Monday, October 12, 2009

Pupils in special science classes are gifted. And so, they can be given more cognitively demanding lessons, activities, and assessments. This implies that their teachers must be competent in using the learner-centered approaches in which the pupils do not only do most of the thinking being done in the class but also, the quality of such thinking is of high level. This competence depends on the teachers’ mastery of both subject matter and pedagogical content. The above statements are the underlying principles behind the professional training program for teachers of the Lemery special science elementary school.

The training program was designed to: emphasize teaching through problem solving and scientific inquiry; address misconceptions; highlight connections of concepts, principles, and procedures in topics within the same grade level and across different grade levels; and engage participants in collaborative activities. Its organizing theme is assessment, since assessment greatly influences what is emphasized in classroom teaching and learning.

Science participants collect data from their grassy quadrant

The training program is divided into two parts. Part 1 covered topics for the second and third quarters. It was conducted on August 20-23, 2009 at the Lemery Pilot Elementary School, Batangas. Part 2, tentatively scheduled in November 2009, will cover topics for the fourth and first quarters. Sixteen elementary school science teachers and fifteen elementary school mathematics teachers participated in Part 1 of the program. The teacher-participants were divided into two groups per subject area: the Grades 1-3 Group and Grades 4-6 Group. At the end of the training program, the participants were expected to demonstrate improved understanding of important science and mathematics concepts/principles and their applications, and proficiency in development of assessment items that require higher-order thinking skills (HOTS).

Mathematics participants perform an activity that integrates
the concept of ratio and proportion and probability

From the three-day training program, the participants realized the importance of science inquiry/problem solving and its value in developing the reasoning ability of pupils and helping children apply science/mathematics in real life. They also gained confidence in being a science/mathematics teacher. As a result of what they have learned, the participants plan to provide various activities through which pupils can explore and discover different concepts.