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CHALLENGES AND PRACTICES ON THE IMPLEMENTATION

OF SPIRAL PROGRESSION IN SCIENCE

Introduction
The K to 12 Basic Education Program is a major education reform implemented in 2012

in the Philippines. It serves as a response to the urgent need to improve the quality of Philippine

basic education. The K-12 program aims at decongesting and enhancing the basic education

curriculum for learners to master basic competencies, lengthening the cycle of basic education to

cover kindergarten through year 12 (SEAMEO INNOTECH, 2012: 1)


K-12 stands for universal kindergarten, six (6) years of elementary and six (6) years of

secondary education. all of which are compulsory. Prior to the implementation of K-12

program in 2012, basic education in the Philippines only had four (4) years of secondary

education.
On top of the lengthening of the basic education cycle, the curricula of the subjects in this

new program differ from those of the old one. As a whole, the Philippine K to 12 science

curriculum is learner-centered and inquiry-based, emphasizing the use of evidence in

constructing explanations. Unlike in the old curriculum where learning tended to be more

focused on fragmented and disintegrated content, K to 12 curriculum fosters the development of

critical thinking, creative thinking, problem solving, team-work and informational literacy .

The K-12 curriculum follows the spiral approach. According to Martin (2008), spiral

curriculum is a design framework which will help science teachers construct lessons, activities or

projects that target the development of thinking skills and dispositions which do not stop at

identification. It involves progression and continuity in learning science. Progression describes

pupils personal journeys through education and ways, in which they acquire, apply and develop

their skills, knowledge and understanding in increasingly challenging situations. Continuity is

concerned with ways in which the education system structures experience and provides sufficient
challenge and progress for learners in a recognizable curricular landscape. Therefore, spiral

progression approach is an approach or a way on how to implement the spiral curriculum.

After the mastery of the initial topic, the student spirals upwards as the new knowledge

is introduced in the next lesson, enabling him/her to reinforce what is already learned. In the end,

a rich breadth and depth of knowledge is achieved. With this procedure, the previously learned

concept is reviewed hence improving its retention. And also the topic may be progressively

elaborated when it is reintroduced leading to a broadened understanding and transfer (Mantiza,

2013).
The idea in spiral progression approach is to expose the learners into a wide variety of

concepts/topics and disciplines, until they mastered it by studying it over and over again but with

different deepening of complexity. In relation to secondary Science curriculum, Sanchez (2014)

explained that, science is composed of four areas, namely Integrated Science, Biology,

Chemistry and Physics. In old curriculum, Integrated Science was taught in first year, second

year was Biology, third year was Chemistry and Fourth year was Physics. However, in new

secondary science curriculum implemented last 2012, the concept of those four major areas are

being taught all at the same time. Each year students are exposed to spiral progression approach,

wherein the four areas are being taught per grading period. Aside from that, integrated science

was changed into Earth Science.


Science education and scientific literacy are essential to the success of the nation. A

scientifically literate nation can help assure a free and democratic society, an economically

viable society, and a healthy society. Many problems in life involve scientific explanations and

processes. For this reason, an understanding of science and scientific approach is essential in

making intelligent decisions (Realuyo, 2006). Science subject diverge into separate disciplines
in secondary education. This necessitates teachers with knowledge in all these areas at a

sufficient level.

Background of the Study


The K to 12, on top of its rationale for implementation, aims to help graduates acquire

mastery of basic competencies and be globally competitive. Undeniably, the science curriculum

has a big role to play in achieving these aims. Science education aims to develop scientific

literacy among students that will prepare them to be informed and participative citizens who are

able to make judgments that may have social, health, or environmental impact. By scientific

literacy we refer to (a) scientific knowledge and use of that knowledge to identify questions,

acquire new knowledge, explain scientific phenomena and draw evidence-based conclusions

about science-related issues; (b) understanding of the characteristic features of science as a form

of human knowledge and inquiry; (c) awareness of how science and technology shape our

material, intellectual and cultural environments; and, (d) willingness to engage in science-related

issues, and with the ideas of science, as a reflective citizen. Whether or not students pursue

careers that involve science and technology, the science curriculum will provide students with a

repertoire of competencies important in the world of work and in a knowledge-based society. In

this vein, the effectiveness of the science curriculum relies on the teachers knowledge about the

curriculum, his/her teaching strategies and mastery of the subject matter (Duze, 2012).
The following are advantages and disadvantages of spiral progression approach as cited

by Snider (2004). According to him, spiral progression approach avoids disjunctions between

stages of schooling, it allows learners to learn topics and skills appropriate to their

developmental/cognitive stages, and it strengthens retention & mastery of topics & skills as they

are revisited & consolidated. But, the problem with the spiral design is that the rate for

introducing new concepts is often either too fast or too slow. All concepts are allotted the same
amount of time whether they are easy or difficult to master. Units are approximately the same

length, and each topic within a unit is 1 days lesson. And some days there will not be enough

time to introduce. The fact that an entire class period must be devoted to a single concept makes

it difficult to sequence instruction to ensure that students acquire necessary pre-skills before

introducing a difficult skill.


In a spiral curriculum, many topics are covered but only briefly. On the average, teachers

devote less than 30 min of instructional time across an entire year to 70% of the topics they cover

the result of teaching for exposure is that many students fail to master important concepts.

Another disadvantage of the spiral design is that it does not promote sufficient review once units

are completed. There may be some review of previously introduced topics within the chapter, but

once students move on to the next chapter previous concepts may not be seen again until they are

covered the following year.

The spiral progression approach is said to be a child-centered approach. According to

Angeles (2013), the new curriculum is composed of set of activities like, collaborative learning,

peer tutoring, outcome-based performance or performance task. In which the students are expose

to socializing, sharing thoughts and ideas or brainstorming, communicating, expressing their

multiple intelligences, abilities and skills.

Spiral progression approach uses authentic assessment instead of traditional classroom

assessment. Authentic assessment means that the task you ask the students to perform is similar

to a task they might have in the real world. Examples of Authentic assessments are, Project

Based Learning, Performance Task, Portfolio, Collaborative works, and Online Examinations.

Authentic Assessments measures and evaluate how the learners apply what they learned by doing

real-life learning activities. In relation to Science spiral progression approach, authentic

assessment are commonly used through laboratory experiments, however it is much more focus
to a certain area compared to the traditional curriculum approach. Add to this the fact that the job

of a science teacher is a tough one. Not only do they have to teach scientific knowledge, develop

the skills of science and foster scientific attitudes, they also have to convey messages about the

nature of science and the work of scientists.


This study focuses on the teaching of science subject using spiral progression approach in

Baguio City. Review of related literature yields theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of

spiral progression but few empirical studies are made in the area of science. Study on this topic

in Baguio City is in scarcity, if not existent, because this approach was just fully implemented in

2012. It aims to determine the challenges and practices on the implementation of spiral

progression in Science in public secondary schools in Baguio City.


The curriculum is a dynamic process. Development means changes which are systematic.

A change for the better means any adjustment, revision or improvement of existing condition. To

produce positive changes, development should be purposeful, planned and progressive. It will

take years to evaluate if the curriculum is effective and attuned to the needs of the learners and

the society. One cannot really say that the spiral progression approach in teaching science is

really effective. Evaluation of this approach is a must to determine, if like in other countries, in

which this approach was abolished from their educational system after a certain period of time.

Theoretical Framework
The teaching and the learning of science has a fundamental foundation based on the work

of many researchers whose objective was to understand how children learn and how can teachers

teach effectively so that children can be effective learners. The main philosophies behind Spiral

progression approach are Constructivism, Progressivism and Behaviorism. Jerome Bruner was

the main proponent of spiral curriculum and was also the proponent of constructivism (Haeusler,

2013.) A major theme in the theory of Bruner is that learning is an active and dynamic process in
which learners construct new ideas or concepts new ideas or concepts based upon their

current/past knowledge. Bruner looked at how concepts are presented to the students in order
to motivate students to pursue science instruction beyond the standard requirements in school.

Bruner identified how properly organized knowledge plays a key role in the motivation of

students to understand and pursue further learning of science.

Bruner is the promoter of the spiral curriculum. His research in public school education

examined the nature of learning, knowledge, and instruction. Bruners assessments identified a

number of fundamentals of instruction that should motivate the learner. One of the fundamentals

identified was that the focus should be on the students understanding of the fundamental

concepts, instead of just learning skills or facts. In spiral curriculum, attention to the connections

among concepts and the use of the instructional method of inquiry could help motivate students

in science.
On the other hand, acknowledged as the developer of the spiral curriculum is Hilda Taba,
a nationally recognized authority on curriculum development and design. Taba influenced the

design of the spiral curriculum in her book Curriculum Development: Theory and Practice. Taba

set the foundation of the hierarchy for instruction based on multiple intelligence and knowledge

facts which were created to help show how these similar concepts are scaffold to produce higher

order thinking. The characteristics of Tabas curricula were inductive teaching strategies that

fostered critical thinking skills, multiple objectives, organizing information such as content

sampling, the sequencing of learning activities, and the use of inductive teaching strategies.
Hilda Tabas spiral curriculum is two-pronged with a horizontal integration of learning

and vertical integration of learning. Tabas spiral curriculum is organized around concepts, skills,

or values, with these factors as the underpinning of the horizontal integration of learning. An

example of the horizontal integration of learning is a concept of physics: in elementary school,


children could study and understand gravity and its impact on their everyday lives; while at the

same time, gravity could be studied by elementary students in reading.


The domain of curriculum development will forever be impacted by the work of Hilda

Taba. Tabas spiral curriculum use of repetition for key concepts and skills throughout the

academic year is important to the educational academy. Both the cognitive and the affective

domains are impacted by her inductive instructional strategies, which help to enable students to

learn concepts, identify values, and analyze value conflicts and ultimately apply generalizations.

Tabas organization activities around concepts and ideas and the sequencing of learning activities

require the integration of students previous knowledge. Taba still influenced many in the

educational and scientific academies and helped to reform the curricula of the 1960s and 1970s

as well as still impacts curricula today (Parry, 2010).


In view of the aforecited data, the K to 12 curriculum has its focus on understanding for

mastery and it ensures smooth transition between grade levels and continuum of competencies

through spiral progression (SEAMEO INNOTECH, 2012: 4). In the old curriculum, students

were expected to learn so much knowledge, skills, and values within a limited period of time.

Learning tended to be more focused on content, which was fragmented and disintegrated (p. 4).

The K to 12 Education Program aims at addressing these shortcomings. The K to 12 curriculum

is decongested, seamless, relevant and responsive, enriched, and learner-centered (p. 3-4).
In conclusion, the spiral approach by John Bruner and Hilda Taba can contribute to the

achievement of this aim. Integrated and seamless learning, as one of the salient features of the K

to 12 Education Program, is indeed not impossible because the new curricula of the subjects

follow a spiral progression where learning of skills, values, knowledge and attitudes increase in

both breadth and depth.

Statement of the Problem


This study aims to determine the challenges and practices on the implementation of spiral

progression in Science in selected public secondary schools in Baguio City.


Specifically, the study aims to answer the following questions:
1. What is the profile of the teachers in terms of their Science specialization?
2. What common strategies do public secondary schools use in the spiral progression

approach?
3. What do the teachers perceive as advantages of spiral progression in teaching Science in

public secondary schools?


4. What do the teachers perceive as disadvantages of spiral progression in teaching Science

in public secondary schools?


5. What is the level of effectiveness of spiral progression in terms of teaching
5.1 Earth Science
5.2 Biology
5.3 Chemistry
5.4 Physics?
6. What are the problems encountered by the teachers in the implementation of spiral

approach in teaching Science in terms of.


a. relevant trainings attended,
b. adequacy of instructional materials/facilities/equipment , and
c. instructional support mechanism ?

Research Methodology
The quantitative-qualitative or mixed-method design shall be utilized in this study. It

shall be conducted in ______ ( ) selected public secondary schools in Baguio City. The data

gathered shall be processed, analyzed and interpreted using the following statistical tools:

frequency, percentage, means, and Chi- Square. A validated, researcher-made, Likert scale type

of questionnaire shall be used. On the qualitative part of the study, the participants shall be made

to to answer by writing the three open-ended questions asked by the researcher.