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Friday, February 21, 2014

NCSME 2013: A big success

The National Conference in Science and Mathematics Education held on 22-24 October 2013 at the Dolores F. Hernandez Hall, Science Teacher Training Center, UP NISMED drew 376 participants from all over the archipelago composed of elementary and high school science and mathematics teachers, faculty of teacher education institutions, graduate students, principals, supervisors, curriculum developers, and researchers.

A total of 48 papers were presented across elementary and high school science and mathematics education topics such as lesson study, curriculum, assessment, inquiry-based science teaching and learning, problem solving in mathematics teaching and learning, and ICT integration.

Dr. Shizumi Shimizu delivers his keynote address after the opening ceremony.

The theme of the conference was “Empowering Teachers for the K to 12 Curriculum through Lesson Study.” The conference objectives included: 1) promotion of lesson study as a professional development model to enhance the capability of teachers in implementing the K to 12 Curriculum for Mathematics and Science; 2) promotion of the teaching of science through inquiry and teaching of mathematics through problem solving in lesson study; 3) providing a forum for discussing and sharing of experiences and research results related to lesson study; and, 4) initiation of a local network on lesson study.

The keynote speaker of the conference was Prof. Shizumi Shimizu of Teikyo University (Japan) who focused on the importance of enhancing the capability of teachers to develop scientific and mathematical proficiency of students through activities that provide opportunities for construction of knowledge by learners and sharpen their communication skills. The other plenary speakers and the titles of their papers are shown below:

Dr. Masami Isoda
University of Tsukuba, Japan
Developing Mathematical Thinking: How to develop it in the classroom
Dr. Tran Vui
 Hue University, Vietnam
Developing Experimental Environments for Students-with-Computers: Investigating School Mathematics through Dynamic Visual Representations
Dr. Levi E. Elipane
UP Institute of Mathematics
Integrating the Essential Elements of Lesson Study in Pre-Service Mathematics Teacher Education
Dr. Hideo Ikeda
Hiroshima University, Japan
Innovations in a Science Classroom: Teacher’s Questions and Students’ Reactions
Dr. Francis I. Molina
National Science Digital Library, USA
Learning Progressions for the K to 12 Curriculum: Enhancing Teacher Professional Development
Dr. Yutaka Saburi
Fukui University, Japan
A Science Lesson and a School Reform

UP Diliman Chancellor Dr. Caesar A. Saloma welcomed participants to the conference on the first day, 22 October 2013. He cited the K to 12 curriculum as a major educational reform with the university who is set to play its role to make Filipino youth competitive in the global arena. The First Secretary of the Political Section of the Embassy of Japan also delivered a congratulatory message to NISMED and the participants during the opening program. 

A novel feature of the conference was the conduct of “open classes,” both in mathematics and science. Two “open classes” were implemented—one by Prof. Mitsuo Nobuchi a Japanese teacher from Mito Eiko Elementary School with 20 Grade IV Filipino pupils from Commonwealth Elementary School (for mathematics) and the other one by Ms. Malou Fajardo from Sta. Lucia High School, Pasig City with 4th year high school students (for science). Salient features of the lesson study process, incorporating the inquiry-based approach in teaching science and the problem-solving approach in mathematics were demonstrated to the participants. 

Post-lesson discussions were held after each open class with the teacher first reflecting on the implementation of the lesson followed by comments from a panel consisting of experts from among the speakers/paper presenters and NISMED staff who served as “knowledgeable others.” 

On the last day of the conference, Dr. Amelia Punzalan and Ms. Lydia Landrito initiated the network on lesson study among the participants during a brainstorming session which drew positive responses. Mr. Shinichiro Kato, Researcher and Adviser of the Japan Information and Culture Center also invited the participants to apply as scholars of the government of Japan in various types of scholarship programs.

Dr. Rosario I. Alonzo, Dean of the College of Education officially closed the conference on 24 November 2013. In her parting message, Dean Alonzo related how, as a young professional, she eagerly attended conferences and seminar-workshops, too, for her own professional development. She exhorted the participants to go forth and make use of what they learned to enhance their knowledge and skills in their noble profession as educators.

NISMED conducts SMILE trainings for ARMM teachers

Four training groups of trainers (ToTs) for Grade 1 and Grade 7 science and mathematics teachers of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were conducted in November 2013. The trainings were dubbed as “Support for the Management of an Improved Learning Environment (SMILE)” and served as a supplemental training on science and mathematics for elementary and high school trainers. The training of Grade 1 Mathematics, Grade 7 and Grade 1 Science were simultaneously conducted on 18-22 November 2013. The first two were held at NISMED while the third one at the Waterfront Insular Hotel, Davao City. Grade 7 Mathematics training was also held at the Waterfront Insular Hotel, Davao City on 25-29 November 2013. These teacher trainings were funded by the Autralian Aid (AusAid) through the Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao (BEAM), DepEd ARMM, and CardNo.

The participants actively participate in their
hands-on earth science activities 
A total of 200 participants were trained on inquiry-based science teaching and problem-solving based mathematics teaching which included an orientation to the K to 12 curriculum, a workshop on TIMSS- based test item construction for the Grade 1 Science and a collaborative lesson planning, presentation and implementation for the Grades 1 and 7 Mathematics. Though science as a subject formally starts in Grade 3 level, the objective of the Grade 1 Science training was focused on integrating science across the different subject areas to slowly introduce among learners the basic science skills.

The objectives of the trainings conducted were to: 1) explain the rationale, philosophy, and features of science and mathematics in the K to 12 curriculum; 2) show spiralling within a science/mathematics concepts and interconnections across concepts; 3) apply inquiry-based teaching in science and the problem-solving approach in mathematics in Grades 1 and 7; and 4) demonstrate how content and inquiry/problem-solving skills are interwoven in the teaching of specific science/mathematics concepts using the training modules written for Grades 1 and 7.

During the plenary sessions, participants had the opportunity to become familiar and conversant with the rationale, philosophy, standards, and learning competencies in the science and mathematics curriculum for Grades 1 and 7 of the new K to 12 curriculum. The high school science participants expressed their realization that to explain a science concept, it had to be related and scaffolded with concepts learned in chemistry, physics, and biology. Moreover, the elementary trainers were also oriented on the new TIMSS cognitive domains and the advantages of developing the appropriate science process among their pupils. 

In the workshops, all trainer-participants were able to experience hands-on science and mathematics activities playing the role of a Grade 1 or Grade 7 pupil/student. Mathematics trainers also had the opportunity to develop a lesson collaboratively incorporating the strategy of teaching through problem solving, strengthening the spirit of “teamwork.” The participants were also enabled to have an opportunity to discuss the development of concepts in learners as well as misconceptions that may arise. 

The workshop on assessment among the elementary science gained a positive response among the participants as they were given the chance to present and constructively critique each other’s work to improve the items and to eliminate the development of misconceptions. The high school science participants experienced how to implement hands-on, minds-on activities so that students are actively engage and are capable of drawing out the concepts. These activities involved various strategies which are appropriate to the development of the specific concepts included in Grade 7 learning competencies.

The participants from Maguindanao II Division pose
with the officials from DepEd-ARMM, training staff from NISMED,
and Dr. William Welms of BEAM-ARMMM after the closing program. 
The training as a whole had a positive feedback from across the different groups. “There is always something new that I get from every session and I also feel privileged because I might be an instrument when I go back to our station and so whatever I have learned from the four corners of this session hall, I will be able to relate to other teachers who will also deliver these teaching methods to the learners,” says Ms. Mary Ann Jamil of the Sulu Division for the Elementary School Science Group. 

The participants are expected to conduct roll-out training sessions among all Grades 1 and Grade 7 science and mathematics teachers all over the ARMM region starting January 2014.

Staff present papers at CoSMEd 2013

Dr. Aida I. Yap, Deputy Director for Administration and a member of the Elementary School Mathematics Group, and Ms. Sally B. Gutierez of the Elementary School Science Group presented their research papers during the Fifth International Conference on Science and Mathematics Education held at SEAMEO-RECSAM, Penang Malaysia on 11-14 November 2013. 

The conference was organized in recognition of the importance of globalizing the trends, approaches and strategies of preparing citizens who will be able to address and solve local, national and global problems, as well as function well. 

With the theme “Empowering the Future Generation through Science and Mathematics Education,” the conference aimed to: 1) provide a forum to review issues, exchange ideas and share experiences on the development of science and mathematics education at all levels; 2) discuss developments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) integration to improve learning of science and mathematics; 3) exchange ideas on continuing professional development as a means to sustain the development of high quality Science and Mathematics teachers; 4) encourage the sharing of knowledge, skills and experiences of experts working on new strategies to sustain science and mathematics education reforms in teaching and assessment; 5) strengthen professional networking among science and mathematics educators both locally and globally; and 6) maintain professional contacts to enhance cooperation among a consortium of international organizations and educational institutions to facilitate greater dissemination and exchange of expertise at an international level.

Dr. Yap during her paper presentation
 in the parallel sessions.
In a parallel sessions, Dr. Yap presented her paper titled “The Use of Technology for Student Learning Empowerment in Elementary School Mathematics.” She shared in her presentation the effectiveness of the use of mathematics courseware and Tablet PC on Grade 1 pupils’ learning of concepts as shown in the result of the pilot testing conducted among ten public schools in the Philippines. According to her, the interactive feature of the courseware made pupils more focused on the lesson and participate actively in classroom discussions.

Ms. Gutierez also presented her paper titled “Integrating Bioethical Issues to Enhance the 21st Century Skills of Biology Students.” Her paper focused on the importance of developing the critical thinking and bioethical decision-making skills of biology students. According to her, bioethics can be integrated in biology topics which require judgment such as the benefits and risks of the biotechnological advancements like genetic engineering, stem cell research, cloning, the Human Genome Project, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), and the social acceptance of these topics. Thus, she said that when students acquire these skills, the construction of students’ knowledge in order for them to develop meaningful concepts is facilitated, critical thinking is honed, and their making of balanced, well-informed decisions relevant to their lives may be is ensured.

NISMED delegates pose with the conference organizers, keynote speakers
and plenary session speakers and other international delegates
after the conference dinner.

Aside from paper presentations to the parallel sessions, Dr. Yap and Ms. Gutierez also attended workshops on science and mathematics education. These workshops enabled them to participate in hands-on activities that enhanced their skills in the general practice of science and mathematics education.


NISMED celebrated its 49th anniversary on 20 November 2013. The celebration started with a thanksgiving mass officiated by Fr. Jeba Suresh, a guest priest of the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice. It was followed by a loyalty award ceremony, which recognized academic and administrative staff who have served the Institute for 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 40 years. Among the awardees were Ms. Pia C. Campo, Ms. Angelie SD. Domingo, Mr. Joseph M. Galdiano, Mr. Arnul M. Magdurulun, Mr. Nelson O. Mariano, Ms. Leosan R. Navalta, Ms. Dana M. Ong, Ms. Francisca C. Pio, Mr. Nilo M. Rocas, Ms. Monalisa T. Sasing and Ms. Cherry A. Velasco.

Dr. Ulep and Dr. Yap presenting the certificate of recognition to Mr. Nilo M. Rocas for his 40 years in service to NISMED. 

Dr. Soledad A. Ulep, NISMED Director and Dr. Aida L. Yap, Deputy Director for Administration handed out the certificates of loyalty. The audience played game on identifying baby pictures of the awardees and answering trivia questions about them.

In the afternoon, there was a public lecture which served as the first of a series of public lectures that are part of the year-long celebration of NISMED’s Golden Anniversary in November 2014.

Public lectures on Climate Change and Productive Pedagogy held at NISMED

As part of the activities in the celebration of NISMED’s 49th year and a run-up to its Golden Anniversary in 2014, a public lecture was held on November 20, 2013 at the STTC Auditorium, UP NISMED. The lecture was attended by 325 teachers in science and mathematics. The activity is the first of a series of public lectures which aims to promote scientific literacy and contribute to the professional development of science and mathematics teachers.

Two experts in the field of science education were invited to share with teachers current issues and trends relevant to science education. The lecturers were Dr. Carlos Primo David, a licensed geologist, a faculty member at the National Institute for Geological Sciences (UP NIGS), The Raya School and Project Leader of DOST’s Project NOAH; and Dr. Bill Atweh, an international education consultant, and a retired professor of the University of Brisbane, Australia.

Dr. David expounding on climate change.
Dr. David talked on “The Use of Rich Media in Teaching Climate Change.” He focused on the objectives of teaching climate change. According to him, two important points to be considered in teaching the topic are: 1) providing a scientific explanation of the phenomenon and its resulting impact; 2) inciting an emotion of reaction from the students in terms of what we should be doing about it. He stressed further that “while accurate information is crucial in teaching climate change, the mode of presenting it is what will achieve the second objective.”

Dr. Atweh answering questions of Dr. Francis Molina after his lecture.
Dr. Atweh, on the other hand, spoked on “Beyond Student-Centered Education Towards Productive Pedagogy”. During his talk, he emphasized the origins and limitations of the discourses of student-centered approaches. His presentation argued that the discourse of student-centered learning is open to the concern that it fails to pay sufficient attention to the complexity of the classroom and the social purposes of education. Thus, he proposed that through a productive pedagogy framework, the teacher is re-centered at the heart of the educative process and leads to a wider understanding of what schools are for, without undermining the rights of the child or the significant knowledge teachers have acquired in terms of the development of learning.