Issue of January 6, 2019

71th Courier Anniversary Issue
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Pedagogical retooling of mentors

The conduct of the regional training of grades 4 to 6 teachers of the Department of Education in the Cordillera dubbed, “Pedagogical retooling in Mathematics, Languages, and Science” was intended to level up the teachers’ skills on pedagogy in said disciplines.

Studies suggest that the poor performance of learners in Science and Mathematics is due to language barrier. Most learners do not understand the meaning of academic languages or terms in the two learning areas of the basic education program. Experts in education suggest that teachers should include mastery of language syntax and bridging the gaps of learning.

Being an expert on language syntax is an effective tool in the bridging process as the teacher has to connect the meanings of academic terms to the learners using the language commonly used by the group with good syntax for better understanding of ideas and explain the same in English. In return, the learners also express their ideas in their mother tongue, but the teacher helps the learners express the same in English following proper syntax. This process of bridging would eventually make breakthrough in learning and would lessen the learning gaps in Science and Mathematics. Language syntax and bridging learning barriers are parts of the pedagogy, which is one of the reasons for the conduct of mass roll-out trainings on pedagogical retooling of teachers.

Retooling is defined as the process of equipping for purposes of improvement and modernization while pedagogy is the science and art of teaching young learners as opposed to andragogy, which is the science and art of teaching adult learners.

According to experts in education, pedagogy is characterized by the following:

Passion to teach, as teachers are expected to have prepared themselves by mastering the contents of the learning areas and the pedagogy and they should have rich knowledge, ideas, technical, and life skills to make a significant change among the learners;

Love and care, as teachers should make significant impact on the life of every learner by empowering and motivating them to become active participants in the learning activities and each learner should feel that he/she is an important member of the group by addressing their emotional needs;

Accountability, as teachers should be responsible and accountable for learning outcomes and value system of learners;

Inclusiveness, as teachers should honor and recognize the strengths, weaknesses, cultural background, physical and medical conditions, interests, motivations, and other factors relevant for the holistic development of each individual learner, and each learner should develop a sense of belongingness to the learners community;

Sustainability, as teachers should ensure quality basic instruction that would help build a strong foundation of sustainable basic quality education for the 21st century learners; and

Research, as teachers should engage themselves in research as part of their skills in pedagogy to gather significant and empirical data to be considered in planning, developing skills, and enhancing pedagogy.


Teaching and learning for a sustainable future

Making the learner as the center of the educational process is a major shift in education. This shift from content to process, from knowing to valuing and from teacher to student-centered orientation has many implications in the curriculum development, teacher roles, pedagogy, and the use of technology.

Experts in education say that a great part of the learning this time prepares and shapes the learners to become catalysts for improving people’s quality of life and for initiating positive societal transformation, including that of future generations.

This could be possible when educators let their students filter the values they profess in the cognitive to the affective and behavioral levels. This sounds ideal but it could be put to reality by educators through the use of the so-called holistic and integrated approach.

According to experts, in this approach, educators will be challenged in the valuing process. They say that the educators will be challenged to examine the level of teaching that is engaging to the learner.

Educators are also challenged to structure processes in the learning environment where the learner’s values are examined and clarified. This could be achieved by employing different teaching strategies and methodologies, such as values voting, values ranking, forced choices, values continuum, value whips, unfinished sentences, autobiographical questionnaires, picture without captions/freedom board, coded papers and many more.

Experts say that educators must ensure that the learners have clarified their personal values in congruence to those of the systems. Areas of integration could be ideal self versus actual self, role self versus true self, social self versus real self. What matters most in this process is the learner’s confidence and ability how to define his or her own life.

Educators in this process must guarantee a democratic space in the learning environment. In this process, the educators are challenged to be open, sincere, non-judgmental and non-threatening so that the learners find freedom to be themselves.

This process will also require educators to be willing to invest in the learning process. As the learner is being enriched, the educator learns from the learner as well, making the learning a dialogical process.

Valuing process in the context of holistic approach envisions developing persons who have a genuine care and deep concern in improving the quality of life of the present and future generations, thus contributing to the building of a peaceful and sustainable future.

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