May 23, 2024 (10:40 AM)

4 min read


Graphics by Earl Geibriel Dicipulo

Students described ‘unfair’ learning experiences in the Philosophy 1000 course, as it is only required for non-AdDU Senior High graduates, which is then set to become mandatory for all enrollees in the upcoming academic year 2024 – 2025.

Students from different Senior High institutions pointed out their difficulties when taking PHILO 1000, particularly questioning how AdDU Senior High graduates are not required to take the course with them, which they believe contributes to the perceived disparities in course experience.

A student from BS Computer Science (CS) shared a personal sentiment, revealing that they initially aimed for an “A” upon entering the course, but the demanding nature of PHILO 1000 led them to adjust their expectations to merely aiming for the minimum passing grade. 

“It [system for PHILO 1000] creates a barrier by significantly widening the learning gap between the AdDU SHS and Non-AdDU SHS graduates with the former [AdDU SHS graduates] having a higher advantage, and the latter [non-AdDU SHS graduates] having to endure college-level philosophy,” they told Atenews.

Based on the student interviewees, those who attended Ateneo’s Senior High School program often expressed that they faced fewer struggles with Philosophy than college-level Philo takers, leaving non-Ateneo SHS graduates frustrated and questioning the adequacy of their high school Philosophy education.

“Isn’t the Philosophy course we took in our respective SHS enough?” the CS student said. 

For the Philosophy Department Chair, Dr. Vida Mia Valverde, teachers focus primarily on identifying which philosopher or school of thought corresponds to particular philosophical concepts rather than emphasizing the intended approach to teaching Philosophy.

“Many students assume that Philo 1000 is only a content-knowledge acquisition course, that is, a course about consumption and regurgitation of philosophical ideas. This assumption is often the result of their experience of how Philosophy was taught in their Senior High Schools,” Dr. Vida stated. 

However, the CS student stated feelings of isolation due to the self-paced nature of the course, much more added when they took it during the pandemic.  

Another student pointed out that the frustrating part of answering the courseware was the 12-hour cooldown for incorrect responses, which Dr. Valverde refuted.

“There’s a grading para hindi kayo mag-guessing game because you have unlimited attempts, right? So if you think and we think, we become more careful and thoughtful. Hindi tayo tira lang ng tira—we want to avoid that. We want you to really think,” she said.

The privilege of collegiate Philosophy exemption for AdDU Senior High graduates will only be granted until this academic year, as all incoming students will take the Philo 1000 course renamed GE 1102: Introduction to Philosophical Methods, an interdisciplinary approach, starting AY 2024-2025. 

Learning outcomes will still be measured through non-graded and graded formative assessments and a graded summative assessment; however, the course will be required for everyone starting the next academic year as resolved by the Philosophy department to address disparities in learning experiences and to foster a more equitable and supportive academic environment for all.

In AdDU, the General Elective courses are multidisciplinary—each content is thought of in a scientific-mathematical way, a philosophical way, and a theological way. As Valverde mentioned, Philosophy, which focuses on virtue and methods, trains students to think philosophically and approach GE courses holistically.

“A look at the course syllabus/FIDP (Flexible Instruction Delivery Plan), Philo 1000 aims to develop in students the skill of philosophical thinking, the skill of mentally seeing the whole truth,” she said.

Another student claimed that taking the course would benefit all Ateneo students since “philosophical thinking” applies to all courses and life.

“I think it would benefit both students and teachers even more if the coursework [were] made more accessible and manageable for the students. Specifically, the course structure, grading criteria, and instructional methods could foster a more inclusive and supportive learning environment,” the student from Computer Science claimed. 

The said philosophical thinking is developed by distinguishing between philosophical and non-philosophical questions, asking philosophical questions, distinguishing primary from secondary reflection answers to philosophical questions, answering philosophical questions with primary and secondary reflection answers, and putting all these together creatively.

This article was published in the April 2024 Tabloid Issue of Atenews. Read it here:

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