Under the Penumbra of Error
Look at her, a victim of the gutters, / Condemned by every syllable she utters, / By right she should be taken out and hung, / For the cold-blooded murder of the
—“My Fair Lady” (Lerner/Loewe) sung by Rex Harrison
“Diversity: Celebrating Multiculturism Through World Literature” is the title of the “learner’s material” that was recently published by the Department of Education (DepEd) for the use of Grade 10 students studying in all public secondary schools in the Philippines.
The “Development Team” responsible for the sorry existence of this 508-page so-called instructional material includes two consultants, 10 authors, 10 reviewers, one language editor and an additional production team with four members.
For all that, this textbook has been rendered dark and dim by the presence of 1,300 errors, shadowed by a penumbra of infirmities, inconsistencies, deficiencies, defects and instances of plain stupidity.
Twenty years ago, I stumbled upon what would turn out to be my calling in life, after having been serendipitously introduced to the dark underworld of the defective textbook by way of a series of 12 grossly defective textbooks bearing the deceptive titles of “Effective Language Book” and “Effective Reading Book” (published by St. Bernadette Publications).
After reviewing “Diversity,” I feel I’ve come full circle. After 20 years, the already worse textbook situation simply got worst.
The 27 individuals who cobbled “Diversity” into the abomination that it is, all the public high school teachers who are now using it, and the entire DepEd bureaucracy—not one among them saw the glaring error in the very title of the book itself.
The word “multiculturism” does not exist! It should be “multiculturalism.” On the copyright page, these may be seen: “Only institutions which have entered an agreement with Filcols….” and “Those who have not entered in an agreement with Filcols….”
The writing, as Eliza Doolittle would’ve croaked, is abso-bloomin’-lutely loverly! Only a Cockney idiot will spell the word “lackluster” as “lakslustre.”
This book teaches that “An eulogy is a speech or wiring in praise not only about a person but also about things or animals especially one recently dead or retired or a form of endearment. An eulogy should include happier times with the deceased.”
We are also told that “The antecedent of a pronoun is a word that comes before a pronoun which the pronoun refers.”
I have reviewed all of the four public school English “learning materials” from Grade 7, 8, 9 and 10 and have found all of them to be sorely wanting in the quality of their content.
That a mere high school graduate sees what the entire DepEd cannot see—the error of their ways—should make you pause to think and shudder to your very soul.
What the students read in these books is transferred and imprinted onto their minds forever. It is exactly like the act of branding cattle: The pain, the scar and the mark of ownership and bondage stays there for life.
Wouldn’t it be loverly if the rain stays mainly in the plain and not in the textbooks that poor Filipino public school students are using?
Here are some of the 1,300 errors:
— Discrimination is the unequal treatment provided to one or more parties on the basis of a mutual accord or some other logical or illogical reason.
— The Filipino Spirit is Water Proof.
— Instant coffee is preferred to coffee that must be boiled yet.
— He is now Emeritus Professor at Oxford.
— Sigh: breathe long and loud
— Aesthetic: visual
— Catchy: one quality worth of attention
— Crutches: sticks
— Weaver: one who does knitting, merger, meander
— Palm: rave review
— He is fired at by hired assassions.
— Genetic engineering makes alternation of DNA possible and can make a plant breed more seeds. The downhill to all this will only be seen in the future.
— Autumn is described as in-between summer and winter.
— We used to sow, reap and thrash grain.
— Salmon, a lazy type of fish, like to stay where they are born.
— Beauty ensures permanent and remarkable success, Brawn ensures temporary success.
— Sisyphus was condemned to roll uphill forever.
— I am that is deeper than your name and form.
— How would the novel’s flavor be different if Pi’s sole surviving animal was the zebra or orange juice?
— Create something not so unique but remarkable.
— Where did it happed?
— Answer in 5 remarkable words.
— Medical advices like artificial limbs helped John to get around.
— What is the challenged pose by the editorial?
— You’re having a camping in a remote area.
— Realize the feminine side of nature.
— Life is a beautiful struggle. Future is something uncertain.
— Follow the following steps.
— Mankind plays tricks with nature.
— He instantly bowed himself.
— Monuments may be constructed or set aside to commemorate a person.
— This week’s learning encounter are designed to blend you with nature.
— The country is given the delicate chocolate hills in Bohol, the genius of the Banawe Rice Terraces.
— She was wearing her nude ballet shoes.
— He promised to the dying mother to find her daughter and take care of good her.
— Dimension: measure in one direction
— Diversity: state of having people who are different races.
— Find the shared benevolence in us all.
— The decision was emotionally thrusted upon me.
— Looks: have an appearance that befits or accords with
— People ignore safety rules because it will ruin their fun.
— Saving people could be in any form possible.
— Point out 5 utterances of Perseus that strike you the most.
— She was pale from much working.
— Look these ideas over before you plunge into it.
— Stand up your ground for your beliefs.
— Which of the characters you learn the most valuable lesson?
— Which passages show that they hold people’s heritage or bedrock of enduring virtues like the propaganda?
— Women are always pictured as doing household chores.
— Petrarch loved his forever muse Laura. To what did Petrarch compare Laura with?
— Ibong Adarna is a big part of the Philippine literature. The story centers about catching the mythical bird.
— The characters face problems when others strive against them.
— In your interaction with others, you affirm or negate to ideas expressed for a certain motion.
— Differences in individuality are something to celebrate.
— Think of issues a person your age might want to speak out about.
— What adjective could best relate a mother to nature?
(Editor’s Note: The writer is academic supervisor of Marian School of Quezon City.)