If you really like to write, love the things that you are writing and have the ample time, I say that writing is easy. The third component – time – is the gel of creativity and productivity. This is what the teacher-writers of K-to-12 Secondary Education of Department of Education in the Philippines wished they had more.
This week I was able to witness writer-teachers in action in RELC in Marikina City. Their mission: To produce learning modules, with accompanying teacher’s guides, for Grade 9 level.
On my first day I entered a building complex with many quiet working rooms, and immediately noticed some people in the lobby poring at their laptops. In one of these halls, I entered to see one subject area team- –Araling Panlipunan— replicating a phenomenon like the one I saw in the lobby, only that it has become a bigger group. Inside the quiet rooms I saw scenarios of the same frame; this is the DepEd 2013 Write-Shop for all areas to be taught in high school next school year.
For 15 days, selected teachers in high school from all over the country, with full workloads, were transported from their classroom setting and gathered in one place to produce Learning Materials and Teacher’s Guides that the whole country eagerly awaits to use. After two weeks they must be back again to their home institutions where close to 50 students are waiting for them in every class because no substitute teacher can readily take charge during their absence.
As a teacher myself, I see how difficult it is to combine being a classroom teacher and do research that results in a written articles, even if you are de-loaded in your work assignment, and is given one year to finish it.
In social networking sites, I have seen concepts captured which the generation today called memes. Two particular memed concepts come to mind: Respect, and Like. On how they apply to a setting like a write-shop, these memes are naturally explained when you witness teachers being deprived of sleep because a two-week schedule is not an ideal timetable to produce complete and quality learning materials. This is a soldier-like response to a duty has a hovering pressure not only because the agency they serve wants them to create some concrete result of a well-talked about new educational program, but also because they are aware that some critics also wish those materials be created now. The former demands because of job description, the latter asks because their fox-like faculty of pedagogical troubleshooting and analysis itches to be put to work before the new school year begins on June 2014.
After leaving the venue of the write-shop, and after witnessing the dedicated efforts of the teachers to give intellectual birth to the abstract ideas that the frameworks and curriculum guides wanted them to produce, there were two other memes that come into mind that I hoped could displace a prevailing opinion-perspective: Help and Support.
It is public knowledge on how the K12 curriculum being adopted in our country, from its conception to implementation, is met more by criticisms in (and outside) the academe than encouragements. But the fact remains that Republic Act 10533 will stay for good because it is downright inconceivable that a law not yet fully implemented is repealed before it sees the light of day, so I think it is best for patriotic expressions to rally behind it.
It needs help and support from the educational experts to help it reach its final stage of completing materials and have them tested in the classroom. Whatever general and specific frameworks DepEd have employed must be given a chance.
It needs help and support from parents needs to know it well, and help their children understand the beauty of being equipped with knowledge, skills and values that prepare them for life and vocation right after high school.
It needs help and support from teachers from all levels, whether teaching in public and private schools, to try it in their classroom instructions as DepEd models provide, and send dialogical and collegial feedback for its enhancement.
This a better way to appreciate (another side of the concept “critique”), of the efforts of our educational system to chart our future—that time of our lives that we hope to see better than we have now, that time when our children finally exercise their full rights, duties, and privileges as citizens of this country better than most of our leaders and fellowmen and women do today.