February 7, 2021
Blended learning (online to support offline) has been warmly accepted by young learners in higher education institutions (HEI) and should be explored along with new pedagogies (teaching methods) that over the long term will result in Philippines’ “brain gain.”
A study of education think-tank Philippine National University (PNU) indicated the use of technologies—internet-based learning and use of laptops-tablets —has been effectively delivering learning goals.
However, more should be done to make local “brain gain” flourish. Enhanced use of technology and new teaching methods that reach out to the financially underprivileged and minorities (indigenous groups), and aid to public school teachers should all be done.
This, while Filipino teachers continue to find greener pastures abroad to be part of the “brain drain” phenomenon that has been on-going for decades.
“Blended learning, standard templates, class schedules, and online rules must be developed (Mancao et al., 2015),” according to the PNU report.
“In any new or innovative strategy to be implemented, it must first be determined if there are enough resources. Instructors must be properly trained, and students must be involved in ensuring that these pedagogies are properly applied.”
PNU”s study led by Dr. Edna Luz Raymundo-Abulon is a compilation of 89 published researches in recognized refereed scientific journals and 38 research reported to the Educational Policy Research and Development Center. The researches were authored by PNU teaching professionals and conducted from 2010 to 2020.
The PNU teacher-researchers are among those that instruct the country’s learners in grade school, high school, college (HEIs), and school teaching leaders and administrators. They are also the teachers in more difficult subjects under STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics).
The use of technology in (via blended modality) in higher education has been proven to be effective. This was especially true for teaching Learning Management Systems—a software for administering of educational or training programs (Balagtas et al. 2018).
“The use of low-cost tablets were implemented in a Teacher Education Institution. It was piloted for a semester. It was found out that learning became enjoyable with the tablet because of the many useful apps that could optimize learning (Cacho et.al, 2017).
Technology can also be used to manage a university’s research – such as the one established in PNU to compile all its researchers as reference for future teachers and leaders.
“A web-based research portal that was developed and provided a fast, systematic, and organized research management system of a university’s research records and activities (Morales et al., 2017).”
Yet, the PNU studies indicated Philippine schools have to invest more in facilities or equipment, trained teachers, graduate education, and efficient systems.
As the national government has been zeroing in on improved education on STEAM courses among college students, recognizing STEAM expertise is critical in innovations and economic development, a PNU research found out that STEAM education in the country is apparently “archaic”.
“A newly developed pedagogical model (for STEAM subjects) that focuses on learning as learner-empowerment and a life-long learning process is much needed (Anito & Morales, 2019).”
There are essential skills that Filipino teachers themselves should be honed in order to be even more effective teachers. Studies showed teacher education students recorded below average scores on critical thinking (Obias, 2015) and metalinguistic knowledge (Munalim & Raymundo, 2014) are quite alarming.
“Being in a profession where the primary task is to impart, evaluate, and create new knowledge, critical thinking is a very important characteristic a teacher must have. Likewise, metalinguistic knowledge is very important among English majors who are expected to teach English grammar to their students,” stressed Abulon.
The report is part of PNU’s mandate under Republic Act 9647, designating PNU as the country’s National Center for Teacher Education (NCTE). It makes PNU a center on innovations and alternative systems and their application to teacher training and development.
Interestingly, many development policies have to be put in place to improve the public school system’s operations in order to make the teaching profession not only more effective but dignified.
A mentoring program for beginning teachers is one of these. Training of new methods for teachers to learn to teach large classes is another. Apparently, some pedagogies are more effective in teaching large classes – such as Lakbay Diwa, peer-team teaching, use of video clips, energizers, and debates.
“Whereby large classes are inevitable, new, innovative, and effective pedagogies must be researched on (Reyes & Dumanhug, 2015).”
While these pedagogical innovations show potential, more research are required in terms of standardizing these methods, the extent of their effectiveness, and whether it would be feasible to implement these in certain schools or laboratories.
“Pedagogies that have to be taught to teachers include include the IDEA (inclusion of prior kfnowledge, dissection of concepts, experiential episodes, and authentic assessment) model for professional education (Sigua, Tuga, Bautista, & Aggarao, 2014) .
Another excellent teaching technique is POE (predict-observe-explain) for science education (Gernale, Arañes, & Duad, 2015).
Teachers likewise have to be helped in completing graduate studies (Rungduin & Miranda 2018) while working as teachers. For they face many difficulties—finances, duties at home or in the family, time management—that hinder graduate education.
Future school administrators-leader should also be developed.
“The preferred type of school leader is one who is concerned about the professional growth of teachers and knowledgeable in the use of data in improving leadership practices (Ancho 2010).”
Teachers need professional development on content knowledge and pedagogy along the following strands: content knowledge and pedagogy, positive use of ICT or information communication technology, strategies for developing critical and creative thinking, higher order skills, research-based knowledge and principles of teaching and learning; personal development training is also needed (Guiab, Ganal & Sario 2017).
These are other notable researches of PNU in the last 10-11 years:
1. Internationalization of teacher education will uplift Philippines’ teaching-learning standards. One study led to the development of a tool consists of a rubric of indicators of internationalization which Philippine TEIs may use to assess their current standing in this aspect of development compared to other countries’ (Balagtas, Papango, Reyes, Ubiña, & Atweh, 2012).
2. Schools should review the cost-sharing and cost-recovery issues of its tuition fee policies to determine its efficiency and sustainability (Ferrer, Hermosisima, & Abulencia, 2014). Sometimes, a moderate increase in schools’ tuition fees result in tremendous improvement in operations.
3. How teacher education program is managed and the environment provided to teachers matter in their performance.
Administrators and principals should have a well-defined management plan to improve or sustain their school climate and strengthen teachers’ organization commitment (Simbre and Ancho (2019). Principals or school heads must be trained in management.
It is not enough that they are good teachers. Their positions require additional skills. TEIs must consider these in their graduate programs.
4. The university canteen must be aware of the nutritional needs of the students. Policies with regard to providing only healthy foods must be made (Mancao et al., 2014).
5. Disaster education programs must be part of the curriculum. Programs that aim to develop competencies of students, faculty members, and staff in dealing with disasters must be implemented (Garcia et al., 2015).
6. “The issue of teachers leaving the Philippines to find work abroad is nothing new. Nevertheless, it would be good to pay attention to their experiences (abroad) in order to address possible brain drain in the country,” said ABulon.
Arviola et al. (2019) found that teachers leave mainly due to low wages in the Philippines and difficulty of acquiring teaching plantilla. When provided enough financial and career support, they are still willing to get reintegrated in the teaching profession in the Philippines (Sario 2019).
7. To improve higher education curriculum, it is important to benchmark, such as demonstrated in the study by Ganal (2017) with other countries.
8. Exploring the outcomes of curriculum for indigenous groups abroad (such as one conducted in Canada) may be useful for the country to follow as model its IP groups.
The University of Ottawa’s curriculum for indigenous groups is now useful in the development of a local IP education program (Ganal, 2017)
Another study on IP education indicated IP students feel more discriminated when placed in a separate section. However, this system also showed strength in handling bulling of minorities.
Policies should also take into account not just the problems and challenges but also the strengths of indigenous people students (e.g., Reyes, 2018).
9. The importance of addressing issues related to gender is also salient in research in higher education. Gender education and programs should be included in higher education curriculum.
Valencia and Reyes (2018) disclosed that the process of transformative methodology in women-teacher studies showed the value that many women have contributed to world events and positive developments.
Rungduin (2019) explored the life stories of women whose lives were changed through their participation in university-designated extension programs. These women became advocates of change in terms of empowerment. And this led to their male partners seeing them as equals.
10. It is important to find out how to better facilitate learning for students living in poverty.
A model that emphasizes the need for teachers to adapt for low income students without forgetting or sacrificing the needs for students who are not economically disadvantages was proposed.
“A context-sensitive and responsive (CSR) Model of Pedagogical Strategies for Poor Students was developed (Reyes, Rungduin, David & Bayten 2018).”
11. Since there is minority population—the LGBT (lesbians and gays) — whose importance in national skills cannot be undervalued, a study was also conducted to uncover the factors related to the emergence of sexual orientation from a Filipino perspective. (Arcilla 2019)
“There could be a general sexual identity realization process that LGBT individuals go through—from awareness of difference from gender-typical peers, to self-consciousness and adoption of preferred sexual identity.
13. Policies must be developed with regard to ensuring that the curriculum is updated and responsive to the current needs of the learners, and that archaic ways which no longer serve their purpose must not be retained (e.g., Anito & Morales, 2019). This could also be done by making sure that results or information on researches on the curriculum are well distributed.
16. Studies revealed that tertiary students have adapted certain learning modes– sensing, sequential, visual, and reflective type of learners (Oxiño, 2010). This information can be useful in determining what teaching-learning approaches can be used for them.
17. Sabate (2019) assessed middle-level managers of SUCs (state universities and colleges) found Filipino value-bound management functions. These are important school functions leaders have to the skills to implement– educational leadership for school development, curriculum management for student learning, school environment, staff management, resource management, and community building.
“This information provides insight as to what educational managers value and their priorities for the development of the higher education sector.”
18. Scholarships and financial assistance is a way universities can provide help in educating deserving but financially challenged students. Therefore, they should be properly administered.
19. The library is an important part of knowledge management in schools. Antonio et al. (2019) conducted an assessment of a university library and identified students’ needs.
“There is a need for the university library to embark on new programs, activities, and services that would enhance user satisfaction and increase the frequency of visits to the library.”
The Library and Information Science Programs should also improve (Antonio and Porteza 2017). There is a need to improve the marketing of such program, encourage its graduates to take licensure exams for teachers, and enhance the ICT and writing skills of its
students. Likewise, the facilities should be enhanced.
20. There are also studies focusing on teachers’ financial status (Ferrer, 2017; 2018). These show the poor financial status of teachers.
Being in debt is a common challenge to them as most teachers belong to the lowest teacher rank with insufficient earning capability and the lack of financial literacy. Another study concerns the common malpractices in the educational system. These include corruption and misconduct Ancho et al. (2019) and Ferrer (2018).
Salary grades (Ferrer, 2017; 2018) need to be reviewed since there is a call for uplifting the standards and qualifications of teachers. Their compensation must be commensurate to the roles and expectations put upon them.
21. The role of the university encompasses that of research and education but should also involve active participation in making positive change in the community.
Osborne et al. (2019) explored the relationship between rhetoric engagement and resilience particularly of migrants and refugees in universities in the Philippines and Italy. The research provides insights regarding the community engagement role of universities. (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)