‘Blinded’ learning


Jullie Y. Daza

The father of a child enrolled in a classroom at home for distance or blended learning put it best when he said, “Ang nanay, maraming natututo.” (Mothers, they’re the ones learning much.)

As parents and kids are finding out, the strategy is to let mama do the guiding and teaching, not to mention the homework, unless she needs to go out to work. Under today’s abnormal education system where mama must be as smart as a teaching assistant, blended learning sounds like a place where we’re groping blindly on our hands and knees, trying to get used to the dark and avoid bumping into the furniture.

A 15-year-old pointed out that the term distance or blended learning may not apply to private schools. “I prefer to call it online learning,” Maya said. Distance learning? Digital technology has abolished the problem of traffic wasting time on the road due to long distances. As for blended learning, what’s there to blend? She and her classmates depend entirely on their computers, laptops, or smartphones without bothering with so-called modules that are used in public schools and distributed, checked, collected by teachers. Teachers or postmen?

In the private sector and for a semblance of decorum, everyone in Maya’s “class” wears a uniform that’s more casual than the “real” one. While most kids yearn for a return to the old pre-pandemic system, Maya is happy that she’s free to set her own pace and self-study without the slow learners pulling her down to their speed.

At the end of the day or in the middle of recess, the success of DepEd’s distance/blended learning will depend on MINA: Motivation or how to open the universe to the curious. Innovation on the part of teachers who think out of the box or better yet create their own box. Narration or the art of telling stories to illustrate a lesson. Application or how to make use of those lessons and stories in real life.

Congratulations to Sabrina Ongkiko, master teacher of Culiat Elementary School, Quezon City, one of four teacher-awardees in this year’s Metrobank Foundation’s Search for Outstanding Filipinos. Thank you, Teacher Sabrina, for showing, sharing the fun in teaching-learning!