Monday, 2 October 2017

What Filipino Teachers Need - Part 1

by  Marily Sasota Gayeta

At about sunset, they start coming out of their enclaves. They walk with heavy steps, sometimes dragging their feet. Their faces look blank or disoriented. They are pale and trembling. They look at you with blood shot eyes. No, they are not zombies from “The Walking Dead”. They are teachers. Exhausted, sleep-deprived teachers.

Pardon the hyperbolic comparison. But what I’m about to discuss is not exaggerated. 

Filipino teachers are just exhausted on all fronts: physically ,emotionally  and  mentally. A day on the job is a test of endurance, self-control  and mental toughness. 

A typical teacher, whether in the government or private sector,renders six hours of actual teaching, and two hours of paper work.

What happens during those six teaching  hours ? In those six hours ,teachers   have to rein in   35 to 50 students ( or more ) who are bursting  with juvenile and impish energy. If a boy pokes another boy in the eye with a pencil, the poor teacher may  get sued by parents.Thus, teachers have to be on the lookout all the time.  Then, they teach. They teach pupils how to read . They help students interpret Shakespeare’s sonnets. They teach them  mathematical operations and scientific theories . They demonstrate how to create an art project, how to sing and how to kick a soccer ball.

In those six hours, teachers  do grueling, back-breaking work.  They  always move around: from the blackboard, to the students’ seats, to all sides of their  rooms. They wipe snotty noses of Grade 1 pupils.  They monitor   what students  are doing. Are the kids copying the right thing ? Are they solving the math problem correctly? Are they mixing the right chemicals, or are they inadvertently creating a bomb? Because of this constant shuffling, pacing and sprinting, teachers’ backs, legs and feet hurt all the time. And of course, they  use their voice a lot. They explain something. Then, they explain it  again. And again .  Until the students get it.  Then, they call out  kids who are playing hide and seek in the classroom.Or  they warn sneaky, rebellious  teens who are flirting on  their phones . Yes, teachers talk all the time. Thus, their  poor throats take a beating.

In those six hours, it’s heaven and hell. They are ecstatic  when students finally get the answer. They are calm  and happy when pupils pay attention and behave like angels. But then, there’s the other end  of the pendulum. There’s anger, hopelessness and frustration. They have to exercise utmost self- control in dealing with unruly kids. Teachers have to have endless patience in teaching and re-teaching lessons  to academically-challenged students. They have to try hard to motivate students who show too little interest in school. 

In those six hours, a teacher is an expert, a parent , a preacher , a police officer , an entertainer, a handyman , a nurse ,a referee ,  a baby sitter. All of those people, in one body.

Aside from those  six hours of actual teaching, Filipino teachers are  expected  to render another two hours  for paper work, class preparation  and school-related activities. Reading up the chapters to be discussed the next day , writing  lesson plans and  making instructional  materials, checking exams and projects, making props  for a school program , practicing students   for a song or a dance number , training students  for competitions ,  decorating classrooms and  entering data on the Learner Information System ( LIS )or other systems being used in the private sector. 

 Wait, there’s more :  planting tomatoes and okra under that “ Gulayan sa Paaralan” thing ( with the help of a few parents ) , doing action research , preparing students’ lists for  government-sponsored  vaccination, sending letters to parents ,  running errands for the principal, answering complaints from annoying,grade-conscious parents .The list is endless. 

Where in God’s hand will teachers get the time and energy to do  all of these things in the school?  Thus, in those two hours , teachers only  do the tasks that inevitably  need to be done in school or those  that require the presence of other people—-like classroom beautification and  training students for a press conference.  The other tasks —— they do at  home, at night or weekends . Thus, their job does not end in school. It never does. 

That eight-hour  day  as a teacher is  exhausting, stressful and nerve-wracking. 

At about 5:00 PM,  teachers leave  school. They take on another persona. Mother or father to a bunch of kids,   a caregiver to an aging parent, a community leader or a part-time entrepreneur trying to make both ends meet.   The other part of their life begins. Let’s take a look at the  mother persona, which is the most common. She   takes a quick trip   to the grocery or talipapa , and then  cooks dinner. This is followed by a string of other house chores like tidying up the house a bit, and doing some laundry. Housework, just to remind everyone, is tiring and time-consuming . In between housework,  the kids have to be helped with their assignments  and school projects.

A teacher’s  night does not end  when the kids are tucked in bed.  Remember— there’s the  school work that she had to take home. She  has to prepare  for her lessons for the next day. If she is lucky , she prepares for just one or two  subjects . If she is not , three or more ( especially if she has MAPE ).She has to make additional practice activities and put them on Power point slides. And because her school most likely does not have  internet connection, she does the LIS transactions at home. And if her home internet  is slow ( and it is slow in the whole Philippines ) , she has to wait for the unholy hours for it to speed up. Only then can she  do her transactions on the system. 

At midnight or 1:00 AM, she goes to bed. Worn out.Drained to the last drop. 

After five hours of sleep, her alarm clock rouses her again from her inadequate slumber . Groggy , she cooks breakfast , bathes the kids , gets them dressed  for school  and  packs their “ baons”. Then off she hurries to work again. 

On Friday nights , she frantically prepares her report  for her MA or Ph.D. class. Her sleep is reduced to  a wink or two. On Saturdays, she attends her graduate or post-graduate classes, and that’s after a coastal clean-up or a required  marathon.  And finally, on Sundays ,yes—- she is free …to  clean the house. 

Filipino teachers need rest and sleep.It’s basic but often over-looked. It sounds so simplistic, but it’s actually complicated. Most  medical doctors would agree . 
Physical exhaustion  and  sleep deprivation are a dangerous combination. They  wreak  havoc on  the body and mind , as medical research have proven. People who are constantly deprived of rest and sleep have a  weaker  immune system and are susceptible to different illnesses like cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases.

 The American Sleep Association or ASA  ( Yes, sleep is so important that there is even a medical  association  for it . ) says  that sleep deprivation disrupts the body’s ability to regulate glucose.This makes the person likely to develop Type 2 diabetes .  Lack of sleep also takes its toll on mental health. Sleep has been identified as a key factor  in  happiness and those who are constantly deprived of it are more likely to commit suicide, even if they don't have any previous psychiatric issues. 
As the European newspaper The Mirror  aptly put it : Lack of sleep leads to a wake.

Studies  also  reveal  that exhaustion  leads to a low level of serotonin , and this causes depression , anxiety and insomnia. Teaching  is a combination of physical and mental exertion.  Prolonged exertion without much-needed respite leads to frequent bouts of sickness, decreased  cognitive functioning , emotional outbursts and reduced motivation —-all of which are detrimental to their students. 

DEP-ED and CHED officials , and school administrators ( in  both the public and private sectors)  are constantly finding ways to improve classroom teaching through training  and facilities upgrade.  But the harsh truth is this.  No amount of seminar and training, and  modern  teaching equipment  can improve the performance of over-worked  and sleep -deprived teachers. Rest and sleep  are fundamental biological needs, and teachers  need them to deliver the goods. They may listen or pretend to listen during a seminar on “ 21st century teaching “, but that will not translate to improved classroom performance if they are  too burned out , too tired , too sleepy or too sick. It won’t sink in. On the other hand , the benefits  of computers and smart boards are offset by a lack of initiative to find ways to maximize their use.


Teachers  need rest. They  need eight to ten hours of sleep per day on those ten months that they are teaching. You can not just postpone rest and sleep for summer—-because the mental and physical energy is needed the very next day.  Teachers  need time to  breathe, heal  and recover from the daily challenges of their work. They need peace and quiet . 

Teachers need time to reconnect with their families. They need more time to play with their own  children who feel neglected. They need more  romantic moments with their partners. They need more time  to care for senile parents or young grandchildren. Being able to spend time with loved ones is essential for well-being and happiness.

The benefits of personal happiness go beyond the home. That happiness  translates into more positive attitude in the workplace. Happy  and well-rested teachers will find the motivation and energy  to improve themselves. Healthy teachers   are more likely to pursue  and benefit from professional development activities.

DEP-ED and CHED officials, school administrators —-all these decision makers—- should find a way to streamline work-related requirements. They should list down all the things they ask teachers to do. They should go over each item and ask themselves a few questions.  Which of these are indispensable , and which are not ? Which of these forms are redundant? Which reports can be consolidated ? Which school programs can be fused to lessen hours spent on theatrical  rehearsals ? If something is not absolutely necessary, that should be crossed out of the list.That would save both teachers and students a lot of time and energy, and money too.

Teachers who say “ no” to extra work should not be penalized, nor should they be  ostracized and made to feel guilty. 

And is it possible to reduce maximum teaching hours to four , instead of six ? That way, teachers will have sufficient time to prepare for their lessons. Teachers in Finland render only four teaching hours a day , and their students study less hours compared to their counterparts in other wealthy countries. Yet, Finland consistently clinches  top spots in national education rankings.Finland has proven that “ less is more ”. 

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, more and more work is being shoved  into the teachers’ throats. Most  teachers don’t complain. They are told — and they believe — that everything is a part of the job they swore to do to the best of their abilities. What are they called “ heroes” for anyway? 

Yes, teachers are heroes. But unlike your Marvel heroes, teachers are not unbreakable  and invincible. They need to be saved too. 

P.S. To the teachers whose pictures appear here, I found them on Google. Sorry , I could not  find a way to  contact you for your permission. 



Thursday, 9 February 2017

To The Girl Who Never Got A Love Letter

by Marily S. Gayeta 

You look at yourself in the mirror and start searching for answers. And you see them staring back at you . You’re not pretty enough. Your face has no symmetry .Your eyes don’t sparkle .Your smile is dull .  You look so  plain and  boring . Or maybe , just maybe , you're downright ugly.

Other girls in school get chocolates and  cute teddy bears from blushing  boys.  But not you .Other girls open their bags , and giggle at the  scented love notes , secretly slipped in  by a young lad . But not you . All you  have in your bag is a faded copy of an old fairy tale , where a damsel in distress is rescued by a knight in shining armor.

A delivery boy  sometimes comes to the  office with a bouquet  of flowers , but it’s never for you. It’s for the girl in the other cubicle. You join the others in the teasing and light-hearted fun  for that lucky  girl .You  cheerfully compliment the roses , but deep inside , you’ve got a question : “ When will I  ever get mine ?

You pass by guys on the streets , in the halls , or  between tables at Starbucks. They never notice you. Their eyes flit  away  from you instantly .  They turn to their  phones right away,or get smitten by that sexy girl at the next table. They never see you.   You are invisible to them. You don’t have what it takes to be “ that ” girl .    The looks ,  the charm , the appeal. You have none of those.
It hurts sometimes , doesn’t it ? To be a  girl, to be a woman , and to be  invisible to the opposite sex . You don’t  really thirst for attention , but for sure , an occasional  admiring  look from a guy would somehow bolster your feminine  ego. Who wouldn’t feel good  with  that ?

Other girls were given the beauty that society admires. Others , like you , are lacking in it . Other girls  have the appeal that captures guys’ attention right away . But not you . They never bother to  give you a second  look.

 Life is not  fair. It  never was . It never will  be.  Accept this fact  with a bold ,open heart . Then ,  get on with your life.

 Stop crying at night because nobody has written a love letter for you . Stop sulking in a corner because every girl in the gang has a boyfriend  ,while  you’re sitting alone on the bench. Stop pitying yourself because you don’t have a date on Valentine’s day .   For God’s sake , girl , stop it .

But don’t give up just yet. Try to doll up , but don’t overdo it . Find out which fashion style suits you. Develop your inner beauty. Be kind. Do good things --- not for a show ---but because you mean it.  Cultivate your talents. Learn how to  play a musical instrument . The guitar or keyboard perhaps ? That talent would be handy in a company party .  Enrich your mind. Read  good books. Be aware of the world. This will prepare you for great conversations. Socialize, but don’t act like a slut. Act confidently despite your physical flaws.

And maybe , he will notice you among the vast crowd.

There are a lot of men who fall in love with character , talents and brains. And these are the men who keep lasting   and profound relationships. He will fall in love with you --- not instantly --- but gradually . Your knight  will  find you. Maybe not in  chance encounters  in exotic places  ,  but in little familiar corners  where time is essential  for  building intimacy .

When that time comes , he will fall in love with you in a special way. No . Not like the New Year’s Eve fireworks that explode and dazzle the senses , and then vanish  in thin air. His love will begin from a small  spark . A very small spark that grows very slowly , until it becomes a fire that  engulfs his whole heart and his whole being . His love  will be like  a  steady flame that burns  for all eternity .

Wow . That sounds so romantic .

But what if your knight does not come ?

So what , girl , so what. Nothing of what you did was in vain. The new clothes  and perfume that you bought. The song that you learned how to play. The office mate that you helped. The news that you read . All of these things made  you a happier and a better person. Never regret them just because you failed to catch a man. 

Your happiness  should not depend on whether or not there’s a guy  who  loves you . Don’t give a shit about  what society says you must feel if you don’t have a man in your life. You  can be happy  even if no one holds your hand in the park.  You can be  whole even if no one kisses  you at  night and says  “ Good night , babe .I love you .” .A human being  doesn’t always need a romantic partner to feel fulfilled .  Focus on the blessings of being single . The time . The chances . The independence. Family and friends . The full range of choices you have in your life . Freedom can be as satisfying as romantic love.

If your knight comes, well and good.

If he doesn’t, it’s okay .

You will be fine, girl . You are complete just as you  are .


Friday, 2 September 2016

Condemn all or none at all

I condemn terrorist acts .

I condemn violence committed in the name of a belief .

I condemn rape and murder committed by drug addicts , alcoholics  and other criminals .

I condemn violence committed by ordinary      people against  strangers  or against their own families .

I condemn  any harm  inflicted on    members of the  police and military  who are serving this country  with their blood.


I also condemn  extrajudicial killing.

I condemn death without  due process.

I condemn police brutality .

Violence is violence regardless of who committed it .

Unjustified killing is evil whichever  name you call it .

I can not condemn one form  of violence and applaud another . 


Saturday, 7 May 2016

The Doll Experiment : How Dark-Skinned Children Feel About Themselves



        In 1939 , Kenneth B. Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark , a husband-wife team , both African-American psychologists , investigated the effects of segregation on black American children. In their experiment , they showed   two  dolls to 253  black kids , whose age ranged from three to seven. The dolls looked almost exactly alike --- the same size , the same hairstyle , the same shape of eyes , etc. ---except  for the color . One  was black , one was white .  The children were asked  different questions . For questions like  “ Which doll looks nice ? “ and “ Which doll would  you  like to play with ?” , almost all  children chose the white doll. One child justified his choice with “ Because the white doll is clean.”  When they were asked questions like ,” Which doll looks  bad ? ” or “ Which doll is not nice? ” , majority chose the black doll.

                The final question was : “ Which doll looks like you ? ”. Many of the children became emotional as they pointed to the black doll.  Immature as they were , they realized that they rejected the doll that looked like them , and that they were , in fact , rejecting themselves. One boy said “ I am actually white , but I got a suntan last summer .”  Crying so hard , two of the children ran out of the experiment room.

                The experiment was done at a time when African Americans  were  denied  so many rights  and were struggling for  equal treatment . The Clarks concluded that the responses were a clear sign of self-rejection and a feeling of inferiority brought about by  the political  and social environment. The effects , based on their expert opinion ,  may even be irreversible . The results of  the Clarks’ experiment were eventually used as a basis  by the US Supreme Court  to declare segregation in public schools  as  unconstitutional.

                 This doll experiment  had been replicated several times. One  was  done  in 2005 by film maker Kiri Davis. The result  was the same . Seventy-one percent of the 21 black  children said that the white doll was prettier.  Imagine , that was 66 years later , a time when black Americans were supposed  to enjoy full rights and privileges as the whites. Those sixty-six years  saw the rise of people like  Martin Luther King Jr. , Maya Angelou , Oprah Winfrey ,  Michael Jordan , Will Smith , Tyra Banks  ---and yet , black children still felt  inferior . 

             In 2009 , a media  company  in the US conducted the same  experiment for the show “ Good Morning America”.  The percentage of black girls  who showed preference for the white doll was lower , 47 %  , but this is  still significant .  Many  of the boys said both  were pretty. The change  can be attributed to the fact that early that year ,January 2009  , Barack Obama assumed the presidency of the US , bringing the positive  spotlight to him , his wife  and two daughters.

              We're half-way through 2016 . Dark-skinned children born and living in many parts of the world  are still made to feel that they are  not pretty or handsome or good enough .  Stereotypes and prejudices  are being perpetuated in so many ways . Racism  still  persists even in advanced , culturally diverse  countries . Even among members  of   the same  ethnic groups that are naturally   endowed with  dark or brown   skin , there is colorism  : a form of bias in favor of lighter-skinned ones .

               Colorism is  prevalent in Southeast Asia . Brown-skinned children are bullied in school. They are called all sorts of names .  Dark-skinned employees   are usually the butt of jokes in the office  ,  together with the fat ones  .  These things will persist for a long , long time –but it does not mean that we should keep quiet about it .

          Obviously , the effects  of European colonial conquests have remained in the minds of many people. Western-centric or European-centric mentality holds that almost everything  from the West is   superior and worth emulating , including skin color. People in former colonies have not been able to disentangle themselves  from   this mentality , despite being technically and officially free from  their former masters.

               Colorism is also  being indirectly perpetuated by billion-dollar  corporations that  sell beauty products. Their advertisements are relentless because they know fully well that  the public mind  is malleable .   In Southeast Asia ---particularly in the Philippines , Thailand , Malaysia ---- mainstream media and online media are  full of  advertisements for whitening products . Billboards  show  models  and endorsers   flaunting their white complexion. 
Some of the ads  go too far , insulting people  with dark skin. From  dusk till dawn , wherever  they look , young children in these  countries are bombarded  with propaganda that dark skin is inferior. The sad thing is , ordinary adult members of their societies are taking the lead. Social media is rife with  verbal insults  against brown-skinned  people. Recently , in the Philippines , there was an uproar when a six-month old  baby , a child of a celebrity ,   was bashed online  as " ugly  "  and " negra "  because  she is " morena " ( brown-skinned  ) 

   The despicable  behavior of some people , the biases  and the brainwashing  will not go away . They will continue  for a long , long time .   But that does not mean that we have to keep quiet about it. 

               Of course , changing one’s skin color is ultimately a  personal choice . One is free to buy all the products she wants , or to undergo all the medical procedures , if she really wants to have a whiter  complexion .But that is not the thesis of this article.

               As proven by the doll experiments ,  socially-tolerated  forms of prejudice  do a lot of damage to children.  Segregation by color , of course , is no longer the issue , but we know  racism  still exists . Also , there are other things . Media-brainwashing  and consumerism are  just as harmful .   Bullying is just as damaging . For a kid who is a constant victim of bullying , going  to school  is a daily torture .

                 If you are a parent with dark-skinned children , you have to assure your children  that their  skin is  nothing to be ashamed  of.  Build their  confidence and teach them how to deal with bullying.  If you are a teacher , do not allow  any dark-skinned child ( or any child  for that matter  ) to  be the object of cruel banters. Show your class that you will not allow bullying and  any form of harassment  your class.  If you are a  responsible adult , explain how businesses  and the  media work ,  and how they can affect  people’s mind –set and behavior.

              Do not tolerate racism and colorism , even in the name of " fun." 

                It took a pair of dolls to move the US Supreme Court  to make a historic decision  that paved the way for integration ( white and black kids studying together )  in American schools.  May these two, inanimate  dolls remind   people in different countries  what Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1963   :
 I have a dream  that someday, my four children will be judged , not by the color of their skin , but  by the content of their character .”


Note: If the video does not play , please follow the youtube link below.


Saturday, 26 March 2016

A Silent Prayer Is Enough

" Do not speak of your happiness to one less fortunate than you are."
                                                                            -Plutarch - 

        Terrorist attacks ....
        Airplanes crashing ...
        Hurricanes lashing ...

         If you or your loved one  survived a disaster   --- and others did not --- a silent prayer  should be enough. Don't go to social media saying " Thank God  for saving me . " or " Thank  you Lord  for  taking care of my son ! ".The families of those who  died --- how  are they supposed to feel  when they read your posts ? Are they less loved  by  God ? Are the victims not deserving of a second lease on life  ?  Many questions on human existence  will never be answered , like " why God saved one person  and  why  he let  a child  die a horrible death ." We'll never know the answers. But one thing is for sure :  God can hear everything , even the silent prayers we utter to ourselves .  Therefore , there is no need for Facebook  or  Twitter. Pray in the privacy of your heart . Respect other people's grief. 

Friday, 19 February 2016

Yes , English ability is a measure of intelligence


Offensive  and myopic .

This is how I describe the statement : “ English is just a language ... not a measure of intelligence.”

It seems  we need  to brush up   a little on psychology. Firstly , let’s  tackle the definition of “ intelligence”. Actually , experts offer various  definitions  of the term. However , we will find  three recurring points  : the ability to  solve problems , the ability to adapt to  situations  and  the ability  to create a product that will be useful in a certain culture . Secondly , for about thirty years now , the theory of multiple intelligences ( MI ) has been accepted ( though  not without counter- arguments )  in  the fields of psychology and education. According to Dr. Howard Gardner ,  a renowned developmental psychologist and a Harvard University professor , there are nine types of intelligence   and one of them is verbal-linguistic  , under which English ability falls.  Verbal-linguistic intelligence refers to the ability to understand  the complexities of a language  ( its grammar , vocabulary , sound system  and other aspects  )  and to use that understanding to communicate well and eventually,  to achieve a goal.

If a student  was  able to get a  high grade  in  an English  class  because he participated well  in the  discussion , or because he wrote  good  essays , isn’t that  achieving a goal ? If a licensed Filipino nurse is able to  get the required  score in the IELTS or TOEFL  , and if  because of that , she is able to work in the US  or UK , isn’t she solving a problem --- the problem of poverty ? If a new graduate , knowing that the odds are stacked against him because of  his lack of  work experience , uses his English fluency  to impress the  interviewers , and then gets the job  --- isn’t  that adapting to the situation and solving his unemployment  problem ? Based on the definitions given by experts ,  these  examples show the  application of intelligence. 

Authors , script writers , journalists , TV hosts ,  English teachers , language trainers  , copywriters , bloggers  and   call center agents use their language ability  in ways that show resiliency  and solve problems .

It takes intelligence to write a story ( that's a product )  that will make people think.  It takes intelligence to create  a brilliant  tag line that will ignite   the  consumers’  desire  for a certain merchandise  . It takes intelligence to deliver a stinging rebuttal in a debate .  It takes intelligence to explain a Shakespearean  poem to a bunch of high school kids. It takes intelligence to be able to say  what is exactly   in your heart .

Millions of people around the word have food on their table  because someone in their family knows English.  Debts are paid  because a smooth-talking  salesman managed to close a deal . An unknown, rejected  author  rises to fame  for writing Harry Potter . Valuable  information is being spread around the world by passionate bloggers .  Dying cities in the Philippines and India  are brought back to life by the business process outsourcing  industry that demands English-smart people .

Great  people in history had or have   used their  linguistic gifts  to achieve noble goals.   Mohandas Gandhi  used this skill to liberate his native country India from colonial  bondage  , and to tell  the world about  the  power of non-violent struggles . Nigerian writer  Chinua Achebe  brought to the fore  the clashes between  African culture and European culture through his English novels . Filipino writer  Francisco  Sionil  Jose wrote an English  trilogy where he eloquently chronicled  the  struggles  of  his countrymen  across generations . Pakistani Malala Yousafzai ,  2014  Nobel Laureate at the age of 17  ---- the youngest ever to receive the award --- continues  to  draw  the world’s attention to the plight of many Muslim  girls who are deprived of education because of poverty and terrorism . Nowadays , she gives speeches to a lot of  Western audience  and solicits support  for her cause .  Her English ability , of course , comes in  handy . 

If properly used , English  can be a survival tool and an agent of social change . It is not " just a language".

The ability to communicate well  in  English is a nurtured gift . Even among native speakers ,  excellence  in  English  is not that  common .   How many Americans can write like Ernest Hemingway  and  speak like Martin Luther King Jr.,   or Joel Osteen, or Dr. Phil MacGraw ? How many struggling  British  writers  can equal J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings ? How many Canadians can speak like  the current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ? Many of them can’t. Most of them can’t .  It’s because  above- par linguistic expression  does not come naturally .Whether in  a  second language setting or native language  surrounding ,  superb  verbal-linguistic intelligence  requires  the development  of natural potential through  long hours of conscious effort  to improve .   

There are many geniuses in math and science , but  why is  Albert Einstein  so beloved ?  Because he is linguistically endowed as well , and he explained difficult theories in ways that lay people  can  understand.  Einstein himself  was quoted as saying  " you are not smart if you can not explain complex concepts in  clear , simple language". Thus ,  Einstein  himself  believed  that  the ability to use language well  is an indication of smartness.  

English is not an exact science . It is  an  irrational and treacherous playing field  .  It is a bloody fighting arena where the rules are laid out but are ignored eighty percent of the time. People who can maneuver around this language have some gray matter in   their  heads. 

To insist that English is not a measure of intelligence is , in a way , to   disrespect the efforts  of Gandhi , Sionil Jose , Achebe , Malala , Osteen , Hemingway , Tolkien  and other people --- whether famous or anonymous , whether native speakers or second language users ---  who devoted countless hours in developing  this   ability  and using it  to  improve their lives  or the lives of others. 

"English is not a measure of intelligence ." Where does this insulting   statement  come from ?  Let me guess.

Some people  have this “ exclusive ” view of intelligence. To them , intelligence is manifested  only in two domains --- math and science.  These  are indeed difficult territories not many can access . People who excel in these  fields  are smart .  Accountants , engineers , doctors, scientists  ---yes , they  deserve  praises and compliments .  However , we should not tolerate them when they publicly  underestimate other people’s ability and careers . They --- or rather ,  all of us  actually ---should  keep our biases to ourselves .

On the other hand , some  people  are just like the fox in Aesop’s fable. “If you can’t get it ,  trash  it.” mentality .  Some people can  never learn  the  difference between “ your and you’re” , or “ they’re  and their ”. Despite efforts , some people can not develop the spontaneity needed in conversational  English , or the competence  to write an essay . So , they shrug their shoulders, walk away  and say “ What the heck ! It’s just a language . Not a measure of intelligence.” Sour grapes , anyone ? 

Here is another reason . Many of us  have   had unfortunate encounters  with  conceited English-smart   people.  These  people   flaunt  their English skills  to attract attention  , to throw their weight around  or to  shame other people .  We have seen that many times , and that’s really  annoying , if not disgusting ! Nobody likes that . But that’s another issue . The arrogance of some English-smart people does not validate the claim that “English is not a measure of intelligence.”   Arrogance and intelligence are two separate  issues.

Stop saying that English ability is not a measure of intelligence . IT IS .

But we have to emphasize : English  is NOT THE ONLY  measure of intelligence . As Dr. Howard Gardner  has espoused , there  are nine different types of intelligence. We have already  mentioned  verbal-linguistic.  The rest are logical-mathematical ,  bodily-kinesthetic , visual-spatial , musical-rhythmic , naturalist , intrapersonal , interpersonal and existential.  Most of us possess several  types of intelligence , but usually , there is one type where we excel the most.

We should celebrate , not underestimate , what others can do.  Every person is intelligent in his own way . We  complete  each other .  We need people like John Cena   to show us  the extent of  physical power ,  but we also need people like The Beatles to , as  they say , tame the savage beast in us . We need people like Thomas Edison  and  Albert Einstein to make  strides in technology , but we also need people like  William  Shakespeare  and Nicholas Sparks  to  make us swoon . Imagine  how dull  this world would be  without Romeo and Juliet  and  The Notebook