Teaching Class, ROTC

Why is it that nobody has ever associated ROTC with scholarship, or knowledge resulting from study, or with a scholar, a learned person, or one who continues to learn? Because the military architects of ROTC, Americans of course, did not think outside the (military) box.

I took up my Basic ROTC in 1959 (1st year) at the Cow College (UP Los Baños) and finished without distinction – I wasn’t after one. I took up ROTC again (2nd year, Basic) because it was required; if I remember right, I topped the AGCT (Army General Classification Test) in the whole of the UP System, besting even the summa cum laude in my own class, Nori Ison. He was a genius in numbers; I was a genius in taking exams.

Indeed, I remember our instructors were actually upperclassmen none of whom we knew were bright in class. It takes one to know one. So how much respect did ROTC gain from us geniuses? Zero.

Why is the ROTC so unattractive, to put it mildly, to male college students? I took my ROTC more than 40 years ago, but it hasn’t changed much. The impression I had, and it’s true up to today, is that ROTC is all drill and nothing but drill, so help me God. You have lectures, but they give them only when it’s raining and you can’t possibly march to their different drum. From those lectures, you hardly learn anything. You can’t learn from a boring lecture, can you? The ROTC instructors, whoever they are, imitate the dullest lecturers in the UP System! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but flattery will get you nowhere.

If I were the ROTC Commandant, I would revamp the whole curriculum of the ROTC and get the best teachers I could get and pay them the salaries they deserve. The thing is if ROTC doesn’t care about the ROTC boys learning much, how can the boys love ROTC?

How do you make the ROTC attractive as an elective to male students? Make the teaching-learning process exciting. Make it an adventure. Use the theory & practice of multiple intelligences by Howard Gardner. Use Tony Buzan’s mind mapping technique for thinking. You can use my own nyet thinking (see my blog, http://nyetthinking.blogspot.com), essentially suspended judgment in something new, even logic-threatening. American psychologist David has his own theory & practice of learning that I find well-thought of, consisting of the steps of Experiencing, Reflecting, Theorizing and Testing – and back again.

Why not try the case method popularized by Harvard Business School? That would make each ROTC session something to look forward to, to learn from.

In any case, forget the centuries-old technique of dictation, which is misrepresented as lecturing. A good lecturer is interesting, because he uses figures of speech, examples from life. If you are not a good lecturer, you need to be taught!

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