members like Mayoma and Bandeja, Dr. Austria affirms that DLSU TEACH will ultimately increase the number of course offerings per term. “Most faculty members have day jobs or other commitments that keep their schedules always full,” she argues.
“With DLSU TEACH, it will be guaranteed that all class timeslots will be covered, since BAGCED students will be required to be in school all day when they take the program. We will also be able to open classes with high demand to Lasallians,” insists Dr. Austria.
Rigorous selection process open to all
In the next years, DLSU TEACH will also be offered to Lasallian lawyers who have successfully passed the Philippine Bar Examination. For now, those interested among the 26 lawyers who passed the 2014 exams will be required to have at least two years experience in litigation or consultation first before they can teach in the University’s Commercial Law Department.
The program will also be opened to students enrolled in Sports Management. They will be allowed to teach physical education courses or weekend yoga, basketball, and capoeira classes. “We are actually targeting injured athletes to take the teaching program. DLSU wants to make sure that the money, in the form of grants, invested in all Lasallian athletes will still pay off, especially when some of them get injured,” Dr. Austria elaborates.
All students who will take the program will have to undergo a rigorous screening process, to ensure quality of learning experience. Teacher recommendations and a candidate’s grades will be taken into consideration for a student to be included in the shortlist. All those shortlisted will be interviewed before the final selection commences.
Once a student passes the screening process, he or she will be required to take several training modules on honing communication skills, effective lesson plan creation, and unbiased grading, among others. Tenured professors will facilitate the sessions and the practical exam that will be given to candidates to test their teaching abilities.
If a student passes in all the requirements, he or she will be allowed to teach during the following term. Otherwise, the student will have to go through the application process again until he or she successfully passes the screening. There will be no maximum number of trials that will be imposed on students.
Br. Magbanua aims to eventually open the teaching program to all Lasallians in the near future. He asserts that this is in line with improving and making the transformative learning curriculum in the University more relevant.
In addition, with the physical expansion of DLSU in progress—constructing buildings in the Science and Technology Complex and opening a new campus in Taguig—finding ways to make DLSU’s spending more prudent is paramount.