Continuing Professional Development for Science and Mathematics Teachers of Semirara Island High Schools

A four-week professional development program for 13 science and mathematics teachers and principals of Semirara Island high schools was conducted on April 27 to May 22, 2009 at the Dolores Hernandez Hall, Science Teacher Training Center, UP NISMED. The training program was conducted in cooperation with the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH). The main objective of the training was to strengthen the participants’ content and pedagogical content knowledge.

The mathematics participants were introduced to the strategy of teaching mathematics through problem solving and how mathematical concepts and procedures can be linked using it. They had hands-on sessions on integrating the use of computers in teaching mathematics through investigations, an orientation on collaboratively developing lessons that incorporate both content and process objectives, and peer teaching and critiquing sessions which became important opportunities for teachers’ misconceptions to surface and be corrected. They had workshops on the development, critiquing, and improvement of assessment items, and on making a topic plan and action plan on integrating mathematical investigation in their teaching across the four grading periods. The participants also experienced an outdoor mathematics activity which enabled them to appreciate the pervasive uses of mathematics in the environment.

Mathematics participants doing an activity on functions.

PowerPoint and video presentations, hands-on, and experiential activities were used in all sessions to strengthen understanding of science ideas and concepts for the science teachers. Using the hands-on, minds-on and hearts-on strategy, participants were given time to work on science activities or problems independently and were asked to discuss their analyses/answers with groupmates. In this way, they attained deeper understanding of the concepts. The basic topics tackled were organized following the spiraling approach – from macro to micro and from simple/concrete to complex/ abstract. A visit to an elementary school having a waste segregation project served as inspiration for the participants to come up with a similar action plan for their schools in Semirara. The stargazing activity served as a venue to clarify misconceptions regarding planets.

Science participants performing an experiment on optics.

The outputs of the participants were lesson plans, assessment items, budget of work, and group action plan for integrating investigations in classroom teaching. The following experiences were something new to most of the participants: making a detailed lesson plan which contained the teacher’s key questions, anticipated student responses, and how to process these responses to develop the lesson; developing the lesson with corresponding assessment items collaboratively with colleagues; and developing a budget of work integrating several competencies using the same activity.