Challenges of the K-12 Science Curriculum
Post date: Mar 30, 2017 2:40:27 AM
By: Mary Criselda M. Ligsanan
Change is inevitable. The 10-year scheme specified from the old Basic Education Curriculum had been altered and modified to 12 years in the recent K to 12 Curriculum. The new curriculum spells out the production of students who can perform scientific process skills, understand and apply scientific knowledge and develop scientific attitudes and values.
As this transformation in the education is applied, Science is one of the subjects that underwent major adjustments. Different disciplines of science such as Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics are observed to be incorporated in every grade level given. Furthermore, spiral progression approach is the topmost model selected in enhancing cognitive development among students. This approach was adopted by the Department of Education (DepEd) integrating the increasing complexity of the subject as the grade level progresses.
As the science subject is reformed, indefinite number of feedbacks about the acceptability of the changes were noticed. Some provided optimistic reactions while others contributed negative remarks. Nonetheless, current condition of science in the K to 12 offers a lot of challenges both for the teachers and students. In addition, administrative authorities are likewise faced by the trials that go along with the implementation of the new science curriculum.
One of the issues associated with the new science curriculum is the time allotted for science. It is known that science is started to be introduced in grade 3. Moreover, based on the K to 12 Education, science is minimized to 4 hours per week contrary to the standard science teaching of 9 hours that is divided to 4 hours of lecture and 5 hours of laboratory given by Wellington and Ireson (2012). The current provided time for science also reflected the less amount of time as compared with 6 hours of delivering the subject from the former 2002 Secondary Basic Education Curriculum. De Dios (2013) had stressed that students have severely limited exposure in each branch of science under the spiral curriculum since a quarter of a year is allocated. This leaves a question about the relation of instructional time to the learning of science.
Another area that can be given focus is the teaching force. The DepEd is recognized to provide training for teachers as a part of the preparation for the K to 12. Science teachers from both public and private schools had undergone development of the skills needed for the current curriculum. As observed, the new science curriculum is a mixture of all the discipline of science. It must be stressed the need for teachers with adequate level of knowledge in all areas of science as the subject diverges into separate disciplines (De Dios, 2012). Besides, teachers have to design and construct lessons, activities, projects, assessments and evaluations that target the development of the 21st century skills as students advance. Nevertheless, the success of teaching-learning process is primarily dependent on the skills a teacher possesses in creating an environment that promotes a greater percentage of success in learning. The existing science curriculum demands for a better training program that highlighted the knowledge of teachers about content and instruction.
Availability of instructional materials is referred as another area of concern. Reformation of the science curriculum accentuates the requirement of instructional materials both for teachers and students. Thus, tapping the resourcefulness and creativity of teachers to come up with better instructional materials aligned with the prevailing curriculum. Better instructional materials also led to serious execution of monitoring available materials for the science curriculum. It must be noted that instructional materials play an important role in the learning process such as providing an assessment for the learning process. The concern about the adequate supply must be eliminated from the list for the advancement in technology created several avenues of resources in teaching science.
Readiness of the students is also a critical factor about the challenges of the K to 12 science curriculum. The preparation of a student is well deliberated to better understand the process of teaching and learning. Their preparation and perception about science is essential to enhance the tactics and methods which can encourage students to cultivate love of science. Bearing in mind the importance of readiness in learning can inculcate deeper purpose of developing science process skills that can lead to the attainment of the primary aim of the K to 12 science curriculum is to produce scientifically literate citizens who are informed and active participants of the society, responsible decision makers, and apply scientific knowledge that will significantly impact the society and the environment (K to 12 Curriculum Guide Science 2013).
Since K to 12 Curriculum is here to stay, positive approaches are vital to ensure the success of the modification done in the educational system. Any aspect of criticism expressed should be taken and treated with optimism that can bring about enthusiasm in all areas of science. The challenges of delivering science learning is indeed tough and demanding but as a nation starting to make every effort counts, it will never be impossible to overcome these challenges and move higher in the ranks.