Monday, September 3, 2012

The UP NISMED science (secondary) and mathematics (elementary and secondary) staff conducted interviews and administered interview questionnaires to 20 science teachers, 28 mathematics teachers and 2 science department heads from 4 public schools (1 elementary and 3 high schools) in Pasig City and Quezon City involved in Collaborative Lesson Research and Development (CLRD) in January and February, 2011.

Based on their responses, all the science and mathematics teachers expressed gains for both teachers and students such as: being able to address science misconceptions held by teachers, learning of additional teaching skills and strategies such as teaching mathematics through problem solving, classroom management skills, and preparation of materials for teaching. Moreover, the collaborative undertaking helped them realize that there are many "ways of making the lesson more understandable." Hence, it is possible to develop a good lesson because, as the mathematics teachers mentioned, "being together, we can share ideas and insights which are very important inputs in developing a lesson. By sharing ideas, each one learned from each other." In the same vein, the science teachers expressed that they "learned how to accept mistakes and correct" them because of the unity, openness, trust, and camaraderie experienced while working together which give confidence in teaching. It is beautifully expressed by a teacher in Quezon City -- "It destroys the wall between senior and new teachers."

The teachers also noted that the CLRD experience had a positive impact on the students. According to the science teachers, the learners became more responsive, interested, well-motivated, and eager to learn. It was noted by the mathematics teachers that with the student centered lessons, mathematics students could be eager, creative, and imaginative in doing problem-solving tasks. Given the opportunity to think and explore independently, the students can come up with different solutions to solve a problem. In addition to the development of skills in thinking and communication, the students' self-esteem increased and they were satisfied with the group learning experiences.

However, about a third of the science teachers expressed difficulty in planning the lessons and activities due to time constraints. Another difficulty seems to be related to the implementation of the lesson. A teacher expressed nervousness on being observed. Similarly, the mathematics teachers expressed difficulty in developing activities and problems that would be used in the lessons, and in anticipating the questions students may pose. During implementation of the lessons, the mathematics teachers noted the following difficulties: how to handle/process unexpected responses of students, elicit responses from them, and implement the lessons in the lower sections.

In general, the teachers recommended the continuation of the collaboration. They suggested that more time and more meetings for planning and critiquing are needed along with the involvement and participation of more, (and younger) teachers, and administrators. In addition, some even expressed the desire to make the CLRD activity twice a year instead of only once and to include more topics and activities, as well as the use of the language preferred by the students.

Although they differed in their involvements - one as observer, and the other, as part of the team, the two science department heads appreciated the collaborative effort which helped in improving both teachers and students. They are also one with the teachers for the continuance of the project because of the benefits in terms of enhancing teachers' knowledge of strategies and content, and time management.

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