Monday, August 17, 2009

Studies show that there is a close relationship between students’ achievement and the knowledge, skills, and practices of their teachers. It means that what teachers know and can do is crucial to what students learn. Teachers who know a lot about teaching and learning and who work in environments that allow them to know students well are critical to successful learning. What teachers understand about content and students, shapes how sensibly they select from textbooks and other instructional materials and how effectively they present these materials in class. Their skill in assessing students’ progress depends also on how deeply they themselves know the content, and how well they can understand and interpret students’ verbal answers and written work. Nothing can fully compensate for the weakness of a teacher who lacks the knowledge and skill needed to help students master the curriculum.

NISMED is aware that teachers’ effectiveness depends not only on the amount and kind of teacher education and disciplinary training they have had but also on the professional development opportunities they experience while practicing their profession. NISMED believes that the extent of teachers’ preparation in methods, curriculum, and teaching is as important in predicting effectiveness as is preparation in science and mathematics itself. We acknowledge that students who are taught by fully effective science and mathematics teachers experience significantly greater gains in achievement than those who are taught by nonmajors. We are conscious that the concept of educational quality extends beyond knowledge and skills in key subject areas. It includes broad outcomes including students’ self concept, their social skills, their engagement with learning, and their overall well being. Hence, we expose our teachers on how to do investigations and problem solving in science and mathematics and integrate technology in teaching. We developed inquiry based/problem-based science and mathematics curriculum frameworks which show how these disciplines relate to the socio-cultural aspects of life. We formulated standards for science teachers so that they work to become reflective and critical thinkers and life-long learners. All these experiences help teachers “let students shine.”

Letting Student Shine is the theme of the seminar-workshop being organized by NISMED and DepED in October 2009. Visit out website and check on our latest publications and research studies, as well as schedules of training. And thank you for making NISMED a part of your professional career.

NISMED, in celebration of its 45th anniversary, will hold a National Seminar-Workshop in Elementary School Science and Mathematics Education on October 28-30, 2009 at UP NISMED, Diliman, Quezon City. The theme of the seminar-workshop is Let Children Shine. Its sub-theme is Assessment for Learning (A4L) and includes Innovative Assessments, Using Test Results to Improve Curriculum and Instruction, Advocating Policy Reforms to Improve Assessment Practices, and Assessment Towards Scientific and Mathematical Literacy.

The seminar-workshop will feature plenary presentations, workshops, and sharing of research findings that aim to: a) update teachers, administrators, educators, and researchers on innovative, creative, and productive assessment practices which sharpen children’s scientific and mathematical thinking skills and dispositions; b) enable participants to draw significant implications in improving the curriculum, teaching, and learning from findings in classroom, district, regional, national, and international assessment tests; c) familiarize participants with assessment approaches that determine and promote scientific and mathematical literacy; d) provide the participants the opportunity to formulate action plans/assessment agenda for policy reforms that address counterproductive assessment practices in classroom and extracurricular activities; and, e) create networking opportunities for various elementary school science and mathematics teacher organizations.

Elementary science and mathematics teachers, faculty of teacher education institutions (TEIs), principals, supervisors, superintendents, researchers, test item developers, textbook writers, and curriculum developers are invited to submit their procedures for conducting a workshop or abstracts of their research findings related to the sub-themes and attend the seminar-workshop. Deadline for submission is on September 30, 2009. The registration fees are: PhP 3,500 for early birds (on or before September 15, 2009) and PhP 4,000 (after September 15, 2009). The fee will cover 3 lunches, 6 snacks, and the conference kit.

For seminar-workshop details, contact Dr. Soledad A. Ulep at telephone numbers 9283545 (telefax) 9281563/ 9818500 loc. 3901 to 3910, e-mail:, or mail: The Director, UP NISMED, UP Diliman, Quezon City 1101.

A three-month program on managing teacher education with particular focus on curriculum design and improvement of teacher education programs in a gender sensitive way started April 13, 2009 and will end on July 3, 2009. The main objective of the training is to enhance the capacity of three (3) faculty members of the University of Education (UE) in Pakistan on strategies and approaches of managing teacher education programs with particular focus on curriculum design, improvement, and evaluation in a learner-centered and gender-sensitive way. The program is also aimed at strengthening their skills in the use of the backward curriculum design model including student assessment for learning, quality assurance in teacher education, and use of web technologies in teacher education.

In particular, the program has the following objectives: enhance capacity of three faculty members of the University of Education, who are also members of the Board of Studies of UE, in curriculum decision making, curriculum design, process and procedures in curriculum improvement and curriculum leadership in a gender sensitive manner; strengthen participants’ capabilities to (a) design, monitor and evaluate implementation of the curriculum in the university, (b) implement an inquiry-oriented curricula that employ appropriate pedagogy, learning technologies, and assessment, and (c) develop strategies for possible change mechanisms in all aspects and levels of the educational process that could eventually influence knowledge, beliefs, values and attitudes of teachers; and increase participants’ confidence level to introduce curriculum reforms taking into consideration various factors such as culture and context, variations across sites, nature of teaching and learning, and classroom environment.

The three scholars in residence are Mr. Khalid Saleem, Lecturer, Okara Campus; Ms. Zarghuna Naseem, Assistant Professor, Bank Road Campus; and, Dr. Asad Gulzar, Associate Professor, Township Campus. Learning from this program will help the participants in ensuring the transformation of their university’s teacher education curricular programs.

The High School Earth/Environmental Science, Chemistry and Physics Groups of NISMED conducted a professional development program for 34 Physical Science Teachers of Regional Science High Schools on April 20-24, 2009 at the Science Teacher Training Center (STTC), UP NISMED. This program was designed specifically for physical sciences teachers of regional science high schools. The content of the course was holistic and integrative to enable these teachers to use the backward design model. The model enabled the teachers to break away from teaching that is grounded in textbook coverage only, which leaves students with a superficial grasp of key science ideas and with misunderstandings about what teachers thought they had learned.

Dr. Amelia Punzalan orients the participants regarding the training program.

The program provided opportunities for the participants to: (1) become aware of the “enduring” understandings that will anchor a physical science teaching unit, i.e., the big ideas at the heart of the discipline having enduring value beyond the classroom which are based on the six facets of understanding (explain, interpret, apply, perspective, empathy and self-knowledge); (2) recognize and critique essential questions, which provide the focus and direction for sustaining inquiry and for organizing meaningful and connected learning, as part of instructional units; (3) determine acceptable evidence that students have attained the desired understanding and proficiencies before proceeding to plan teaching and learning experiences; (4) plan learning experiences and instruction organized around enduring understandings and their essential questions; (5) work collaboratively and cooperatively with others to solve problems and arrive at a collective decision; (6) undertake independent study and develop good time management; (7) present their draft unit plans before the class for feedback; and (8) correct their own misconceptions during the discussions and sharing of feedback.

Sessions for the five-day program were conducted in two modes: plenary and workshops. The outputs of the participants were unit plans in their respective science subject area which included assessment tasks with accompanying rubrics to assess performance standards.

The InfoSci team composed of Celia Balbin, Mona Sasing and John Reyroso facilitated the Intel® Teach Getting Started and Skills for Success courses for faculty members of the University of the Philippines Visayas Cebu College at the college’s Interactive Learning Center in Lahug, Cebu City on May 25-30, 2009.

Twelve faculty members from the Professional Education division, Natural Sciences and Mathematics division, and Department of Computer Science completed the six-day Master Trainers Training together with four faculty members from Cebu Normal University’s College of Education. Using word processing, electronic spreadsheet, and multimedia software, the participants created a variety of materials and tools meant to enhance their productivity and support student centered teaching practices. They also engaged in action planning and practice teaching to describe how they intend to apply the new technology skills and approaches in their own classrooms.

Participants practiced how to be a “critical friend” to one another as they shared reflections and showcased their products. They discussed practices and role-played scenarios on effective facilitation strategies. By experiencing thematic instruction, relevance, active exploration, choice and autonomy, cycle of creation, authentic feedback, and teacher as facilitator, they were able to reflect on the benefits of creating and fostering in their own classrooms a learning environment that has these key elements.

Ms. Mona Sasing (first row, third from right) with the participants of the training program.

The training was sponsored by Intel Technology Philippines, Inc. and the University of the Philippines Visayas Cebu College, in collaboration with UP NISMED, the Foundation for Information Technology Education and Development (FIT-ED), and Cebu Normal University.

UP NISMED conducted a summer enrichment course for 48 Physics majors in the Bachelor of Secondary Education Programs from selected Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs). The three-week course, conducted in two batches on April 13-30, 2009 and May 5-22, 2009, prepared prospective physics teachers for their role as curriculum designers and equipped these future teachers in developing learning activities that promote maximum student understanding using the backward curriculum design model. In the backward design model, the teacher starts with the end, the desired results, and then determines the acceptable levels of evidence of students’ attainment of the desired understanding. These then become the basis for planning the learning experiences and the teaching sequence.

Participants doing experiments in electricity and magnetism.

Participants of the course were students of Philippine Normal University, West Visayas State University, Western Mindanao State University, Bicol University, Camarines Sur Polytechnic College, St. Mary’s University and University of the Philippines in Diliman.

Classroom teachers need to acquire strategies in facilitating development of higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) and problem-solving/process skills and to know when a student has developed these skills. They need to acquire skills in developing assessment tasks that could accurately measure the students’ conceptual understanding in mathematics/science and measure their ability to analyze and solve problems as a result of their understanding. Moreover, they must also know how to select the most important mathematics/science skills and processes to assess and to ensure that the most appropriate form of assessment is utilized. It is in this context that the seminar-workshop was undertaken.

Ms. Edna Callanta guides the participants in formulating test items in Mathematics.

A total of 63 science and mathematics teachers from 14 public elementary schools and two public high schools in the District of Limay, Bataan attended the seminar-workshop that was sponsored by Alstom Foundation, Inc. The seminarworkshop was held on May 28-30, 2009 at the Alstom Clubhouse, Alangin, Limay, Bataan. It consisted of lectures and workshops. The plenary lecture on Assessing Student Learning Effectively focused on the meaning of assessment and why it is considered a powerful tool for influencing the learning process, the different types of assessment and the salient features of each type, the three cognitive domains and the accompanying thinking skills under each domain in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) framework, and scoring objectively constructedresponse items and other authentic assessment formats using rubrics. The parallel lectures in Science and Mathematics centered on developing HOTS and the guidelines on formulating good multiple-choice and constructed-response items. In the two parallel workshops, the participants developed, critiqued, and revised assessment items. The following criteria for critiquing were followed: (1) congruency of the lesson objective and the test item; (2) accuracy of the correct answer/s; (3) plausibility of the incorrect choices for multiple-choice items and clarity of the scoring rubric table for constructed-response items, and (4) accuracy of the illustrations and their labels, if there are any.

A total of 191 stargazers trooped to UP NISMED Observatory to view the Moon, Jupiter, and Saturn on April 2-3, 2009. This public stargazing activity was part of the 100 Hours of Astronomy event. Mr. Eligio Obille, Jr. of the High School Earth/Environmental Science Group together with members of the UP Astronomical Society facilitated this activity.

Some of the stargazers who participated in the 100 Hours of Astronomy event.

The 100 hours of Astronomy, a cornerstone project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, is a worldwide event consisting of a wide range of public outreach activities, live science centres, research observatory webcasts and sidewalk astronomy events. One of the key goals of this undertaking is to have as many people as possible look through a telescope as Galileo did for the first time 400 years ago.

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.

Friday, August 14, 2009

UP NISMED, through its Information Science Group, provided training support and monitored the conduct of the Intel® Teach Skills for Success (SFS) Training for USAIDGEM-supported schools in Mindanao on May 5-8, 2009 at the College of Education of Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) in Iligan City. The training was organized by Intel® Teach Philippines and USAID-GEM with the training team composed of selected Intel® Teach Faculty and National Trainers from MSU-IIT and the Division of Iligan City.

UP NISMED, represented by Monalisa T. Sasing of the Information Science Group, provided timely assistance during training preparation sessions. A total of four Intel® Teach Program trainers benefitted from this training support mechanism as they gained new strategies in delivering UP NISMED Provides Training Support to Intel® Teach SFS Training for USAID-GEM Schools sessions on essential 21st century skills, the student-centered approach, higher-order thinking skills, and facilitation skills which were four of the main contents of the SFS training. This training support mechanism also trained program trainers to be more reflective on their role as trainers through the immediate feedback given during daily debriefing sessions.

Intel® Teach Philippines, commissioned UP NISMED in 2008 to provide training support and monitoring Intel® Teach trainings to ensure quality conduct of the training and to validate compliance with the program’s requirements on entry qualifications of participants as well as the technical specifications of training facilities. It also aimed to gather participants’ feedback on the training and the performance of program trainers. The said training is the eighth training site monitored by UP NISMED since April 2008.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Welcome to NISMED

Rolando M. Tan is a B.S. Public Health graduate from UP Manila. He joined the Elementary School Science Group on April 15, 2009 as a Science Education Specialist I.

Dennis L. Danipog joined the High School Chemistry Group on May 11, 2009 as a Science Education Specialist I. He obtained his M.A. in Chemistry Education from UP Diliman.

Michael Anthony B. Mantala obtained his B.S. Biology (Microbiology) degree from UP Los BaƱos. he joined the High School Biology Group on May 11, 2009 as a Science Education Specialist I.

Ivy P. Mejia graduated from the Pangasinan State University with a Bachelor of Secondary Education degree. She joined the High School Earth/Environmental Science Group as a Science Education Associate II on May 11, 2009.

Mariel T. Atregenio obtained hewr B.S.E. Math (Magna Cum Laude and M.A. Math degrees from UP Diliman. She joined the Elementary School Mathematics Group as a Science Education Specialist I on July 1, 2009.

Good Luck Ms. Fe!!!!

After 42 years of fruitful and dedicated service to the Institute, Ms. Fe S. de Guzman of the Elementary School Science Group retired on June 7, 2009. She was chair of the Research and Evaluation Group from 1996-1998 and from 2001-2006.

The Institute gave a tribute in her honor, on June 8, 2009 at the STTC auditorium. Her immediate family, former colleagues, and staff of UP NISMED joined in the celebration. The short ceremony was capped by a presentation of a video documentary about Ms. Fe’s life with the Institute.