Due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation in the country, the Department of Education (DepEd) continued to implement Blended Learning when it formally opened the School Year (SY) 2021-2022.

Photo from DepEd

Blended Learning, as defined by DepEd, refers to “face-to-face with any or a mix of online distance learning, modular distance learning, and TV/Radio-based Instruction.”

It is designed to enable the schools to “limit face-to-face learning, ensure social distancing, and decrease the volume of people outside the home at any given time.”

While there are challenges in implementing this learning delivery modality on a large scale, three School Division Offices (SDOs) of DepEd proved that Blended Learning can work.

Best practices

DepEd commended the SDOs of Navotas, Isabela, Bacolod, Mandaluyong, and Negros Occidental after they showcased innovative practices in the delivery instruction for blended learning on the second episode of the Educ Forum series early this month.

“I am sure there are many pockets of excellence in blended learning practices in the field and we are confident that the second year of distance learning will be a lot better,” Education Secretary Leonor Briones said.

The team of the SDO Navotas, with the lead of OIC-Schools Division Superintendent Alejandro Ibañez, explained the internal and external assessment framework on distance learning carried out by the schools in the division and the DepEd National Capital Region (NCR), respectively.

The said Division also implemented the use of the Philippine Early Childhood Development (ECD) Checklist to monitor the development of Filipino learners in terms of gross motor, fine motor, self-help, receptive and expressive language, and socio-emotional domains.

“Distance Learning Operationalization allows us to continue exploring possible solutions to our challenges and reflect on processes that are truly effective in our context,” Ibañez said.

“One-size fits all assessment does not also apply in distance learning; hence, flexible and personalized models are adapted,” he added.

The SDO Isabela and Bacolod also featured their contextualized curriculum in the region along with their good radio-based instruction (RBI) and quality assurance practices.

SDO Mandaluyong, meanwhile, revealed how they utilized Facebook messenger for class discussions and parent consultations.

To strengthen the blended distance learning for SY 2021-2022, SDO Mandaluyong is set to implement the Mandunong TV Pilipinas, Gabay at Guro, Frontlearners Training for Teachers, Data Analytics, and E-commerce Pilot classes, and Frontlearners LMS for select grade levels.

In addition, Rebonie Emboltorio, Senior Education Program Specialist of SDO Negros Occidental, shared their “Abanse MMK” program which is a multi-media kit for Grades 1-3 reading refreshers that contains a tablet, Comprehensive Rapid Literacy Assessment (CRLA) tools, sheets, and schedule guides to improve their reading level.

Making it work

Meanwhile, Briones also thanked the teachers and all employees in “braving the challenge of pandemic, thank them for allowing our learners to continue the steps towards achieving their dreams.” Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio also thanked stakeholders for making Blended Learning work amidst these challenging times.

“Maraming salamat po sa patuloy na pakikipag-ugnayan, pakikipaghawak kamay sa Kagawaran ng Edukasyon upang buhayin ang bayanihan nang ang bawat batang Pilipino ay mabigyan ng pagkakataon na maghanda sa mga kinabukasan ng kanilang pangarap (Thank you so much for the continued interaction, holding hands with the Department of Education to revive the bayanihan so that every Filipino child is given the opportunity to prepare for the future of their dreams),” he said.

Composed of various international organizations, NGOs, private sectors, and other educational stakeholders, the Philippine Forum for Quality Basic Education (Educ Forum) provides a platform for consultation, collaborative research and analysis, and high-level advice to strategic basic education policy, planning, and programming.

Photo from DepEd