Among Urban Low Income Early Graders Education Essay

Published:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

This research probed the early graders' perspectives of pagka-Filipino based on their experiences and interaction with picture books. This study used the descriptive survey type of research and utilized qualitative analysis of data based on interviews with forty Grade 1 and Grade 2 urban children from low-income families. The findings revealed that the children have an essentialist form of national identification and picture books can enrich the children's body of knowledge by serving as stimuli that activate their existing schemata wherein they link the words and images from the picture books to their experience. Based on the findings, some implications include the enhancement of the K to 12 Philippine Basic Education Curriculum and the Teacher Education Institutions (TETs) particularly in the Teaching in the Early Grades and other related programs so that national consciousness will go beyond the essentialist level and for pagka-Filipino to take root in every Filipino child.

In relation to the goal of Philippine political and economic development and social cohesiveness, there is a growing clamor to revisit and revive nationalism. In the Philippines, it has been recognized that the issue of nationalism is important in education. One of the goals of the Education Act of 1982 that serves as a guideline for elementary education, is to "promote and intensify the child's knowledge of identification with, and love for the nation and the people to which he belongs" (Department of Education, 2002, p.2).

As agents of patriotism and nationalism, the school is mandated to inculcate pagka-Filipino in children. Moreover, the K to 12 Philippine Basic Education Curriculum also reflects the significance of teaching pagka-Filipino based on the Department of Education's curriculum guide. One of the desired outcomes of the implementation of the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) is to develop learners who take pride in their cultural heritage and are proud to be Filipinos. As early as kindergarten, pagiging maka-Filipino or a national consciousness of being a Filipino is cultivated in the children, with the hope that this will lead to ardent nationalism, love of country and pride as a Filipino (Department of Education, 2012).

The importance of teaching nationalism and national identity in the early grades has been established and promoted by the state and state institutions such as school and the Department of Education. However, a study on national identity among urban school children by Doronila (1986) showed that Filipino children favor other countries over their own, and this preference deepens as they mature. A similar study was also conducted among 3rd year High School students in Baguio City by Herrera and Robias (2010), and the findings revealed that although "respondents exhibit a positive preference for things Filipino, these preferences have not yet been lifted to a level of consciousness that would make their manifestation of such personal preferences as expressive of their identity as Filipino" (Herrera & Robias, 2010, p.67). This suggests that national identity among Filipino youth is superficial. According to Yacat (2002), there are two kinds of pagka-Filipino: Filipino by name which is shallow and Filipino by heart which is deeply-rooted. He further stressed the importance of the family where culture and Filipino identity take root and of the school which nurtures the idea of pagka-Filipino.

Koh (2010) emphasized that it is during childhood that an individual starts to identify with the nation. She declared that "childhood experience is commonly taken to be the bedrock upon which self-identity is built, and national consciousness is regarded by many as a key foundation of a modern person's identity" (Koh, 2010, p.1). Furthermore, she saw the need for studies on how children perceive national identity. She stated "children should be central to the study of national feeling, place-belonging, and citizenship. And yet, we do not know a great deal about how school-age children actually do relate to the idea of nation" (Koh, 2010, p.2).

The assertion of Koh (2010) and the studies by Doronila, Herrera and Robias, and Yacat presented two crucial issues: (1) superficial national identification among Filipinos and (2) lack of studies on national identity and childhood.

This research seeks to address these two problems by focusing on early graders and their perspectives of "pagka-Filipino." In Vygotsky's social development theory (Ormrod, 2011), the child learns concepts through language and action. He asserts that development is connected to social context and that the child's developmental level should complement his learning. Hedges (2012) explained further that "during the early childhood years, Vygotsky believed that everyday concepts were most prominent. According to Vygotsky, "Everyday concepts emerged from children's thinking about their daily experiences; that is, they occur spontaneously in the context of normal participation in family and community practices and activities" (Hedges, 2012, P.145). By probing how children in the early grades perceive and construct their identity as Filipinos in the context of their everyday experiences, policy makers, teacher educators, curriculum developers, and early grades teachers will gain greater insight into how the concept of national identity and nationalism take root in every Filipino child. The children's perspectives will improve the K to 12 Philippine Basic Education Curriculum and its implementation.

This study also investigates the perspectives of "pagka-Filipino" of early graders, based on locally-published picture books. This will hopefully add another dimension to the pedagogical aspect that can be gained from the children's perspectives. Hillman (2003) described the picture book as the child's gateway to the world, the first step outside the child's immediate environment. "The precise combination of art and words is a powerful experience because it triggers the imagination & introduces concepts for cognitive and language development" (Hillman, 2003, p.89). Aquino (2009) said that children's literature activates the schema of the child and presents vicarious experiences that encourage cognitive processes such as assimilation and accommodation. Piaget's stages of cognitive development (Ormrod, 2011) show that as a child matures, he/she assimilates and accommodates knowledge, acquiring schemas through experience. Like building blocks, a child can create a castle by adding a block with every bit of information learned. The existing blocks are used to widen the child's body of knowledge. These blocks form the child's schema and schema can be influenced by social and cultural experiences and interactions with text and illustrations found in picture books.

Children learn by constructing their own knowledge. Carlsson-Paige (2001) states that "children actively construct meaning for themselves. These meanings, unique to each child, are embedded in family and culture and are built over time" (Carlsson-Paige, 2001, p.17). She further claims that through stories, children can build new meanings by referring to their personal meanings and experiences. Picture books are effective material to find out in concrete terms the "pagka-Filipino" of early graders. How the children perceive the words and images in the picture book that depict "pagka-Filipino" will enrich the concept of "pagka-Filipino" itself. The Filipino icons in the text and illustrations in picture books are concrete items that children can identify with. Through this study, early graders specifically Grade 1 and Grade 2 children will be engaged in defining "pagka-Filipino" according to their perspectives and in their own words. By sitting down and talking with the children themselves, knowledge will be gained on how they shape and restructure the concept of national identity.

This research attempted to fill the gap of the study on national identity and perspectives of early graders based on picture books and their experiences. Drawing from Koh's statement that it is through "everyday living experiences that the children experience the nation" (Koh, 2010, p. 174) and following Vygotsky's claim that "everyday concepts emerged from children's thinking about their daily experiences; that is, they occur spontaneously in the context of normal participation in family and community practices and activities" (Hedges, 2012, P.145), it can be deduced that the everyday arena is important in the child's formation of the concept of "pagka-Filipino" as supported by Almario and Almario (2009) specifically on Filipino games and further, by Koh (2010) on habituated routines. Therefore, it can be assumed that everyday experiences and concrete materials surrounding the child's routines such as games, food, clothes, animals, famous people, things commonly used and activities often engaged in, are important domains to investigate in this study.

Cook, G. and Cook, J. (2009) also stressed "that socialization and differential experiences play roles in gender differences" and this affects children's perspectives (Cook, G. & Cook, J., 2009, p. 362). Comparing the similarities and differences in the early graders' responses by gender and grade level will provide new layers on the children's insights on "pagka-Filipino."

The objectives of this research were: (1 ) to probe how children in the early grades perceive and construct their identity as Filipinos in the context of their everyday experiences, (2) to investigate the perspectives of "pagka-Filipino" of early graders, based on the text and illustrations of locally-published picture books, (3) to broaden way of understanding the children's construction and definition of "pagka-Filipino" according to their perspectives and in their own words and (4) to compare the early graders' perspectives of "pagka-Filipino" by gender and grade level.

SCHEMA, PICTURE BOOKS AND PAGKA-FILIPINO

Schema Theory

Piaget is the proponent of schema theory (Ormrod, 2011). He said that as a child matures, he/she assimilates and accommodates knowledge, acquiring schemata through experience. Like building blocks, a child can create a castle by adding a block with every bit of information learned. The existing blocks are used to widen the child's body of knowledge. These blocks form the child's schema and schema can be influenced by social and cultural experiences and interactions with text and illustrations found in picture books. In Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development, children from two to seven years old belong to the preoperational stage and can already express themselves and describe the world through words and images.

R.C. Anderson (Widmayer, 2003 in Lee & Tsai, 2004), an educational psychologist, expanded the schema theory which proposes that our understanding or knowledge of the world is composed of organized network of abstract mental structures. Widmayer (2003), added that schema is used to interpret and predict situations (in Lee & Tsai, 2004). It was further proposed that each person possesses a unique set of schema which is built from the individual's cognitive processes and experiences (Lee & Tsai, 2004).

National Identity and Pagka-Filipino

In their study of national identity among high school students, Herrera and Robias cited William Bloom's definition of national identity as a "condition in which a mass of people have made the same identification with national symbols--have internalized the symbols of the nation--- so that they may act as one psychological group when there is a threat to, or the possibility of enhancement of, their symbols of national identity" (in Herrera & Robias, 2010, p.10). This coincides with Doronila's (1986) research on the meaning of Filipino national identity conducted among urban school children using a 35-item National Identity Scale (NIS) for Students. The questions were based on the four value patterns namely: (1) ethnocentrism; (2) valuing socio-historical aspects reflective of national identity; (3) loyalty to the national state beyond ethnic loyalties; (4) commitment to the role requirements of citizenship (Doronila, 1986, p.11-12). Under each value pattern are a set of orientation or attitudes that serve as defining parameters for national identity. The 16 attitudes are either essentialist or epochalist in nature, using Geertz' forms of national consciousness. Doronila agreed with Geertz that essentialist aspects of national ideologizing are the initial point of identification. The essentialist aspects are national symbols, generalized love of country, and appreciation of cultural aspects. Her findings reveal that Filipino children favor other countries over their own and this preference deepens as they mature.

Brown (2000) explains the constructivist approach to national identity. He claims that it is "constructed on the basis of institutional or ideological frameworks which offer simple and simplistic formulas of identity, and diagnoses of contemporary problems, to otherwise confused and insecure individuals" (Brown, 2000, p.20). For children, social institutions like family and school help in shaping their national identity.

Herrera and Robias (2010) adapted Doronila's NIS to find out the perspectives of national identity among third year high school students in Baguio City. The results showed that although "respondents exhibit a positive preference for things Filipino, these preferences have not yet been lifted to a level of consciousness that would make their manifestation of such personal preferences as expressive of their identity as Filipino, or as charters of national identity" (Herrera & Robias, 2010, p.67). This suggests that even at the age of adolescence, Filipinos are still on the essentialist level of identifying with our nation. The study also shows that Filipinos are perceived as industrious and family-oriented people.

In a study on pagka-Filipino, Yacat (2002) claimed that there are two kinds of pagka-Filipino: Filipino by name which is shallow and Filipino by heart which is deeply-rooted. He provided several sources of knowledge which he acknowledged as important in the process of being a Filipino. Among them are family, school, community, and mass media. He further stressed the importance of the family where culture and Filipino identity take root and of the school which nurtures the idea of pagka-Filipino. Moreover, Yacat (2002) elaborates that the consciousness of being a Filipino starts through the observed external experiences of the people and is imbibed internally only through teachings and learning through their own experience. Thus, the individual's sense of pagka-Filipino depends on the kind and type of information being processed and accepted.

National Identity Among Early Grades Children

The paper "Findings, Theories and Methods in the Study of Children's National Identifications and National Attitudes" (Barrett & Oppenheimer, 2011) reviews previous findings and methodologies on the development of national feeling, national attitudes, and national identifications. Findings revealed that children begin to acquire geographical knowledge of their country from about five years of age (Barrett, 2005a, 2007; Jahoda, 1963a; Piaget & Weil, 1951), with the mass media (especially television) and travel being important sources of information (Gould & White, 1986).

Children's knowledge of other countries occur at a later age and significantly increase at age eight, with the knowledge coming from formal teaching at school, from television and news.

Most children already know some of the symbolic emblems of their own country by five to six years old and this knowledge continues to develop over subsequent years (Barrett, 2007; Helwig & Prencipe, 1999; Jahoda, 1963b; Moore, Lare, & Wagner, 1985; Weinstein, 1957). Though there is a significant cross-national variability in such knowledge (Barrett et al., 1997), and there are also variations within countries in children's use of, and affect for, national emblems as a function of their language group, ethnicity, and gender (Moodie, 1980; Moore et al., 1985).

Stereotyping of some groups are acquired already by the age of five or six (Barrett & Short, 1992; Barrett, Wilson, & Lyons, 2003; Bar-Tal, 1996; Lambert & Klineberg, 1967;Oppenheimer & Hakvoort, 2003) and by 10 or 11 years, children hold extensive beliefs about the typical physical features, clothing, habits, psychological and personality traits of a large number of different national groups. These beliefs are obtained from different sources such as television, films, books, schoolwork and parents, visits to other countries, and personal contact with foreigners (Barrett, 2007; Barrett & Short, 1992; Bar-Tal, 1997; Holloway & Valentine, 2000; Lambert & Klineberg, 1967).

Children from seven years onward exhibit preference for their own country and strong national pride and this pride and preference strengthens throughout middle childhood (Barrett & Short, 1992; Hess & Torney, 1967; Jaspers, van de Geer, Tajfel, & Johnson, 1972; Johnson, Middelton, & Tajfel, 1970). However, this is not a universal phenomenon since other countries and national groups may still be preferred over the child's own country (Middleton, Tajfel, & Johnson, 1970; Moore et al., 1985; Tajfel, Jahoda, Nemeth, Rim, & Johnson, 1972).

By the age of six, most children "acknowledge their membership of their own national group, but their strength of subjective identification with that group varies at this early age" (Barrett, 2007, p.2). There is a great deal of variation in the subsequent development of children's national identifications and this depends on the child's country, geographical location, ethnicity, the use of language within the family, and language of schooling (Barrett, 2005b, 2007).

Koh (2010) emphasized that it is during childhood that an individual start to identify with the nation. She declared "childhood experience is commonly taken to be the bedrock upon which self-identity is built, and national consciousness is regarded by many as a key foundation of a modern persons' identity" (Koh, 2010, p.1). Furthermore, she saw the need for studies on how children perceive national identity. She stated "children should be central to the study of national feeling, place-belonging, and citizenship. And yet, we do not know a great deal about how school-age children actually do relate to the idea of nation" (Koh, 2010, p.2).

In the Philippine setting, Doronila (1986) conducted a study of the content and meaning of Filipino national identity among elementary students, including grade 1 and grade 2. The respondents' age ranges from 7 to 14 belonging to low-income urban communities. She found out that students do not have a strong attachment to our country. Although there is loyalty to the regional group, that does not translate to national loyalty. Students also lack understanding of Philippine history and colonial mentality permeates their consciousness. However, respondents are inclined towards things Filipino such as Filipino food and the special traits of our people. But Doronila asserts that this "preferences have not yet been lifted up to a level of consciousness that would make the manifestation of such preferences as expressive of their identity as Filipino." Moreover, Doronila's research illustrates that a national symbol such as the flag is only moderately appreciated.

Picture Books

Matulka (2008) wrote a book entitled, A Picture Book Primer which provided comprehensive information on the subject. The book offered a suitable definition of picture book in relation to this study by citing Bader's definition which is "text, illustrations, total design; an item of manufacture and a commercial product; a social, cultural and historic document; and foremost, an experience for a child" (in Matulka, 2008, p.1). This definition touches on the three important aspects of this study - content style, its cultural aspect, and the children. The book also provided several important insights such as different meanings can result from the picture-text relationship for various readers; that exposure to picture books helps in developing literacy skills of children; and that through the picture books' narrative art, children are introduced to visual and verbal communication, thereby enhancing literacy. Further, the book cited Nodelman (1990) by stating that the readers create meanings in texts by filling in gaps between what is stated and what is implied (in Matulka, 2008).

A study by Arizpe and Styles (2003) examines the responses of the children, aged four to eleven, to picture books. It explores the development of meaning from complex images on the literal, visual and metaphorical levels among children ages four to eleven. The result of the study shows that children learn the ability to read images and their meanings through picture books. Children's experience with picture books enhances their capacity to create their own meanings out of complex ideas. Hillman (2003) described the picture book as the child's gateway to the world, the first step outside the child's immediate environment. "The precise combination of art and words is a powerful experience because it triggers the imagination & introduces concepts for cognitive and language development" (Hillman, 2003, p.89). Aquino (2009) said that children's literature activates the schema of the child and presents vicarious experiences that encourage cognitive processes such as assimilation and accommodation.

Picture Books and Pagka-Filipino

There are several local studies on the influences of picture books and story books on the child. Entereso (2009) evaluated 15 Adarna House books included in the International Children's Digital Library to probe the basis of the books' characterization and plot. She found out that all the books have cultural bases and characters that Filipino children can relate to. This means that the 15 books were based on Philippine experience and Filipino culture was depicted accurately. Pinzon (2008) examined 30 Hiyas children's books to determine their representation of current social reality in the Philippines. Her research revealed that social reality in terms of character representation is shown in the selected OMF published books. There are ethnic characters, elderly characters, and physically/ mentally challenged characters in the stories. The books also featured broadened family situation with single parent characters and orphan characters. Africa (2005) analyzed the child's prior knowledge and how stories affect young learner's thinking process and skills by reading aloud fourteen storybooks. Her study revealed that pictures and text in stories shape and expand the child's schema. Picture books are useful tools for children to assimilate new ideas and accommodate them with existing concepts. She wrote that stories are foundational tools in helping the young construct meaning for themselves. Through the words and images in picture books, children connect loose ends, learn concepts, and think critically.

METHODOLOGY

This study used the descriptive survey type of research and utilized qualitative analysis of data. The primary data-gathering instrument was an Interview Schedule conducted one on one with each respondent. To investigate the respondents' perspectives on pagka-Filipino based on their experiences and prior knowledge, an initial interview was conducted. To probe the children's perspectives of pagka-Filipino as depicted in picture books, each story was read to them, after which an interview was held. The interviews were dialectical, informal, and dynamic. The data gathered from these interviews were supported by data from the actual observations and journal entries of the researcher for the whole duration of data-gathering.

The Participants

Forty Grade 1 and Grade 2 children residing and studying in Quezon City were the respondents of this study. This research used purposive and convenience sampling in which an equal representation for gender and grade level among the respondents was applied. The composition of the research sample is as follows: 10 female and 10 male Grade 1 students and 10 female and 10 male Grade 2 students for a total of forty respondents. The respondents age ranges from 5 to 11 years old (Mean=7). Seventy percent of the respondents belong to the age range of 6-7 years old.

The early grades are the most crucial time for developing concepts and since the universal kindergarten was implemented only in 2011, for most Filipino children, Grade 1 is the start of formal schooling. According to Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development, children ages 2-7 belong to the preoperational stage and can already express themselves and describe the world through words and images.

Instrumentation

The following instruments were used to gather data for this study:

Initial interview was done to gather perspectives based on experiences. Each participant was interviewed using Interview Schedule. The interview schedule was validated by the panel of experts. The initial interview focused on the children's drawings based on the word "Filipino," on games Filipino children play, food Filipino children eat, clothes Filipino children wear, animals Filipino children know, famous Filipinos they know, things Filipino children use and activities Filipino children commonly engage in. The researcher wrote down the answers given by the respondents.

Picture books were used for story reading to gather perspectives based on ten selected picture books (See Appendix C). The criteria for choosing books were the presence of Filipino icons and indicators of pagka-Filipino in the text and illustrations and developmental appropriateness for the respondents. Alabado's three components of a good picture book were also considered. These are: substance in text, aesthetic interpretation thru illustrations, and harmonious book design. The ten picture books used were validated by a panel of experts. Five picture books were read to Grade 1 respondents. These are: Araw ng Palengke, Ang Mabait na Kalabaw, Ako si Kaliwa, Ako si Kanan, Haluhalo Espesyal, and Nang Magkakulay ang Nayon. Another five picture books were also read to Grade 2 respondents. These are: Ang Tikbalang Kung Kabilugan ng Buwan, How Long Till September?, Pilandok Sa Kaharian Sa Dagat, and Bru-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha… Bru-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi. The Filipino text of the picture books was read. The Filipino icons were based on NCCA's Essential Knowledge on Philippine Arts, Culture and Heritage for the Basic Education Curriculum or EKPACHBEC and 101 Filipino Icons Vol. I & II. The list of Filipino icons and indicators of pagka-Filipino were augmented by the researcher's and panelists' perspectives.

Interview based on picture books was done to gather perspectives based on selected picture books read to them. The interview focused on words and images from the books that depict pagka-Filipino. The interview questions were reviewed and revised based on the comments and suggestions of the panel of experts. The researcher filled out the form based on the answers given by the respondents.

Data Analysis

The instruments were pilot-tested to 10 Grade 1 and 2 students in a community similar to the research locale. Two sample picture books were used to find out if the children are able to understand the process and instruments to be used in the study. The instruments were revised further based on the results of the pilot test and consultation with the panel of experts.

To probe the children's perspectives of pagka-Filipino based on their experiences, all the responses of the children were documented. The responses to the interview were transcribed and data were coded. The data were analyzed qualitatively using frequency distribution. Qualitative analysis also involved coding the data using verbatim quotes from the respondents. The coded data were analyzed for repeated occurrences, co-occurrences, and patterns in their responses.

To determine the children's perspectives of pagka-Filipino based on the text and illustration in picture books, the children's responses to the interview after story reading were transcribed and the data were coded. The data were analyzed using frequency distribution and coding using verbatim quotes from the respondents. Recurring occurrences, co-occurrences, and patterns were searched from the data. The data were also analyzed based on the respondents' gender and grade level.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

This research probed the early graders' perspectives of Pagka-Filipino based on their experiences and interaction with picture books. It is a descriptive research which used interview as main tool for data gathering. Results were drawn from the responses of forty (40) Grade 1 and Grade 2 students residing and studying in Quezon City. All the participants belong to low-income families. The gathered data were analyzed and interpreted using frequency distribution and verbatim quotes from the respondents.

Several findings were derived on the early graders' perspectives of pagka-Filipino based on their experiences and selected Filipino picture books. The difference in perspectives on pagka-Filipino based on gender and grade level were also studied.

Summary of children's perspectives on pagka-Filipino based on their experiences

Based on the word "Filipino," the children drew the first thing that came to mind and majority of the drawings are watawat, bahay, and puno. The games that Filipino children play according to the respondents are taguan, habulan/tayaan, and piko. The food they eat are kanin, isda, and hotdog. The clothes they wear are sando, shorts, palda, and pantalon. Majority of the respondents indicated that aso, pusa, and tiger are Philippine animals. Dr. Jose Rizal, Marian Rivera, and Dingdong Dantes were recognized as famous Filipinos by the children. The common things Filipino children use are sabon, tabo, and shampoo. Filipino activities they often engage in are naglalaro, hugas pinggan, and magsulat/drawing. The children's responses were drawn from their socio-cultural experiences within their home, school, and community.

Majority of the respondents gave answers that are familiar to them and that they have direct experiences with. Their responses are common items they see and encounter almost every day such as bahay, puno, aso, and pusa. This concurs with Hedges' assertion (2012) that the most prominent concepts for children in the early grades are everyday concepts. According to Vygotsky, "Everyday concepts emerged from children's thinking about their daily experiences; that is, they occur spontaneously in the context of normal participation in family and community practices and activities" (Hedges, 2012, P.145)

As the children mention their experiences and relate it to their pagka-Filipino, they assimilate, they accommodate, and sometimes there is cognitive dissonance. For instance, when asked about the games Filipino children play, the respondents go through the process of assimilation, fitting the idea of Filipino games to their existing schema of games they play and they assimilate "I know that Filipino children play these games." The participants also underwent accommodation during the interview, particularly when asked for famous Filipinos they know. They accommodate the idea of famous to Filipinos they know and other Filipino children know. However, some of the children initial answers were their playmates while others mentioned foreign artists. When the question was repeated, the children reconsidered their answers and went though cognitive dissonance and mental discomfort. Some answered wala or none. Some modified their existing schemata and conceded that their playmates are not famous and Justin Bieber is not Filipino.

It is interesting to note that some answers given are indeed distinctively Filipino based on their socio-cultural experiences. For instance, they use tabo or water dipper because most ordinary Filipino households normally use this for sanitary purposes. Many do not have showers so they resort to pail of water and tabo. Many responded that they eat rice with bare hands because in many houses, it is the common practice or the Filipino way. They wear sando or sleeveless tops and shorts because of the humid Philippine weather. They can easily identify dogs and cats because in the Philippines, these animals freely roam the streets. They do chores at home such as washing the dishes because they value cleanliness. Moreover, Filipino children are expected to do their share of household chores.

On national symbols, some respondents were able to identify the Philippine flag and the National Anthem. However, only a few of them were able to state how the symbols relate to them. The following are the Filipino icons identified by the children based on their experiences: adobo, bangka, banig, barong, Dr. Jose Rizal, kanin, kalabaw, Lupang Hinirang, mangga, pandesal, Philippine games, simbahan, siningang, tabo, tuyo, walis and watawat.

Summary of children's perspectives on pagka-Filipino based on picture books

The children were asked for words and images that depict pagka-Filipino in the text and illustrations of picture books read to them. Ten picture books were used for this study, five for Grade 1 and five for Grade 2 participants.

The following are the responses from Grade 1 children based on selected picture books. In Araw ng Palengke, the respondents identified bayong, palayok, and palengke. Kalabaw, mangga, pato were recognized by the children in Ang Mabait na Kalabaw. The children pointed out tsinelas, aso, and saranggola in Ako si Kaliwa, Ako si Kanan. From the book Haluhalo Espesyal, the participants identified tsamporado, haluhalo and turon. Bahay kubo, naglilinis, niyog, tao, and bangko were recognized by the children in Nang Magkakulay ang Nayon.

The following are the responses from Grade 2 children based on selected picture books. In Ang Tikbalang Kung Kabilugan ng Buwan, the respondents identified tiyanak, nuno and kapre. The participants recognized kumakanta pambansang awit, parol, and watawat from the book How Long Till September. The children pointed out bangka, hipon and kanin in Pilandok Sa Kaharian Sa Dagat. From the book Alamat ng Palay, the participants identified palay, bahay kubo, and baboy damo. The participants recognized walis, biskwit and tumutulong in Bru-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha… Bru-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi.

Majority of the children were able to identify 58 out of 68 Filipino icons present in the books, showing they are aware of what makes the Philippines unique as a country. They also recognized the Philippine flag and the national anthem. This confirms Barrett and Oppenheimer's findings (2011) that most children already know some of the symbolic emblems of their own country by five to six years old and this knowledge continues to develop over subsequent years. It also agrees with Doronila's claim (1986) that essentialist aspects of national ideologizing such as national symbols are the initial point of identification.

Findings revealed that with the aid of picture books, children are able to name more Filipino icons. The images and words in the picture books activate the children's schemata. This agrees with Africa's findings (2005) that pictures and text in stories shape and expand the child's schema. Picture books are useful tools for children to assimilate new ideas and accommodate them with existing concepts.

The children rely more on the illustrations in understanding the story and in identifying distinctive Filipino features because early graders are visual learners. This concurs with the findings of Powers (2003) that children tend to read pictures than the text. It also confirms Arizpe and Styles' (2003) assertion that children refer to images in picture books to create their own meanings.

While in the initial interview they only have to draw from their prior knowledge, this time they were able to link the words and images from the picture books and relate this to their experience. Their interaction with the books served as stimuli that activated their existing schema. This leads to more detailed responses and more expressive participants. This confirms Lee and Tsai's findings (2004) that each person possesses a unique set of schema which is built from the individual's cognitive processes and experiences. Afterall, a picture book, as emphasized by Matulka (2008), is also considered as "an experience for a child."

Differences in the early graders' perspectives of pagka-Filipino based on grade level

On perspectives of pagka-Filipino based on experience, Grade 1 students are more responsive and provided more answers than Grade 2 pupils except for games that they play, famous Filipinos they know, and activities they engage in. On games that Filipino children play, Grade 2 responses were more varied due to their increased interactions with people. On famous Filipinos, eleven of the twelve children who mentioned Dr. Jose Rizal are Grade 2 students. This is because they have more opportunities to learn about our national hero. On activities they often engage in, Grade 2 responses are more diverse because as children grow older, they tend to engage in more activities. There is no major difference in the answers of Grade 1 and Grade 2 students on Filipino food, Filipino clothing, Philippine animals and things Filipinos use. The similarity in the responses between Grade 1 and Grade 2 respondents can be attributed to common experiences at home, in school, and in their community.

On perspectives of pagka-Filipino based on picture books, Grade 1 students gave more answers when asked for words and images that signify pagka-Filipino. Also, there are more Grade 1 pupils than Grade 2 pupils who were able to relate the text and illustrations that depict pagka-Filipino to their personal experience.

Both Grade 1 and Grade 2 children consistently pointed out more illustrations than text that depict pagka-Filipino. This shows that they rely more on images than on words in understanding the story and in identifying distinctive Filipino features because early graders are visual learners.

Differences in the early graders' perspectives of pagka-Filipino based on gender

Gender awareness and stereotyping is already present among the male and female respondents when it comes to games and clothing. For instance, only male participants named tumbang preso and only female respondents claimed they play lutuan and bahay-bahayan. On clothing, the children are already aware that boys wear pants and girls wear skirts and dresses. On a good note, male respondents do not seem to mind that they do household chores like washing the dishes, cleaning and cooking. This is because children in the Philippines are taught the value of industriousness and helpfulness at home and at an early age. For Filipino children, doing household chores is a natural thing to do and they do it because they want to help their parents.

Among the respondents, females generally identified more items depicting pagka-Filipino both in words and images in the picture books.

Formation of pagka-Filipino

For both Grade 1 and Grade 2, their perspectives of pagka-Filipino in this study are formed in three ways: (1) their experiences and prior knowledge influence their perspectives of pagka-Filipino, (2) their interactions with the text and images from picture books influence their perceptions of pagka-Filipino and (3) their experiences and prior knowledge validate what they perceive in the picture books and influence their perceptions of pagka-Filipino.

The early graders' sources of knowledge are personal or direct experiences, family, media, school, and books. This coincides with the findings of Yacat (2002) that the consciousness of being a Filipino starts through the observed external experiences of the people and is imbibed internally only through teachings and learning through own experience. Yacat also identified family, school, community, and mass media as important sources of knowledge in the process of being a Filipino. The findings also support Brown's (2000) assertion that for children, social institutions like family and school help in shaping their national identity.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS

The findings revealed that urban early graders belonging to families with low income have their own perspectives of pagka-Filipino based on their experiences at home, in school, from exposure to media, and through the picture books. From these perspectives, the following conclusions were drawn. The children consider individuals as Filipinos if they are born in the Philippines, their parents are Filipinos, if they live in the Philippines and if they speak Filipino. According to the respondents, the special qualities of the Filipino people are family-oriented, religious, helpful, industrious, and they value cleanliness. Some characteristic ways of Filipino life identified by the children include play as part of routine, going to mass every Sunday, children helping out in household chores, children seriously concerned with personal hygiene, rice as staple everyday food, and eating with bare hands instead of utensils. National symbols such as the Philippine flag and Lupang Hinirang were recognized by the children which show early graders' essentialist form of national identification. On the early graders' source of knowledge, family particularly the mother, play a crucial role in shaping the child's pagka-Filipino. Next to family comes personal or direct experiences, media, school, and books.

The study likewise probed their perspectives of pagka-Filipino based on the text and illustrations in the selected picture books.  Ten picture books were read to the children and an interview based on the picture books was done.  The results revealed that in identifying Filipino icons or indicators of pagka-Filipino, children draw from their schemata or prior knowledge. Picture books can enrich the children's body of knowledge by serving as stimuli that activate their existing schemata wherein they link the words and images from the picture books to their experience. The findings also show that because early graders are visual learners, they rely more on images than on words in understanding the story and in identifying distinctive Filipino features.

To determine the differences in children's perspectives based on gender and grade level, their responses in the interviews were compared. The findings revealed that there is a slight difference between male and female responses. Female respondents are more responsive so they were able to give more answers. Gender awareness and stereotyping is already present among the male and female respondents when it comes to Filipino games and clothing. In this study, Grade 1 respondents are more responsive so they were able to give more answers. Grade 2 children's schemata are more varied on games Filipino children play, famous Filipinos they know and activities they often engage in.

In general, the children's perspectives on pagka-Filipino which are essentialist in nature are in parallel to the K to 12 Philippine Basic Education Curriculum of the Department of Education and are reflective of our Filipino culture. However, pagka-Filipino should not be measured by simple identification and merely pointing out a Filipino icon or a national symbol. They should be able to relate these icons and symbols to themselves as Filipinos, to their family, to their community and to their country. They should be able to demonstrate genuine love of the Philippines and their fellow countrymen as the early grades. Therefore, there is a need to enhance the K to 12 Philippine Basic Education Curriculum and improve implementation so that national conciousness will go beyond the essentialist level and for pagka-Filipino to take root in every Filipino child. Moreover, the curriculum of the Teacher Education Institutions (TETs) particularly in the Teaching in the Early Grades, Early Childhood Education and other related programs should be refined to include nationalism so that our future educators can inculcate a deeper sense of national identity and love of country in Filipino early graders.

The study revealed that most of the early graders' schemata on pagka-Filipino come from the family and direct experiences within the home. Therefore there is a need to involve the family in national consciousness building and in instilling love of country. The K to 12 Philippine Basic Education Curriculum should be address this need and reach out to every Filipino family.

This study also presents a benchmark of what early graders at present know about being a Filipino. The Department of Education and National Commission for the Culture and the Arts can use this knowledge in developing a National Cultural Education Plan that will go beyond stereotypes and bring about appreciation of our culture, genuine love for our country and pride in being a Filipino.

Finally, in the 10 picture books used for this study, the respondents were able to identify or point out 58 out of 68 Filipino icons present in the books. This should encourage publishers, writers and illustrators to come up with more books with authentic depiction of pagka-Filipino written in the children's mother tongue and other regional languages. Since the children relied more on the images found in picture books in understanding the story and in identifying distinctive Filipino features, illustrators should be more conscious of their depiction of Filipino culture.

Writing Services

Essay Writing
Service

Find out how the very best essay writing service can help you accomplish more and achieve higher marks today.

Assignment Writing Service

From complicated assignments to tricky tasks, our experts can tackle virtually any question thrown at them.

Dissertation Writing Service

A dissertation (also known as a thesis or research project) is probably the most important piece of work for any student! From full dissertations to individual chapters, we’re on hand to support you.

Coursework Writing Service

Our expert qualified writers can help you get your coursework right first time, every time.

Dissertation Proposal Service

The first step to completing a dissertation is to create a proposal that talks about what you wish to do. Our experts can design suitable methodologies - perfect to help you get started with a dissertation.

Report Writing
Service

Reports for any audience. Perfectly structured, professionally written, and tailored to suit your exact requirements.

Essay Skeleton Answer Service

If you’re just looking for some help to get started on an essay, our outline service provides you with a perfect essay plan.

Marking & Proofreading Service

Not sure if your work is hitting the mark? Struggling to get feedback from your lecturer? Our premium marking service was created just for you - get the feedback you deserve now.

Exam Revision
Service

Exams can be one of the most stressful experiences you’ll ever have! Revision is key, and we’re here to help. With custom created revision notes and exam answers, you’ll never feel underprepared again.