Thursday, November 13, 2003

Privilege and entitlement

Professor Leny Strobel said the following in her November 6 entry:

A more thoughtful Pinay told me that perhaps given his limited knowledge and experience in Filipino America, my question was beyond his i thought more about it, i relented and felt that I had reacted in an imperial manner - "how dare he not meet my expectations!" -- and was exercising my sense of privilege and entitlement to a "proper" lecture by someone who claims to be an expert.

After much thought on the subject, I must admit that there are a thousand and one possibilities as to why Dean Almario did not give an example of balagtasan. You need three people. A topic must be raised. The topic/responses must be memorized. A performance must be shown. And so on and so on.

I suppose what bothers me or what is still in the back of my head is this lingering thought that the educational system in the Philippines was created to induce a glow of ignorance. That is, memorization is emphasized instead of synthesis. Dates and names carry weight instead of concepts. The details matter and not the theories. Thus leading to a lecture on the technical aspects and the structure of the balagtasan but not to an epiphany.

It's like giving a lecture on sonnets and saying the rhyme scheme is abc-bca-cab-aa. The poem utilizes iambic pentameter. The good sonnet writers are Browning and MacCall. See you all tomorrow.

So perhaps, my critique of Alma Rio's lecture does not really address him so much as it addresses how Filipino professors teach. That the way in which Pin@ys are taught emphasize a memorization of the facts, but no analysis of the process. In this manner, the Philippines is able to find and nurture students who are gifted in the fields of math and verbal utilization. But there are many more types of intellect which are not addressed. These types of geniuses are then left to be on their own.

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