Marcelina B. Gosgos

In laying out the pattern for the Basic Education Curriculum (BEC), four subjects stand out a fundamental to education: ordinary natural language (in the Philippines, Filipino our national language and English the Language of Wider Communication for the country); Mathematics or the language of numbers; Science or the knowledge of Nature and Physical Reality; and Social Studies or the knowledge of man and his social relations. The performative subjects in the curriculum such as art, music, physical culture are equally necessary to the fulfillment of the person’s self and his self – actualization for they are considered distinct “intelligences” by the Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner.

However, the academic core which develops the verbal and numerical intelligences of man is essential for continuing education, and for those who continue to the tertiary level, then the language of numbers and the languages of nature are absolutely essential for the acquisition of advanced knowledge for survival in a post- industrial world. To begin with, one can learn nothing without natural language. That is why a human being, an individual, needs to master one language thoroughly to the point of being able to think in it (in layman’s terms’) or be able to carry on higher order cognitive activities of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation (in educational terms).

One needs language to think and to learn further. The experience with immigrants or cultural minorities who never quite master one language thoroughly enough to be able to think in it is that they become disadvantaged all their lives because of linguistic infantilism. Sociolinguists sometimes refer to these groups as ‘semilinguals’. The ideal language to think in and with is one’s mother tongue, but the development of all languages is a financial and cultural impossibility. Hence, countries try to teach at least at the upper levels in only one language, usually the national language. In addition, the learned men of any society need a Language of Wider Communication by which they can communicate with others and learn about the knowledge deposit of cultures which have more resources that they do.

In addition, a human being to survive in a modern society needs to understand the language of numbers since numbers enable him to survive in the transactions of society. The language of numbers is needed for the further study of science, knowledge of the world about nature and physical reality without which man would be dysfunctional, live out of joint with modern society, and above all, would find it difficult to get a job that requires the scientific sophistication of the modern world.

Social realities must be studied thoroughly and in depth and their dynamics and laws mastered by the individual, again, to survive: economics for making a living, politics for civic behavior in society and for proper fulfillment of one’s responsibilities as a citizen, history to become aware of one’s past and one’s ethnic and national identity, geography to know one’s physical surroundings and one’s country to be able to make good use of its resources. If the Filipino student masters these subject areas to the point of being able to function effectively as an adult member of society, then, he may be considered as having been physically educated. All else builds on these competencies for further learning and mastery of knowledge to progress in modern society.

Amianan Balita Ngayon