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How A Teacher's Role Is Changing To 'Follow' Students Outside The Classroom
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  • Editor's note: The Department Of Education recently reported the number of enrollees in public and private schools for the school year 2020-2021. As of July 1, 15.8 million learners enrolled in public schools. Last year, the total number of public school students was at 22.5 million (read more here). 

    These figures reflect hope and also show how DepEd's efforts are paying off. The government agency has stressed how crucial it is for parents and the local governments to work together so that no child is left behind. You see this in the distance learning simulation done with a kindergarten class in Navotas. (If you haven't seen it, click here.)

    There is more to be done to make online learning sustainable for the public school system. Here's one opinion from Eric Barro, a research and education advocate and currently the president and CEO of Integrative Competitive Intelligence Asia Inc. (ICI Asia).

    For me, there are four critical things to do today for public school system.

    First, develop the curriculum suited to online learning. The schools/teachers should curate the materials with proper care and alignment with the technology environs. They should be easy enough to understand yet supported with challenging activities that will make students develop mastery and critical thinking. This will need intensive research to accomplish.

    However, I also believe that the public school system has available materials to use as a starting point. They might not need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, transform existing materials into an online paradigm with tweaks here and there.

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    Second, build the capability of teachers as they are entering a new dimension. Should there be a functional and robust curriculum already, the teachers need to learn how to monitor off-site.
    A teacher's role has always been teaching and observing the students' progress inside the classroom. Now, they have to "follow" their students outside the classroom setting. These are skills that need learning.

    Gaining skills is just one thing, though. An internal transformation should also take place. Teachers will have to accept that their roles are changing. They will have lesser "control" over their students. Perhaps less authoritative. But still as relevant, nonetheless. They should feel that their importance has not diminished.

    Third, create an IT system that can accommodate basic connectivity. It does not have to be sophisticated.

    My experience with my kids is a testament that the basics work (click here to read more about this dad's online learning experience here). Remove all those that can slow down things: video links, video chats, etc. Instead, have the options of students to download materials, which they can either print or copy into USB. In essence, an electronic document they can bring and work on in their houses, or wherever.

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    Of course, there will always be the issue of affordability and access. Partnerships with the LGUs and barangays, I believe, will be crucial. For example, the LGUs can provide a barangay computer and internet shop space, where Deped and CHED purchase computers (they save on classrooms, anyway) and provide internet connectivity.

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    I am pretty sure that they can come up with creative ideas together. And if we consider online learning amid this pandemic, then collaborative efforts become even more essential.

    Fourth, get the support of both the students and the parents. This is something new to them, and initially, there will be adjustments, if not, downright resistance.

    If this will be a new form of learning and might be a standard one because of COVID-19, then the family needs to embrace this. It will be a new journey together that will require patience, diligence, hard work, and commitment.

    All these points will be a challenge to pull off, but if there is the best time to experiment, this is the time. Will it work? Conceptually, I believe so.  However, this will need a lot of research and preparation. This might even experience several dips before it starts to surface and float. In this time and age, nonetheless, all we need is to begin, and just let it flow.

    Looking for learn-at-home options and wondering about tuition fee? Head to Smart Parenting Classroom now!

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