In line with the K-12 program being implemented nationwide, the University announced the opening of its doors to senior high school students back in September 2015. Since then, many students have applied to study in DLSU, which officially opened its senior high program last June 2016.
Jerrecho Pituk, a Physical Education (PE) instructor for both undergraduates and senior high school students, sat down to discuss the similarities and differences of the two programs.
SHS vs college
With regards to the undergraduate curriculum, Pituk states that PE is a four-class, eight-unit course with two units each class, as most students experience in their first few years in the University. It starts with Fitness and Wellness, more commonly known as FITWELL, wherein students learn about the basics of fitness and its components, such as cardiovascular endurance and muscular-skeletal strength.
The second course, called Fitness and Dance (FTDANCE), focuses on rhythmic activities such as jazz, folk, and ballroom dancing. FTSPORT (Fitness and Sports) is the third course in the curriculum wherein students engage in individual or dual sports, such as table tennis, badminton, swimming, judo, and even Philippine games. Lastly, Fitness and Teams (FTTEAMS) teaches students different team sports which include basketball, volleyball, floorball, water polo, and futsal.
Senior high school’s curriculum, on the other hand, is called HOPE which stands for Health Optimizing PE, and is divided into four parts. HOPE 1 is similar to the undergraduate’s FITWELL course. HOPE 2 also borrows from the undergraduate curriculum with this course teaching dance just like FTDANCE. Next, HOPE 3 teaches sports which can either be individual or team sports, similar to that of the undergraduate’s FTTEAMS and FTSPORT, while HOPE 4 covers aquatics or outdoor activities, like hiking or mountain climbing.
While the idea of senior high school does have many possible benefits for future students, the system also presents many problems for the teachers and faculty whose job it is to implement it. Without a proper education plan, Pituk claims that the job could be very difficult.
“We don’t have much idea yet on how to proceed with this. The learning materials are scarce so we can’t look for learning materials for these students, though we use our experience as college teachers in dealing with them.”
For professors, the way of teaching is also a change as dealing with a high school student is definitely different from dealing with a college student. Though almost similar in age, high school students are given more step-by-step instructions while college students are expected to be able to grasp information faster and more efficiently.
“Handling these students [senior high], we see them as high school so we regard them as high school. When you teach high school, it’s different from college,” says Pituk. He explains further, saying, “College, they’re more mature, they’re more independent, but when we’re treating them as high school, everything should go into its proper place, even the formation during the class.”
The problem of the space and timing of their schedules are major factors when it comes to senior high’s physical education as they also utilize the Enrique M. Razon Sports Complex. The school seeks to avoid clashes in terms of scheduling as the undergraduate students use the building most of the time.
While Pituk would love for the senior high school students to be able to choose their sports just like the undergraduates, a variety of logistical problems prevent this from being able to happen. Along with the reservation of gym time, senior high students also share a schedule with their entire block. Combined, it makes it difficult to be able to give the students the privilege of choosing which sport they can learn.
“It [would be] a good thing if they could choose the sport they want to experience or to learn so that way you could be more motivated to participate in that. However, the problem with senior high is that they’re in a block section and all the students in that block have the same schedule,” says Pituk.
While they have many differences, the PE program of the senior high school students is fitting preparation for students prior to becoming undergraduates. Though the program is not yet perfect, with time, Pituk and the rest of the faculty hope to have the PE curriculum as good as it can be.