Lasallian education and transformative learning

Every 10 years or so, the La Salle administration sits down to determine the kind of core curriculum for general education that should be used to better facilitate student learning. In AY 2003-2004, administration implemented the Lasallian curriculum, which focused on the selection of the subjects students would have to take in their stay in the University as well as how these subjects will be taught.

The University proposed that teaching through lectures is not the only way and the best way to teach students and after conducting various studies on the proposed initiative, DLSU decided to adopt the Transformative Learning system.


Learner-centered teaching

St. La Salle during his life emphasized the value of student-centered education. He arranged students according to their academic ability and assigned tasks in accordance to their level to facilitate real learning.

DLSU President and Chancellor Br. Ricardo Laguda FSC explains that Transformative Learning varies in degree and form and is dependent on both the teacher and the student.

Lectures, for example, can be conducted via Transformative Learning. The main question posted though is: are the students stimulated to learn. Ideally, the system should help students understand the lessons and information they receive. Moreover, the program is designed to help students apply the lessons they have learned in their classes.

Br. Ricky furthers, “The student becomes an autonomous learner. On his own, he is able to make sense of the concepts and ideas that [have] been transferred to him. Second, he is able to apply all those ideas, concepts, knowledge that [are] being discussed.”

Because the success of its implementation relies on a professor’s teaching style, DLSU has required many professors to undergo continuous training in the area of Transformative Learning. Professional learning committees, which are present in every department are tasked to review the curriculum to come up with strategies to ensure that the students are stimulated to learn.

Br. Ricky furthers that Transformative Learning is an initiative that the University should continue push for and that all subjects, in essence, should be taught in this manner.

“As teachers, as administrators, it is our duty to make our students learn. If we don’t do that, we are short of changing them. Transformative learning is just a concept, it’s nothing new. Many of [the] researches confirm that transformative learning is the best way [to make] students independent learners.”


Student response

Students remain divided in the success and feasibility of the Transformative Learning process. Some believe that the process has been efficient while others think otherwise.

Carlos Roxas (III, AB-PSM) shares, “A concrete experience of the Transformative Learning Pedagogy is in Clinical Psychology (CLINPSY) where we also have group dynamics and service learning as part of the module… It’s more experiential and application-based and it’s not the typical teacher teaches on board set-up. Most professors usually do that by providing group work. TL makes us competitive in the labor market because it enhances group dynamics.”

Clarisse Doctor (IV, AB-PSM), on the other hand, believes that it is ineffective and does more harm than good, “[Transformative Learning] does not work especially when students report because sometimes students do not take it seriously. What they report is just based on the material given by the professors. They don’t go out of their way to further research on their topic.”

Enrique Roa (III, BS-BIO) also points out that the success of the Transformative Learning process is in the hands of the professors who are supposed to serve as guides to the students. In many cases though, he has not felt their “guiding presence.”

Other students who disapprove of the Transformative Learning system claim that some professors simply leave them to study on their own without further instruction. Moreover, they prefer the traditional manner of teaching where professors teach the lessons, arguing that the professors are experts on the subject.

Br. Ricky, however, stresses that Transformative Learning is “not dependent on what the teacher is doing,” but on how students respond to what the teacher is doing.

Another issue that was raised recently is that many students are unaware of the Transformative Learning system.


Transformative Learning at present

To date, most general education courses have adopted the Transformative Learning system. The major subjects, however, have shied away from using the system.

Student Kamille Manginsay (II, BS-ENT) concludes,  “I think it would take some time for it to be implemented fully. I mean, with TL, the professors need to prepare modules and worksheets… which would require more time than it would in preparing lectures.”


By Michelle Lojo

By Dana Uson

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