Historical Significance Project: Forum, Paper and Training

Inaccurate or deliberately misleading information has far-reaching consequences to nation building. It sows seeds of doubt in the very institutions that protect democracy and basic freedoms.

This is especially dangerous when we think of the young schoolchildren who will eventually steer the country’s course. It is hard to imagine what future we are leaving them behind when they are exposed to distorted truths from the very sources and institutions that they deem reliable and accurate.

FPPC’s History Project has been an academic and pedagogical undertaking that analyzes the state of the new K-12 compliant textbooks in Grade 5-6 used in public and private schools, and how Philippine history is taught using these textbooks.

The result of the study culminated in a Public Forum: Pag-unlad ng Lipunan, Nakatindig sa Kasaysayan: The Role of Philippine History Education in Shaping Informed and Active Citizens with a Shared National Identity Public Forum successfully hosted with Dr. Maris Diokno as Resource Speaker last February 24, 2021.

Over 420 individuals from the Department of Education Central and Regional Offices, Partner Private Schools, and invited stakeholders and advocates attended the forum.

The next phase of the History Project focuses on developing and offering CPD Training for Araling Panlipunan (AP) teachers. It aims to discuss the meaning and criteria of historical significance, the issues relating to historical significance, and the application of the concept and process of historical significance to social studies pedagogy.

Particularly, the project aims to :

Explain the meaning and value of historical significance.

Compare the meaning of historical significance with that in everyday life and other contexts.

Discuss various criteria used to evaluate the historical significance of a person, event, or idea, and provide examples.

Discuss issues concerning historical significance (e.g., perspective, temporality, contestability).

Present applications of historical significance in teaching and learning.

Model responses to worksheets assigned to participants; and

Synthesize the meaning, value, and pedagogical applications of historical significance.

The History Project and the CPD trainings are all geared towards improving the standards for teaching history; with the end goal of developing in our students a solid national identity based on an accurate rendering of historical facts, ultimately creating well- informed, patriotic citizens.

This goal is based on an assumption that there is a link between having those kinds of citizens and the way that these citizens care for public goods, and act in the national interest, that are ultimately good for creating cohesive societies and spur cultural and economic development.

One of the findings in a recent study on the teaching of social studies in Grades 5 and 6 in selected schools (Diokno Calingasan, and Lucman for the FEU Policy Center, 2021) shows that teachers tend to include as test items whatever appears in the textbooks with little or no regard for the historical significance of the content.

The result of this seeming inability to distinguish between what is and is not historically significant is that students are made to simply memorize what is in the textbooks in order to answer exercises and tests. History and social studies therefore appear as a series of one (boring) fact after another, with hardly any connection to the life of the learners.

Facts or events, after all, are not of equal value or significance, and the understanding of historical significance will enable both teacher and learner to apply critical thinking skills crucial to the processing of factual and interpretive information.

The pilot round ran on Sept. 18 and 25. The first actual round took place on Nov. 13, 20, and 27. A second round of training will take place in January 2022.