“Individualism is theistic and must be re-affirmed as a basic philosophy of education and life.”
Imagine entering a classroom where every child is required to wear the “same” uniform. “Same” here means the same, not only in design, but same as in same – same size for everyone. The redundancy is intended to make a point. Same size fits all will simply will not work in the area of education.
“Individualism is theistic and must be re-affirmed as a basic philosophy of education and life.” The School of Tomorrow/A.C.E. Procedures Manual makes this very clear. S.O.T. is an individualized system of education. We are reaching the world for Christ one child at a time. How does this translate to the actual operation of our schools?
Tracking is the key. While the Academic Projection Form is a tool used to track a high school student’s path towards graduation, planning the individualized academic goals of each student begins at the time the child enters the school – from five-year-old newcomer to the high school transferee. The Reading Readiness Test gives the staff a preview of how a child will do once school starts. The Diagnostic Testing is designed to find out the “gaps” and “performance level” of a child. Students make progress along the way and, through their PACEs, provide clues of their individual academic bents, which gives the school administration, in general, and the Supervisor, in particular, a handle to do academic projection for every student. The tracking “mindset” should be internalized by the Learning Center staff that a goal – annual and long-term – is set for every student. This is done in collaboration with the student and the parents and is constantly reviewed. At the end of the school year, it is evaluated again and adjusted, if necessary, based on the actual performance of the student taking into consideration both the aptitude and the attitude.
School of Tomorrow/A.C.E. provides a matrix of “approximate” grade level equivalent of the PACEs in the chart “PACE Numbering System.” It is clear that this is to determine the “approximate conventional/chronological grade levels” of each student because one will be different from another. This becomes more obvious towards the end of “elementary years,” meaning around after six years, because the school will begin to project for high school work and completion.
High school in School of Tomorrow /A.C.E. has four Academic Tracks – General Course of Study, College Preparatory, Honors Course of Study, and the Vocational Track. The PACE prescription will be different for every student because, again, the system is individualized. One cannot give an XL shirt to a small framed teenager and an XS to a big one. The beauty of the tracking is that the student is prepared for the requirements of specific college courses, and in the case of the Philippines, for Senior High School.
When the Department of Education introduced the Senior High School program, an ACE mind would recognize the tracking and strands easily. While the implementation may be different, the entire concept of tracks – which SOT has been doing for four decades – is very much integrated into the system of individualized education. Thus, completers of the General Course of Study could go into the General Academic Strand (GAS) of the DepEd’s Academic Track. An Honors Course of Study bound student in the system flows smoothly into the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Strand of the SHS. Why do SHS students take different subjects according to tracks? The model follows what SOT has been designed to do from the beginning. Students work on different subjects and different levels of specialization based on their future college courses. If a school has been doing Academic Projection based on the SOT tracks, the SHS program would be easy to appreciate.
However, as mentioned earlier, the implementation of the SHS is different and is still based on “batch” learning. SOT Philippines encourages schools to continue the complete package of individualized education into Senior High by maintaining the fundamental principles of goal setting, Scripture Memorization, self-regulated learning, and individualized progress. These principles imbedded in the SOT do not end with the “Learning Center setup.” These are to be internalized by students into SHS, college, and in their future stations in life. Train students to create goal and progress charts for all their projects and activities.
For schools not operating a Senior High, the four tracks in the SOT system remain the same. The completers of the Junior High School are supposed to have accomplished the requirements the tracks set in their Academic Projection for Graduation. A JHS completer is still a “graduate” of the system for finishing a specific SOT Course of Study.
There is a need to re-emphasize the importance of individualized education. Tracking is an integral part of the system and once this is set aside, schools will end up giving the same size of shirts to all students. It will not work.