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LOUD WHISPER: Why are students struggling about the online, offline teaching modalities?

JUST last week I received messages from college students and teachers complaining about the inefficiency or poor system of our internet connection for zoom, google classroom activities and FB-live application. By the way, as the VPAA of an international college here, I’m very much concerned with students’ welfare and education.

The International Peace Leadership College (IPLC) in Tanay, Rizal province is one college that opened classes in August but prior to this, its management conducted a series of meetings, training and seminars to prepare teachers for this crucial task.

Under 7722, CHED issued guidelines for implementation. CHED leaves the discretion to the Board of schools to strategize their enrollment and their opening of classes because it believes that it has to cope with challenges brought about by the Covid 19 pandemic.

Secretary Leonor Briones of DepEd waited for the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte to start classes in the elementary and high schools. IPLC is also offering senor high school classes. Next week surely classes will be on. All schools are ready to accept students and it is a must that learning must continue. We can not afford not to send the students to school. Schools have to choose the learning modalities to adopt depending on the availability of resources the schools have.

Now, in colleges and universities, there are modalities that a school is privileged to adopt, i.e., offline and online learning deliveries or techniques, synchronous or asynchronous, flexible or blended approaches, modularized, e-learning, or distance schooling.

But if I were to choose, I would opt for a “Bayanihan sa Eskwelahan” scheme and this for me, can be more beneficial. productive and outcome-based. We should adopt the bayanihan spirit of teaching-learning approach which can be done in the spirit of cooperativism and interconnectivity.. (This is my concept of learning while we are facing this global pandemic.)

Rev. Sun Moon Myung, a Korean Minister and Leader, an educator and a Global Citizen declared by the United Nations. He’s the founder of the Unification Movement in the Philippines and the founder of the Washington Times of the USA and Peace TV of Korea. He conceptualized the motto, “sharing and giving” that gives meaning to sustainable life and prosperity. The bayanihan concept is akin to this system or scheme.

This principle of giving and sharing can be universal practice and it can be instrumental in attaining lasting peace and sustainable security. This can be workable during this time of pandemic. This is what we need.

Since we started classes, we encountered a lot of problems and issues that adversely affect the smooth flow of classroom activities. One teacher had to call me up (as a friend) last week that while her students complained about the inefficiency of the internet connection of the school to the different parts and areas in the country, she complained that students haven’t been on time and are inefficient in passing requirements in her classes. She has a difficult time in receiving answers to their quizzes which she made for her google class. The usual reply of students is, they have poor internet connection in their area. If they are able to receive one, the quiz isn’t good enough to be answered; Or, some said that the lecture of the teacher isn’t usually recorded well because the internet connection isn’t connected properly. Oftentimes, the students encounter disruptions that make the lecture very annoying to their eyes and ears. Or, sometimes in the midst of the discussion, both teacher and student would experience an abrupt disconnection that tends to leave the student at a lost and inattentive and annoyed.

One evening also a student texted me saying that she would be excused from her classes for a week because she had to go home to explain to her parents about extra money for more Smart loads so she could have better access to the internet portal of our school so she could also connect to more teachers. . While students encounter such problems teachers also have the same problem. The worst that I received from a teacher who complained about the depression and stress that she encountered from students who usually text her or call her up even during late hours at night inquiring about so many things that are very annoying. Then another teacher would call me up also for consultation about how she could regulate and control her students in a synchronous or asynchronous scheme and in checking attendance and absences. Then she called me up again apologizing that she won’t be able to submit her modules for distribution to students.

I still remember the SONA of President Duterte when he was very emphatic in warning our Intel companies to make good their system until December this year, because if they won’t, he said, they better close shop or be “repatriated”.
But, do we have to wait for this moment of closure? Knowing the guts of our President, he would always make good his promise. I hope I’m not mistaken in knowing him as the best friend of my late husband, Leo Rostand Sicam. I learned to know the President from him who used to tell me about their rendezvous in Davao City.

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