Author Topic: A Critique: The DEC’s Grade 3 “Let’s Get Better in English” Learning Material  (Read 25862 times)

Joe Carillo

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4703
  • Karma: +212/-2
    • View Profile
    • Email
A Critique of the DEC’s Grade 3 “Let’s Get Better in English” Learning Material
By Antonio Calipjo Go
Academic Supervisor, Marian School of Quezon City

“Let’s Get Better in English” is the deceptive and deceitful title of the learner’s material being used at present by all Grade 3 public elementary school pupils in the Philippines. I say deceptive and deceitful because it will certainly make its users not only “not get better in English”; in fact, reading it will make them very silly and very stupid indeed. This is clearly evident from the 430 serious grammatical and semantic errors that I gleaned from this sorry harvest of weeds from what could very well be “The Devil’s Garden of Unlearning.” (A partial list of the errors are found at the tail end of this article.)
And yet the very first page of this 363-page textbook grandly assures us that “it was collaboratively developed and reviewed by educators from public and private schools, colleges and universities.” The second page even identifies and glorifies the 28 collaborators, starting with the names of 15 illustrious authors, 3 reviewers, 3 illustrators, 3 encoders, 2 focal persons and a 2-member management team. This book, published by the Department of Education (DepEd) itself, had the full backing and support of then Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro, FSC, and Undersecretary Dina Ocampo, Ph.D.

Two very bothersome aspects—its very poor quality and enormous cost—prompted me to review this textbook. Its first edition came out in 2015. On January 29, 2015, the DepEd ordered 2.5 million copies worth Php 92 Million. On May 3, 2017, or a mere two years and three months later, the DepEd again ordered 2.3 million copies for the sum of Php 84 Million. I was very curious as to why the DepEd was doing this. Aren’t the books used by public school students supposed to be returned by them to the school at the end of each school year? What happened to the 2.5 million copies the DepEd ordered in 2015?

Of even greater concern to me is the utter poor quality of the content of the finished product, which is extremely and exceedingly defective. What for then were the names of the three reviewers displayed on the copyright page when they missed not just one or two errors but all 430 of the ones I found? What did the two focal persons focus on—“the total eclipse of the heart”? What did the management team “manage”? They actually managed to bungle whatever it was they were supposed to take charge of and supervise! The “focal person” Galileo Go collaborated with one of the authors, Mil Flores Ponciano, to write a series of nine despicable “poems” (among many other similarly despicable ones) in this deplorable book. Very many of the selections were simply adapted or “copy-pasted” from other sources.

The end-all and be-all of this textbook should have been to make its user “get better in English.” That clearly did not and won’t happen. Is it enough that the pupils are just able to read anything written in black and white? What about the more important considerations of sense, reason, and logic that are unseen, abstract or intangible? Shouldn’t the main intention be instead to make the readers understand, comprehend, and correctly internalize what they have read? Shouldn’t it be to make them see, as it were, the light of day? Shouldn’t it be to enlighten them and not to render them dimwitted after reading the book?

The things children will get to read in this condemnable “learner’s material” will surely make them silly, stupid, and ignorant. When a Grade 3 pupil is able to competently and proficiently read this passage, “Tom and his pretty mom sit on the log in the bog in the fog with a hog and a dog,” would he or she learn anything worth knowing at all? Where can you find a “bog” in the Philippines when that word has a decidedly Scottish Gaelic or Irish provenance? Shouldn’t the less pretentious and more correct term “swamp” or “marsh” be used instead of “bog”? When you say that “My love for my grandmother is deeper than her wrinkle [sic],” aren’t you in fact insulting her? Does the question “If you are very tired, how slow would you be in eating your breakfast?” make any sense at all? Why would you be very tired anyway when you have just awakened and are about to take breakfast?

Going over that book will make you conclude that the 28 collaborators who produced it had gone dog-bit crazy. A primitive arrangement of three stones in the middle of which a fire is started cannot be called a “stove”! A hawk has “claws,” not “paws”! “Mud” is necessarily wet! Whales cannot be tamed! How do you slip on sand which, by nature, is coarse? Why will you cook chicken that has already been fried? Who in his or her right mind gives a “wreath” on Valentine’s Day? Where in the world would four supermarkets face one another at the intersection of two streets? With wrongheaded ideas such as these, that book is teaching Filipino schoolchildren to be fools!

Even worse, the book is replete with atrocious malapropisms, gobbledygook, mumbo jumbo, unintended jokes and “daffy-nitions” such as “pet male ape,” “dine on hot rice,” “web the words,” “cloze the gap,” “the best rest,” “slip on the rug,” “crabs slip and fall down on the sand,” “pharmacy in a cart,” “Jonah rose up to fame,” “a ride in the box,” “a kingdom shaped like a cone,” “create a yell about typhoon rules,” “oil the soy,” “pug food,” “peg food,” “a lake of vinegar,” “hot orange juice,” “run up to the subway,” “a sway cat,” “the tallest spare guy,” “little might,” “blew my seashells,” “crawl to catch the hawk,” and “play under the heat.”

We know that cadavers are very important, for without them there would be no crime stories to tell. I am now delivering and showing to the Filipino people the corpse that I have dissected. For the production of this grossly defective and deadening product, the Department of Education had already spent the amount of Php 176 Million. In just three years, the department spent Php 7.3 billion on textbooks alone—Php 2.2 billion in 2015, Php 1.8 billion in 2016, and Php 3.3 billion in 2017. The utter hugeness of that mind-busting amount should have ensured that what is being fed to the hungry brains of public schoolchildren is at least edible and palatable and not toxic and poisonous!

The current Education Secretary Leonor Briones, as a former national treasurer of the Philippines,  should be looking after, preserving, and protecting the “treasures” of the Department which she now heads, and by that I mean not only the DepEd’s moneys, funds, and other resources but, of even greater importance, the welfare and well-being of the children of the poor who are studying in public schools.

I say: A pox to all those who have been making child’s play of the noble act of teaching! It cannot be overemphasized that the writing of textbooks is the act of teaching itself in written form! Secretary Briones, who has spent most of her life as a teacher, knows this.

And so I make this personal appeal to you, Secretary Briones: Ma’am, please bring back to what you do at DepEd the passion and idealism which I’m sure you were once abundantly infused with. You hold great power, great potential, and great possibilities in your hands to make a difference, to rock the boat, to break the mould and put a stop to incompetence and inadequacy as well as to possible dubious dealings that grip the DepEd's textbook production in a lethal stranglehold.

This 363-page “Let’s Get Better in English” textbook for Grade 3 contains as many as 430 flagrant grammatical and semantic errors, which means there is one such error for every page of this so-called “learner’s material.” The DepEd should decisively and immediately stop the publication of these gravely and grossly defective textbooks and to recall all copies of all its previous editions. Not to do so would make the DepEd culpable of engaging in the organized production and distribution of false information and wrong knowledge to the detriment of the minds of the country’s millions of schoolchildren.




Grade 3: “Let’s Get Better in Reading” Learner’s Material
Grade 3: “Unit 3 – Decide On It” Learner’s Material
Grade 3: “Unit 4 – Take Good Care of It” Learner’s Material
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 11:28:45 PM by Joe Carillo »

Joe Carillo

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4703
  • Karma: +212/-2
    • View Profile
    • Email
A letter seeking permission for crediting photograph

January 24, 2021

Dear Joe Carillo,

I am Ke Ma, the research assistant of English across ASEAN Education Systems scooping research (British Council). I am writing to you with regard to seeking your permission for using the textbook photos on the Jose Carillo’s English Forum website, Jose Carillo's English Forum.

Our research report needs this photo as one of the visual inputs to demonstrate basic education in the Philippines; hence, it would be greatly appreciated if you could tell me the name of the people who took this photo so that we could acknowledge his/her contribution.

Best regards,
Ke Ma

My reply to Ke Ma:

Ke Ma
English Across ASEAN Education Systems
  Scooping Research
British Council

Dear Ke Ma:

Since the photos are contained in Philippine public school textbooks that have been in general circulation since they were published in 2015, they are no doubt already part of the public domain. This being the case, I don't think permission is legally needed by anyone who intend to use them for a valid and lawful purpose. And for the particular purpose you have in mind, I don't think it's desirable or necessary either to acknowledge or mention the names of the people who took those photos.  

However, as you are using the photos as visual inputs for your research study on basic education in the Philippines, I think it would be a matter of courtesy to get permission not from me nor from the author of the article that presented those photos in my Forum but from the Philippine Department of Education itself.

I suggest you address your request for permission specifically to:

Undersecretary Diosdado M. San Antonio
Bureau of Education Assessment
Department of Education
DepEd Complex, Meralco Avenue
Pasig City, Metro Manila
Tel. 8687-4146

cc: Ms. Alma Ruby C. Torio
     Assistant Secretary
     Alternative Learning System (ALS)
        Program and Task Force
     Department of Education
     Tel. 8633-7258

My best wishes for success in your research study.

Sincerely yours,
Joe Carillo
« Last Edit: January 26, 2021, 03:07:14 PM by Joe Carillo »