El Fili Chapter 13: Physics Class

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What can we say about Padre Millon? Take note of the following characteristics…

  • Finished Philosophy and Theology, dabbles in metaphysics (theory), teaches Chemistry and Physics.
  • Haphazardly skims through books on Chemistry and Physics. He does not believe in the things he reads about science, and handles the course as if it were about Philosophy.
  • He is contemptuous of both subject matter and students.
  • He asks questions but does not like to be asked. He takes pleasure in the failings of his students, and gets peeved when they are able to answer correctly.
  • He forces students to blindly memorize lessons which he does not even explain well.
  • He curses at students.
  • He probably reminds us of one or more teachers we’ve encountered in the past. Looks like there really is such a thing as reincarnation, eh?

Why does Padre Millon use broken Spanish in class? That’s his way of disrespecting his students whom he considers ignorant.

How can one tell that the students won’t learn much just by looking at the Physics classroom? There are no pictures, equipment or lecture notes on the blackboard. The few equipment available are locked up, never to be handled. The only thing written on the board is “VIVA”(written on the first day of school and has not been erased nor written over since). Please note that it is now January. And finally, the teaching method is purely lecture, which is suited to a class in Philosophy, not Physics.

What can we say about the points Rizal raised regarding “teaching”? Rizal’s principles of teaching still apply today:

  • Class sizes should be small.
  • Teachers should not humiliate students.
  • A teacher should be technically competent about the subject matter being taught, and he/she should teach with love.
  • Too many vacation breaks can ruin the momentum of a student, and can make them seek non-academic forms of recreation.
  • No one should watch Cartoon Network, Myx, MTV, Darna or Pinoy Big Brother. (Just kidding!)

What can we say about Placido, based on his behavior in this chapter? He is like a typical Filipino — a pacifist who prefers to suffer in silence. Will sacrifice and keep quiet just to avoid trouble, but when pushed too far, is capable of getting openly angry and taking action.

For now, let’s move on over to the students’ lodging house…

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