CHAPTER XIII


TEACHING VALUES

IN THE NATURAL AND PHYSICAL
SCIENCES IN THE PHILIPPINE

SERAFIN D. TALISAYON


This paper is based on three assumptions:

First, the values that must be taught in schools are (1) those specified in the Constitution and (2) those indigenous Filipino values in harmony with the first. We shall call or define them as socially-desirable values. Second, science and technology are not value free.

Third, in case of conflict, the values inherent in science and technology must be subordinated to those values we deem socially desirable. "We" refers to us Filipinos. However in case of conflict in facts or empirically testable statements, the methods of science must prevail.

SOCIALLY-DESIRABLE VALUES

The 1987 Constitution is a formal document embodying social values deemed desirable for the nation. It has been claimed that the Philippine Constitution is the only constitution in the world which mentions the two words `God' and `love'. The Preamble states:

We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and the regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.

This is consistent with the "maka-Diyos" and "maka-tao" elements of some indigenous Filipino millenarian movements which were adopted into the Filipino ideology during the previous regime. Article XIV, Section 3 echoes the importance of ethical and spiritual values, good moral character and personal discipline. Other values in the 1987 Constitution are:

(1) national self-reliance and an independent foreign policy (Article II, Sections 7 and 19; Article XII, Section 12);

(2) recognition of the role of women (Article II, Section 14; Article XIII, Section 14) and the rights of the indigenous cultural communities (Article II, Section 22; Article X, Section 15);

(3) free enterprise (Article II, Section 20);

(4) ecological balance (Article II, Section 16);

(5) negative values are placed on war, nuclear weapons, military supremacy, degrading and inhuman punishment, political dynasties, graft and corruption, monopolies and social inequities (Article II, Sections 2, 3, 8, 26 and 27; Article III, Section 19; Article XI; Article XII, Section 19; Article XIII);

(6) democratic values, and human values in the Bill of Rights, social justice (Article XIII);

(7) patriotism and nationalism, love and humanity, respect for human rights, appreciation of the role of national heroes (Article XIV, Section 3.2); and

(8) critical and creative thinking, invention and innovation, scientific and technological self-reliance, and vocational efficiency (Article XIV, Section 3.2 and Section 10).

From the way the 1987 Constitution underscores science and technology, it may be gathered that the implicit aim is not science and technology itself, but its role in serving such national goals as self-reliance and development.

FILIPINO VALUES

There have been numerous studies on Filipino values, ranging from scientific surveys and tests to essays of personal opinions and anecdotes (Church 1986).

The most accurate indicator of social values is spontaneous mass behavior. In this regard, perhaps the best example of mass spontaneous behavior is the People Power Revolution of February, 1986. This action on a rare scale of magnitude could only reflect the common denominators in the traits of its millions of participants. It spawned a number of descriptions of the Filipino character. One writer (Hornedo 1988) summarized his observations of this social phenomenon as follows:

The authentic and truly classic EDSA people power was therefore: (1) popular and cutting across socio-economic lines; spontaneous and therefore unstructured, (2) joyful and humanitarian, (3) religious in temperament and persuasion, (4) pacifist and conciliatory, (5) non-confrontational as the third party go-between or namamagitan of traditional Filipino society and culture, and by this fact (6) rooted in the Filipino national consciousness and soul . . . (it was also) (7) pro-freedom.

Nationwide surveys conducted by the Bishops-Businessmen Conference and the Ateneo Social Weather Station suggest the following elements of the Filipino character and value system: pessimism concerning the present but optimism concerning the future, care and concern for others, hospitality and friendship, respect, religiosity and fear of God, respect for women, a pro-American attitude, and a dislike for cheats and thieves.

After reviewing the literature on Filipino values, I have proposed a schema (Diagram 1) for visualizing the clustering, linkages, and internal coherence among these values (Talisayon, S. 1988). The core values found are also those studied by the leading researchers in this field: family solidarity and economic security (Bulatao 1973), personalism and small-group orientation (Jocano), smooth interpersonal relations (S.I.R. of Lynch 1973), "loob" (Mercado 1974), "pakikiramdam" and "pakikipagkapwatao" (Enriquez 1977). Five macroclusters were identified in their order of strength: the relationship cluster, social cluster, livelihood cluster, inwardness cluster, and optimism cluster.

TEACHING VALUES THROUGH SCIENCE

The importance of science and technology, and the teaching of both, are recognized by the Constitution. The operative question before us is this: how do we teach the natural and physical sciences so as to develop in students socially-desirable values? Note that the issue we are addressing here is not "how to teach science" but "how to teach values through science". The teaching of science can be viewed as an end in itself, but for the purposes of this Seminar, we are viewing it as a means to social ends.

Values enter into the teaching of science in three ways: (1) values inherent in the subject matter or content of science and technology, (2) values developed in learning the processes and methods of science, and (3) values related to the benefit or harm generated by the application of science and technology.

Values Inherent in Science

Values in this category are few. The reason is that science and technology provide man with excellent answers to questions of means, but often they cannot provide him with satisfactory answers to questions of ends. Science can tell man how to make fire or start a nuclear reaction. But it is not science that can tell him whether to use the fire to cook his

food or burn his neighbor's house, and whether to use atomic energy to power industry or to destroy millions of people.

Scientists limit themselves to what they, using present means, can observe with their known senses. As a result science and technology conduces to values that tend to be focused on the material, sensate world.

The scientific method, as now understood and taught, is conducive to logical positivist, quantitative, and basically impersonal ways of thinking. In this sense science itself as we know it today is not value free. If not disciplined to serve man and his nobler purposes, science and technology have the capacity to insinuate these materialist values despite the avowed objectivity of science and its methods.

This can be dangerous because, if we examine the Filipino value system, its merits and strengths appear to be almost polar opposites to the values inherent in science and its present methods, to wit:

VALUES INHERENT FILIPINO

IN SCIENCE VALUES

Sensate (attention to ------> <------ loob complex or

external environment) interiority; `pakiramdam'

matter orientation ------> <------ spiritual orientation

impersonal ------> <------ personalism

attention to ------> <------ attention to

physical phenomena social phenomena

If Filipino teachers of science and technology are not aware and careful, their very success may be equivalent to the elimination of core values in our culture and their replacement with those Western values tending to materialism, sensate orientation, and impersonality. This is particularly true in the teaching of the physical sciences such as physics, chemistry and geology. The success of eliminating superstitions and erroneous beliefs may, unless guarded against, be sadly accompanied by the loss of socially desirable values. Awareness on the part of the teacher is a necessary antidote because admittedly science teaching is a form of enculturation.

Fortunately, there are branches of study in the natural sciences which, if properly handled, can avoid this outcome and even achieve desirable reinforcement of socially desirable values. Ecology is one of them. I say "properly handled" because teaching values always involves intelligent selection by the teacher of the value to be taught.

In terms of inherent value content, ecology is perhaps the richest among the natural sciences. Ecology is the exception to the rule that science and technology provide man with answers largely to questions of means and not of ends. Although the teacher will exercise some judgement in selecting which social values to emphasize on the basis of ecological facts and principles, the job of teaching socially-desirable values is easy while teaching ecology. Some examples are the following:

1. Interrelatedness of nature, that what happens in a part of the web of nature ultimately affects every other part, thereby leading to

2. Systemic and holistic thinking;

3. Man is part of nature, that hurting the natural ecosystem will eventually hurt man, and that man is a part of the cycles of nature; thereby leading to

4. Respect for, or responsibility towards, nature; and the reality that this responsibility, to be effective, must be socially shared rather than pursued by only a few individuals in a society; that the more valid attitude towards nature is harmony and balance, rather than conquest;

5. Diversity of species leads to stability; monocultures lead to vulnerability;

6. Global and internationalist values from the biophysical ecological web that ties every man to every other man; and from the common threat to mankind posed by harming the biosphere (greenhouse effect from carbon dioxide and deforestation, thinning of ozone from use of flourohydrocarbons, nuclear winter from global nuclear war, irretrievable loss of species, etc.);

7. Conservation, from the physical limits placed by non-renewable and slowly-renewable natural resources.

Consequently, there is a school of thought that a moral system can be derived from ecology, or biology in general. In other words, science by itself can be used to derive a bioethics. However, science alone cannot be the basis even for a bioethics because certain biological principles and applications have either an ambiguous, controversial, or perhaps even socially undesirable implications. Examples are competition and survival of the fittest, population control, surrogate motherhood, vegetarianism, artificial insemination, and eugenics.

Certain topics of science must be treated with care when taught to certain cultural communities. For example, using pigs and dogs as textbook examples or laboratory subjects is abhorrent to Muslim students. Scientific study of the moon may also present some problems. Certain forms of birth control are unacceptable to conservative Catholics. According to our definition, as long as there is no clear consensus among most Filipinos on a particular value, we cannot claim that value to be socially-desirable.

Geography is a branch of science where the linkages between natural and social phenomena are delineated. When applied to the study of Philippine geography, values can be taught thereby, such as appreciation of other ethnic and cultural groups, understanding of certain regional idiosyncrasies, and pride in the natural endowments and unique assets of the nation. Unfortunately geography is no longer taught as a separate course in the primary and secondary levels.

In the physical sciences, certain principles may be construed to have value implications, although their conformity with our Filipino definition of socially-desirable values is either an open issue or subject to question. Some physicists have waxed philosophical and written metaphysical discourses after contemplating these principles:

1. Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: the process of observation inevitably disturbs that which is being observed;

2. Quantum mechanics: nature behaves in a probabilistic fashion;

3. Theory of Relativity: matter and energy are equivalent; time intervals and distances depend on the velocity of the observer; the universe is curved and thus it is boundless but limited; and

4. Mathematics underlies the physical behavior of the universe.

Values from Learning Scientific Processes

The scientific method demands personal discipline; science itself is a form of personal discipline. It may not be explicitly taught as such, but nevertheless effects the student.

Certain values and personality traits can be taught through the practice of the scientific method. Values derivable from learning scientific methods and processes offer a wider field of action to the science teacher.

The pursuit of the scientific method carries certain rather difficult attitudinal and behavioral demands on the researcher, among them:

1. Honesty and accuracy in recording and reporting observations; avoiding shortcuts that compromise honesty and accuracy;

2. Ability to suspend judgement whenever warranted; the ability to prevent one's personal preferences from affecting observations and results;

3. Willingness to admit error and to change views when confronted with data to the contrary;

4. Giving credit to another author for using his idea; or never claiming somebody else's idea as his own;

5. Resourcefulness and creativity in formulating a problem, developing a new method or theory, or finding new applications;

6. Persistence and patience while preparing and waiting to produce results;

7. Sensitivity to social needs in selecting a research topic and in testing applications of a principle;

8. A sense of appropriateness and proportion in matching research technique to research problem, deciding the level of precision, or seeking a trade-off between scope and cost; and

9. Skepticism unless sufficient and relevant data supports a hypothesis.

In ancient Japan, an iemoto is a traditional school where students place themselves under the tutelage of a Master in a skill specific to the school. The skill may be flower arrangement, the tea ceremony, kendo (a form of swordsmanship), koto (a guitar-like instrument) playing, calligraphy, or some handicraft. In an iemoto, the values pursued are practice and learning, obedience to the Master, loyalty to the school, and of course, perfection in the skill according to the specific tradition of the iemoto. In this setting, learning embraces more than content and process. It includes a third and most important consideration: internal discipline.

In the West, sportsmen and athletes are beginning to discover--while aiming to run the fastest, jump the highest, or play ball best--the extent to which perfection is greatly influenced by the state of mind. It is quite conceivable for an athlete to train and perform, not only to win, but to achieve internal discipline and to develop one's character.

A similar viewpoint could be held as far as learning the scientific method is concerned. Using and teaching science and its methods as a personal discipline, over and above the usual considerations of content and process, is a rather Asian way of viewing science. After all, the separation between the scientific method and the scientist is only an artifice and it may serve both better if the scientist admits and manages the intimate linkage between the two. This proposal could be more feasible among more mature graduate students, especially in the social and behavioral sciences. In graduate school, there is a close relationship between the graduate adviser and the graduate student which can be handled from the triple criteria of content, process, and internal discipline.

A value mentioned in several places in the 1987 Constitution is creativity, and the related values of innovation, invention, and technological self-reliance. From a review of the Constitution, the members of the Constitutional Commission appear to have decided to emphasize scientific creativity and technological innovation and invention, knowing that they contribute to national self-reliance.

Unfortunately, creativity as an educational objective and process is among the least understood and attended to elements in our school system. The great majority of the subjects taught in our school system train children to understand, remember, and apply rules in order to obtain the single correct answer--in short, they are trained largely in convergent thinking. Learning in school is a continuous process of eroding and narrowing a child's conception of what things are possible. As a result, creativity and open-mindedness appear to vary inversely with age. According to John Nuveen, "You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come in contact with a new idea."

Divergent thinking is a component of creativity, and is called into action when the mind is confronted with a problem which can have many possible solutions. It comes into the picture at two points in the scientific research process: at the beginning and at the end. Divergent thinking is required in defining a research problem, including formulating the hypotheses. Divergent thinking is again required in seeking useful applications of the findings or conclusions. In between, convergent thinking is, of course, required if the classical scientific method is to be correctly followed.

If we are to encourage more children to be creative, and if we are to aim to develop more Filipino innovators and inventors, programmatic efforts must be made to develop scientific creativity and inventiveness.

Related closely to creativity and inventiveness is entrepreneurship. Science and mathematics can be taught to secondary students in such a manner as to teach also creativity and entrepreneurship. (Talisayon, S. 1986).

Values Related to Consequences of Technology

This third avenue for teaching values offers rich possibilities.

Values that motivate the use of technology. The beneficial and harmful consequences of producing and using technology can be dramatic, such as putting men on the moon, destroying two Japanese cities, transplanting a human heart, storing an encyclopedia inside a desktop computer, mercury pollution, and commercial travel at speeds exceeding that of sound. The credit or blame, of course, cannot be placed on technology, but on the motives and values behind the producers and users of technology. Technology merely amplifies the power of man for good or for evil. Hence, teaching the consequences of technology can be an indirect, but effective way of highlighting the consequences of those motives and values behind the user of technology. This avenue is indirect because it does not teach values, but teaches about values and their consequences.

A powerful social value which can be taught is the proper use of technology to alleviate poverty and pain. The process of teaching certain technologies can be so planned as to convey and reinforce this socially, desirable value, in addition to the primary aim of teaching the technology itself. This approach can be employed in teaching the following technology courses: appropriate technologies for rural applications, medical technologies, livelihood skills and technologies, medicinal plants, and food processing.

A related value implicit in the Constitution and very relevant to Philippine conditions is that technology must be made maximally relevant to the improvement of livelihood. The concern to link the teaching of science, technology and vocational skills to gaining a livelihood is old and well-recognized. What remains is the issue of how best to make this linkage more direct and efficient. The following are some suggestions, some of which have been tried:

1. To the extent feasible, select and design lessons and school projects so that outputs are marketable and use income from sales as the basis for grading;

2. Make use of successful skilled workers, craftsmen, and entrepreneurs in the locality as resource persons;

3. If accessible to the school, arrange to visit and talk with a successful Filipino inventor and make a tour of his workshop;

4. Conduct a practicum on vocational subjects taught through short-term secondment of a student to a local factory, cottage industry, store, shop or farm;

5. Develop or adapt curriculum materials from agencies dealing with livelihood-oriented technology transfer such as the Technology Resource Center, Nonconventional Technology Resources, Department of the Bureau of Energy Development, UP Los Baños for agricultural technologies and UP Visayas for fisheries and marine technologies, Department of Science and Technology and its regional offices, Livelihood Corporation, Bureau of Animal Industry, Bureau of Plant Industry, NACIDA, etc.

Values resulting from the use of technology. By itself, technology can shape values. It can affect our value system by making certain choices easier. For example, the invention of contraceptives makes sexual promiscuity safer. Toothpaste and mouthwash make bad breath a social offense. Ladies make-up, orthodontal braces, and nose lifting influence our conceptions of beauty. The pocket watch and wristwatch can impose personal discipline, but also can kill spontaneity. The automobile can make people lazy. It can also spawn entire lifestyles in the same way that the automobile shaped the American way of life: drive-in movies and drive-in churches, interstate highways, parking meters and parking tickets, mobile homes, trailers, hitch-hiking, and so on--all in the name of "service to mankind". This phenomenon, where technology results in unanticipated or unplanned cultural changes and in rearrangements of social relations, is very common.

Hence, how technology itself can shape values should also be taught. However, this requires cross-disciplinary expertise on the part of the teacher, which is rare, or else a multi-disciplinary team of teachers, which is expensive. The solution is often an inter-departmental program at the tertiary level. Academic programs relating science and technology to society thus have become popular in university campuses since it started in the United States and Europe. The utility of such programs can be extended to the secondary level by developing enrichment materials or by their incorporation into integrated science courses or social science courses.

Again, this avenue does not teach values directly, but teaches about values resulting from technology. Teaching about values is inferior to teaching values because the former can get bogged down in the conceptual level without reaching the affective and behavioral levels. It is appropriate to university-level students and to more mature students at the secondary level. It can be recommended above all for college and graduate students majoring in education.

Community-based teaching of science. A third avenue for teaching values is through the "community-based" teaching of science. The U.P. Institute for Science and Mathematics Education has been experimenting for some time now with the "community-based" teaching of biology, chemistry, and physics (Talisayon, S. 1986).

In this approach, the starting point is not a science principle or lesson, but the community and its needs. The essence of the approach is two-fold: (1) the selection, design and implementation of lessons most relevant to the needs and conditions of the community where the student lives, and (2) the use of community resources and expertise in the teaching-learning process.

Technology is heavily culture-bound. The effectiveness of technology generally changes when it is transferred from a source culture to a recipient culture. Thus a modern digital wristwatch is very useful or even essential in an urban setting like Metro Manila for keeping track of time appointments in that fast-paced, highly organized and formalized working environment. But when the user visits remote rural areas the same device becomes useless for there are no precise schedules to keep, any appointment is treated flexibly, and there is no pressing need to know the exact time. Transported into a rural environment, the utility of this technology is drastically reduced.

A microcomputer in the hands of upland forest dwellers is not technology at all, but becomes a piece of junk. Transported into a frontier environment, the utility of this technology becomes zero. We can see clearly that technology is such because it is useful to the user.

This should be true also of educational technology, including transfers from urban to rural and frontier cultures in the same country, especially a multi-ethnic country like the Philippines. What is useful to a Japanese pupil in a Tokyo school may not be useful to a Bilaan pupil in a mountain school in Cotabato. Not all experiments and laboratory equipment prescribed in textbooks developed in Metro Manila have equal relevance and meaning in the context of a rural or frontier community. This approach places societal needs before technology, and consciously reverses the usual process in which technology modifies society--which is precisely the philosophy behind the "appropriate technology" movement. It places technology where it should be all along--as servant to man.

Local resources and expertise are usually available in a rural community for science teaching. For example, physics concepts can be usefully and meaningfully learned by visiting a local baker, an auto mechanic, or a radio-TV repair shop. The practical experiences and techniques employed by these people are largely unrecognized resources for teaching science and technology. Even self-made technicians in small vulcanizing shops can be assets to a creative and well-prepared teacher. There is nothing `high brow' about technology.

CONCLUDING SUMMARY

The science teacher must recognize that science teaching is an enculturation process. Values are learned in the process. Values can therefore be taught through science teaching. Some guidelines that may be adopted in planning this process follow:

(1) Scientific principles in geography, physics, and especially ecology provide bases for teaching many desirable social values.

(2) The scientific method can also be viewed as a basis for teaching many desirable personal disciplines.

(3) A trait recognized as desirable in the 1987 Constitution is creativity and inventiveness. The teaching of creativity in connection with teaching science and technology may have to be given more emphasis than it is receiving at present.

(4) Teaching the consequences of the use or misuse of science and technology is a fertile avenue for teaching values. Seeking beneficial applications in alleviating poverty and pain, in improving livelihoods, and in developing communities are processes which can be used to develop positive values about the use of technology. So-called "community-based" teaching of science and technology is a useful method for teaching socially-desirable values.

(5) Educational technology, like technology in general, is culture-bound. Therefore, the teacher needs to exercise care in adopting educational technologies from cultural contexts alien to that of the students.

University of the Philippines

Manila

REFERENCES

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Enriquez, Virgilio G. Filipino Philosophy in the Third World. Quezon City: Philippine Psychology Research House, 1977.

Hornedo, Florentino. "People Power As The Traditional Filipino Go Between," in Pantas: A Journal for Higher Education. Vol. 1, No. 1, November 1987, Ateneo de Manila University.

Lynch, Frank and Alfonso de Guzman II, eds. Four Reading on Philippine Values. Fourth edition, revised. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1973.

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Talisayon, Vivien, Joel Koren, and Bal Krishna. Teacher-Training Material on Using Community Resources in Teaching Physics. UNESCO Regional Workshop on the Training of Physics Teachers. Quezon City, Philippines, 18-28 November, 1986.