Friday, February 21, 2014

Four training groups of trainers (ToTs) for Grade 1 and Grade 7 science and mathematics teachers of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were conducted in November 2013. The trainings were dubbed as “Support for the Management of an Improved Learning Environment (SMILE)” and served as a supplemental training on science and mathematics for elementary and high school trainers. The training of Grade 1 Mathematics, Grade 7 and Grade 1 Science were simultaneously conducted on 18-22 November 2013. The first two were held at NISMED while the third one at the Waterfront Insular Hotel, Davao City. Grade 7 Mathematics training was also held at the Waterfront Insular Hotel, Davao City on 25-29 November 2013. These teacher trainings were funded by the Autralian Aid (AusAid) through the Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao (BEAM), DepEd ARMM, and CardNo.

The participants actively participate in their
hands-on earth science activities 
A total of 200 participants were trained on inquiry-based science teaching and problem-solving based mathematics teaching which included an orientation to the K to 12 curriculum, a workshop on TIMSS- based test item construction for the Grade 1 Science and a collaborative lesson planning, presentation and implementation for the Grades 1 and 7 Mathematics. Though science as a subject formally starts in Grade 3 level, the objective of the Grade 1 Science training was focused on integrating science across the different subject areas to slowly introduce among learners the basic science skills.

The objectives of the trainings conducted were to: 1) explain the rationale, philosophy, and features of science and mathematics in the K to 12 curriculum; 2) show spiralling within a science/mathematics concepts and interconnections across concepts; 3) apply inquiry-based teaching in science and the problem-solving approach in mathematics in Grades 1 and 7; and 4) demonstrate how content and inquiry/problem-solving skills are interwoven in the teaching of specific science/mathematics concepts using the training modules written for Grades 1 and 7.

During the plenary sessions, participants had the opportunity to become familiar and conversant with the rationale, philosophy, standards, and learning competencies in the science and mathematics curriculum for Grades 1 and 7 of the new K to 12 curriculum. The high school science 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. Moreover, the elementary trainers were also oriented on the new TIMSS cognitive domains and the advantages of developing the appropriate science process among their pupils. 

In the workshops, all trainer-participants were able to experience hands-on science and mathematics activities playing the role of a Grade 1 or Grade 7 pupil/student. Mathematics trainers also had the opportunity to develop a lesson collaboratively incorporating the strategy of teaching through problem solving, strengthening the spirit of “teamwork.” The participants were also enabled to have an opportunity to discuss the development of concepts in learners as well as misconceptions that may arise. 

The workshop on assessment among the elementary science gained a positive response among the participants as they were given the chance to present and constructively critique each other’s work to improve the items and to eliminate the development of misconceptions. The high school science participants experienced how to implement hands-on, minds-on activities so that students are actively engage and are capable of drawing out the concepts. These activities involved various strategies which are appropriate to the development of the specific concepts included in Grade 7 learning competencies.

The participants from Maguindanao II Division pose
with the officials from DepEd-ARMM, training staff from NISMED,
and Dr. William Welms of BEAM-ARMMM after the closing program. 
The training as a whole had a positive feedback from across the different groups. “There is always something new that I get from every session and I also feel privileged because I might be an instrument when I go back to our station and so whatever I have learned from the four corners of this session hall, I will be able to relate to other teachers who will also deliver these teaching methods to the learners,” says Ms. Mary Ann Jamil of the Sulu Division for the Elementary School Science Group. 

The participants are expected to conduct roll-out training sessions among all Grades 1 and Grade 7 science and mathematics teachers all over the ARMM region starting January 2014.