By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL and PARTICIA LOURDES VIRAY
MANILA – Part of the preparations of the Department of Education (DepEd) in the implementation of the K to 12 program is to train public school teachers. However, teachers noted that trainings they have undergone were rushed and not well thought of. France Castro, secretary general of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said the time spent for teachers’ training is not enough. “There are lots of new things for teachers to learn in order to implement the new curriculum. One to two months training is not enough. Is this what the DepEd calls as in-depth training of teachers?”
The DepEd will implement the K to 12 program for the incoming grade one and grade seven or first year high school students in all public schools nationwide. The mandatory kindergarten, which is part of the said program, was already implemented by DepEd last school year.
Grades 11 and 12 or senior high school (SHS) will be implemented in school year 2016-2017.
Dante A. Verdera, 49, a technical and livelihood education (TLE) and Araling Panlipunan teacher in Godofredo M. Tan Memorial School in Nueva Ecija said their training was in haste. “We underwent training for only 10 days for a subject that we will teach for one year,” Verdera told Bulatlat.com. He is a teacher for the incoming grade seven students.
He called the training half-baked. “We have a thick training module, about 300 pages, that we have to study. During our training, we were up until midnight just to study the module. That is not good because we were cramming. We were forcing ourselves to learn something that takes time to learn,” he said.
Not only that, Castro added, teaching guidelines and learning modules have not yet been distributed to teachers. “Supposedly teaching guidelines and learning modules are given to teachers while they are on training. But, according to the teachers who underwent the training, some of them have yet to receive the said materials.”
Regina E. Ramos, 49, teacher of MAPEH (Music, Arts, Physical Education and Health) in Navotas National High School said they received their module, but it is still incomplete, up to the second grading period only. “Our training was rushed, and the materials they distributed are not even complete. What are we going to use for the third and fourth grading periods? It’ll be difficult to teach without a reference material,” Ramos said in an interview with Bulatlat.com.
Ramos said she asked their trainers about the modules for the third and fourth grading periods and they told her that the department would just act on it when the time comes.
Lolita Rubante, grade one teacher at Western New Elementary School also lamented, “The program is good, but it is much better if the materials are also complete. If they (government) really want a good outcome and they want our education system to be like other countries, they should provide us with the complete materials.”
She said they already foresaw the problems even before the trainings began. “We already predicted that there would be a lack of materials, lack of preparation. They revised the curriculum but they did not provide us with the materials,” Rubante told Bulatlat.com.
Flody Hernandez, Filipino teacher for grade seven at the Ramon Magsaysay High School –Cubao also said, “Trainers from DepEd discussed the program and how we are going to implement it. However, the problem lies in the lack of materials. The reference book on K 12 is really not enough,” Hernandez said.
Public school teachers believe in the objectives of the K to 12 program, as it will use the mother tongue language as medium of instruction in grades one to three. However, the implementation of the said program is not well-planned. Teachers were trained at a very short time and teaching guides are not massively distributed. Ramos, together with other public school teachers, believe that to properly implement the “flagship” program of President Benigno “Noynoy” S. Aquino III, enough time for teachers’ training is essential.
‘Good teachers are essential’
Columnist and teacher Queena N. Lee-Chua said in her one column about the K to 12 program, “To implement the K to 12 curriculum properly, good teachers are essential.”
In her column titled, “Preparing teachers for the big reform” Chua cited the June 2010 Ched (Commission on Higher Education) Zonal Research Project where tests were given to students of Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education majoring in math, biology and english to measure their knowledge and skills. The study showed poor results.
According to Chua, “The researchers said, if 75 percent is the benchmark for the minimum amount of actual learning, math majors achieved an average mean of 51.59 percent; English, 51.67 and biology, 37.86 percent.”
The 2006 survey by the National Teachers College covering students majoring in math also showed poor results. “Scores of future elementary teachers ranged from 55 to 73 percent, while their secondary counterparts scored even lower, 53 to 65 percent,” Chua said.
Chua’s column rooted the incompetency of teachers to the lack of academic conferences and seminar workshops, lack of resources such as availability of instructional materials, most specially updated references, among others. Same also goes to the trainings of teachers and the hasty implementation of the new curriculum for school year 2012-2013.
Are teachers competent or even ready to implement the K to 12 curriculum for grades one and seven? Verdera doubted . “With the short time given to us, I doubt if we really are ready for this reform in our education sector.”
“We study for four years and even take another year to pass the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) before we could become teachers. The DepEd must be dreaming when it expects that teachers can properly implement the new curriculum with only days or weeks of training,” Castro said.