Philippines from 1900-1915

A group of Thomasites -

Due to the Education Act No. 34, the Thomasites were created. Thomasites were a group of American teachers sent by the United States government in August 1901. An interesting short fact is that Thomasites get their name from the ship USS Thomas that brought them to the Philippines.

The Thomasites help expand the public school system previously established by the Spanish by introducing the English as the medium of instruction. They also were directed to train Filipino teachers as an incentive to make the Philippines self-sustainable. The Thomasites were paid $125/ month, which is more than they could get paid in the United States. There was a high influx of Thomasites due to various motivations of job security, high pay, philanthropic fulfillment, and the desire to travel outside of the United States.

Even though the Thomasites had acquired a specific duty, there were U.S. Army soldiers who began training Filipino teachers and taught them English to institute the groundwork for the Philippine public school system. The first public school opened before the Thomasites arrived on Corregidor Island.

When the Thomasites arrived, they were quarantined for a few days and then moved on to their assigned provinces. They taught subjects in areas of language, mathematics, domestic work, specific trade work, freehand drawing, and athletics. Obviously it is shown that there was no other creative opportunity other than freehand drawing. This inhibited the indigenous people from learning how to express their feelings or reactions from being oppressed. Also, the teaching of freehand drawing was seen as practical for future jobs. There were three areas of language which included English, grammar, and reading. Much emphasis was placed on language in order to best prepare Filipinos to assimilate into American society or in other words to follow American instruction within American society. It was very damaging in the sense of national consciousness because the Filipinos don’t have their own language. They’re learning another country’s language while destroying the many variations of their country’s languages. This is an imperative indication of what the future of Filipino identity will become. It will be so enmeshed with American society due to the foundation of an American education.

Learn from the Thomasites or the American soldiers will kill you -

Domestic work included housekeeping, sewing, crocheting, and cooking. These classes were obviously constructed to attract the female Filipino population, which is distinguished later in the mid-1900s when a large population of female Filipinos studies to become nurses because it included “women’s work.”

The Thomasites left behind elementary schools and learning institutions that helped transform the Philippines into the third largest English-speaking nation in the world.

Philippine Normal University -

Filipinos easily assimilated into American society than other Asian groups. This prompted more “prestigious” positions of acquirement for the Filipinos, but it favored the socio-economic position of the United States. The United States exploited the labor influx of Filipinos and caused a brain drain in the Philippines. The United States primary incentive was economic based, which affected the Philippines by inhibiting the growth of a self-sustained society due to the migration to the U.S. of the skilled workers.

Posted by: Sachi Okata

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