COPING WITH BLENDED LEARNING

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Last Monday, October 5th, learners and teachers formally started the implementation of blended learning in the country as an option to allow the conduct of regular classes for schoolyear 2020-2021 after the twice being rescheduled due to the serious negative impact of the Corona virus Disease (COVID) 29 not only to the economy but also in various aspects of life.

Evidently, there were various birth pains in the roll out of the blended type of learning because of numerous intervening factors that could be traced to the preparedness of the government, the schools, the teachers, the parents, the students, and even the community, in responding to the issues and concerns emerging from the new situation in the country’s education sector. During the first days of classes, both students and teachers encountered difficulty in the internet signals, some had problems in getting the attention of students to the lessons scheduled for the day, while there are some printed modules that have several errors, among other problems that transpired, in the course of the blended classes.

The education department, together with the concerned stakeholders, worked double time to prepare for the class opening and to proceed with the present schoolyear so as not to unduly interrupt the learning of the students and the momentum of the teachers in trying to provide the best they can for their students. It was really difficult on the part of the education department to prepare the teachers for the different approaches to be implemented under the blended learning approach, unlike in the face-to-face learning where teachers had to prepare a single lesson plan and were able to see for themselves firsthand the learning needs of their students.

Despite the initial birth pains in the implementation of this, education officials time and again declared that the government is ready for the implementation of blended learning and that students have the option to choose on what mode of learning to adopt, whether through online, printed module, or a combination of both modalities.

In the present situation, parents play a key role in guiding their children to the right direction as we are in a fighting mood to combat the spread of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID) 2019 in our midst. Right from the start, parents should have given their children the proper advice on what mode of learning to take. However, it seems that the same did not happen as there had students who were reported to have embraced the online mode when the internet signal in their places is not that strong. Worst, there were some children who took advantage of the situation to pressure their parents to buy for them gadgets which they will use for their supposed online learning when there is no available internet signal in their places.

The education department did not require parents or students to have their own gadgets for the implementation of blended learning. What had been done was that the education department presented several ways by which students can pursue their studies even with the ongoing health pandemic that is why the parents should have been wise enough in helping their children decide on what mode of learning to undertake.

We salute the parents and children who had the foresight in choosing the right mode of learning suitable to their situation. Obviously, most students in both urban and rural areas still opted to embrace the printed modules as their mode of learning, while there are some that embraced blend off-printed module and through the radio and television that serve as added instructional materials. What is currently happening in the present situation is for everyone to adjust to the prevailing situation because no one was able to predict that the pandemic would almost paralyze everything and bring the world to a standstill.

But we should not just deal with the situation by watching what will unfold next. Let us be proactive by immediately adjusting to the present situation and find ways on how we can advance the studies of our children while awaiting the discovery of the vaccine or medicine that will pave the way for things to go back to the normal ways.

Let us not allow trivial matters to ruin our efforts towards recovery and allow our students to work through the challenges of blended learning to be able to advance to a higher level of education instead of remaining stagnant in their studies. We must confront the present challenges of the implementation of blended learning frontally for us to slowly discover how we can go through the pressing problems without compromising our studies.

Let us learn to cope with the situation and move on towards greater heights so that we will be able to continue with what we had been doing amidst the pandemic and to allow our children to hurdle the difficult task of having to study their lessons without the teachers providing the necessary guidance on their midst. Let us learn to cooperate with the current scenarios that had been created by the pandemic and give our best to complete the basic education required from them.

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