Finding the Right Mix

As educators, we are always challenged by the complexity of teaching-learning process. That is why we continuously adapt to the demands of our time when it calls for a change. Year after year, students with different learning styles and background flock into our school bringing with them diverse experiences and personalities. Here we provide them learning opportunities that prepare them for future employment or prepare them for life itself.

For a school like us with a unique curriculum, we are always in search for the right mix of teaching methodologies that will increase students’ potential for learning. From 1994-1998, CITE teachers used didactic units to teach lessons. A didactic unit is like a lesson plan that details and describes each lesson of the course that centers on skills training, lessons competence, and time management. For a lecture subject, it is a face-to-face modality with students’ activities or testing capping the end of each lesson. For most teachers, it was physically exhausting especially if they have 3 hours of non-stop lecture.

In 1999, CITE received grants from Lucent Technologies and Consuelo Foundation, Inc. to develop e-learning modules, alternative training modes of delivering skills or non-skills-based courseware using offline or online network technology. This revolutionized our methodology with technology helping us to set up synchronous learning with asynchronous learning (modules that ran on their own) coupled with minimal lecture components. This has challenged teachers to convert their lectures into self-paced interactive lessons that can be accessed through desktop computers then. E-learning modules were used to teach concepts, as a pre-work before the class or as a reinforcement of subjects.

Gradually, we combined both lecture components and browsing time to increase face time for teachers who like to do lecture. This also gave longer hours for teachers to develop their browsing materials put on Wikipedia-like portal. With minimal computer skills and creativity, teachers were able to develop materials that can be either bland or having “too many texts” that often sent students to doze off or cut classes during browsing time.

Then came the Dynamic Learning Program (DLP), which we adopted in 2013. DLP was a training methodology anchored on a systems-based scientific approach for enhanced learning in the sciences, mathematics, and humanities. This methodology was developed by the Bernido couple who are both internationally renowned physicists who took over a dying school in Bohol.

Both Drs. Christopher and Marivic Bernido sent shockwaves to the educational landscape by advocating a disaster-resilient methodology that is simple in concept but actually works in schools which lack expert classes and textbooks and have large class size. This learning method is characterized by activity-based multi-domain learning, parallel classes, in-classroom protocols for sustained or independent learning, NO HOMEWORK, and strategic rest. The by-product was a portfolio done by the student himself. This increased the level of independence and confidence of the students.

According to the proponents, the role of the teacher is to facilitate the learning process changing the climate of education that centers on the learners to go through the process independently through a well-designed learning activity sheet (LAS). Each LAS contains concept digest, exercise, and activity. This is the first time that the school experienced some quiet during classes as each student is busy copying all learning activities by hand. For a one-hour class, 80% was used for the writing activity and 20% was used for clarificatory purposes or contact time. Compared to answering workbooks, students engage in teacher-generated activities that are purposeful and self-paced. But it didn’t work for all.

The success of DLP has led about 160 public schools in the Visayas and Mindanao to deviate from the traditional way, but their hybrid practices or even malpractices led to the failure to sustain the program. The K-12 program implementation which was in full swing also derailed the DLP practices of other schools.

Since CITE is under the regulations of TESDA, we always based our teaching methodology on the principles of competency-based training by which the learner acquires a competency or a qualification based on demonstrated ability rather than on the time spent on training. Our competency-based curriculum had to align with the national standards and specifications which define all the learning experiences a learner undergoes. This includes learning outcomes, contents, conditions, methodologies, and assessment methods. It specifies outcomes, which are consistent with the requirements of the workplace as defined in the Training Regulations or based on industry consultations.

Our varied experiences in different teaching modalities have provided us ease in transitioning to the adoption and crafting of competency-based learning modules across all disciplines. Instructor-generated modules taking either a physical or online form were a result from years of rich experiences in the classrooms or at workshops. The new technology combined with the extraordinary talents of teachers provided endless possibilities.

Now that COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the education niche so immensely, we can just look back to our old practices that work best for the learners. After all, teaching is a creative profession. It challenges our ability to customize teaching to new circumstances, stimulate the learner’s thinking process, and facilitate the learning process even remotely. This pandemic may create a new movement in education where students develop their own solution based on a personalized curriculum. Indeed, this will bring out the creativity of teachers to make the teaching-learning process yield observable results.