Monday, September 23, 2013

Two hundred thirty eight (238) trainers of Grade 8 science from all over the country attended the Training of Trainers (TOT) held at NISMED in April 2013. The TOT comprised of two batches. Batch 1, which was participated in by 117 trainers from the Visayas and Mindanao cluster, was held on 15 to 19 April 2013. Batch 2, which was composed of 121 trainers from the Luzon cluster, was held on 22 to 26 April 2013. Participants for this year’s TOT were a combination of returning and new trainers.

The TOT aimed to explain the rationale, philosophy, and features of science in the K to 12 curriculum; explain the spiraling of concepts within a science discipline and across disciplines; apply inquiry-based teaching of science in Grade 8; and demonstrate how content and inquiry skills are interwoven in the teaching of specific science concepts using the Learner’s Module and Teacher’s Guide written for Grade 8.

During the plenary session on Science in the K to 12 Curriculum, Dr. Marlene B. Ferido provided the framework on which the selected activities for each quarter of Grade 8 were anchored. The session emphasized how the concepts and skills at each grade level develop with increasing depth. Mr. Joseph Jacob of the Bureau of Secondary Education, DepEd explained the evaluation process of students’ performance using DepEd’s levels of proficiency. Ms. Sylvia Garde shared how Intel could be a support system for K to 12 trainers in their respective regions. Dr. Corazon Salumbides on the other hand had a short demo of Philippine Foundation for Science and Technology (PFST) Lab in a Box for Microscale Chemistry. For the second day of the TOT, Dr. Paraluman Giron explained the Program Milestones of the Enhanced Basic Education (K to 12) Program as well as an overview of facilitation skills. On the last day of the training, before going back to their respective regions, Dr. Beatriz Torno gave an inspirational message and challenged the trainers to actively participate in the mass training of science teachers in their respective regions.

The participants had the opportunity to perform the activities found in the learner’s module for Grade 8. The actual inquiry-based lessons were performed by the participants to model and discuss what is involved in inquiry learning. The activities in each module start with a key question that would trigger inquiry among students. There are also questions embedded in each activity that facilitate the learning or understanding of science concepts and the development of science process skills. These activities and strategies help teachers to explain better or draw out from their students the essential concepts, processes, and principles in science. Students on the other hand are provided with opportunities to develop their critical thinking, communication, and science process skills.

Actual performance of Grade 8 activities involving science concepts and principles gave the teacher-trainers confidence to enable them to guide the teachers in the regional training on how inquiry skills could be developed among students. The participants experienced how to implement inquiry-based activities so that students are actively engaged in the learning process.

In Grade 8, teachers guide students to a higher level of explaining ideas and concepts beyond their sensory perceptions. In each quarter of Grade 8 Science, the first lesson starts with determining the prior knowledge of students. The understanding of these concepts and skills are deepened through varied hands-on and minds-on activities using inquiry-based teaching. The lessons highlight the relevance of the science topics with real life and the connections across disciplines. This approach prepares students in tackling more difficult science concepts in higher grade levels.

The conduct of the training of trainers was able to demonstrate the spiral progression of concepts within a quarter, across quarters of Grade 8, and across grade levels in Science. It was also able to demonstrate the following inquiry-based strategies: use of simulations, analogies, multimedia resources, photo analysis, probing techniques, concept mapping, representing ideas through illustrations/drawings, construction of a setup (e.g., electrical circuits) without describing a step-by-step procedure but simply giving a set of materials for learners to use, and short guided investigations.

The 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. Part of the training design was a trip to the Science Centrum, Riverbanks, Marikina for a short visit. This was included to expose participants on how a science museum is managed and how it helps promote scientific literacy among the public.

The training team and facilitators for the TOT on Grade 8 science are as follows: