After the confirmation from the Department of Health (DOH) that there is no enough evidence to prove the local transmission of the corona virus UK-variant, the Department of Education (DepEd) is back on track with the proposed pilot testing of face-to-face classes, which is when implemented with the right preparations, will be favorable to many students and educators.
In an online Palace briefing, DepEd Sec. Leonor Briones pointed out that in a survey conducted with over a million participants, more than 50 percent of the students surveyed approved the conduct of face-to-face classes. In addition, she also mentioned that teachers expressed their willingness for the resumption of the classroom set-up mode of learning.
Although many parents are still undecided, the results of the poll they conducted is as good as a ‘go’ sign.
However, with the health risks involved considering that many students, under the age of 15 are more vulnerable to CoVID-19, it is a question for many whether we are ready or not.
The pilot testing was supposed to kick-off last January, but due to threats on public health brought about by the new variant, President Rodrigo Duterte called it off. Now that the false threat is realized, as an educator, a student or a parent, we now assess whether the so called blended mode of learning needs to continue, or face-to-face classes be offered as an option.
Briones shared during the briefing that she personally believes that students miss the classroom set-up that is why they have high approval for the resumption of face-to-face classes.
In the current blended mode of learning, students who are able to afford a smartphone, a laptop or a desktop with internet or data connection have a better learning experience. They are able to attend online classes, and they can access more resources online. On the other hand, there are students who have no choice but to read, understand and answer their printed modules by themselves, especially those who lack guidance from their parents or guardian. Clearly, this present situation where there is a limited learning engagement for the students, is a major factor why students miss the classroom set-up.
As an educator, we believe that the value of the knowledge we impart to our students depends on how we deliver it to them. Come to think of it, if students cannot retain hundred percent of the information we teach them in the classroom, surely, retention of information becomes poorer if there is no interaction between the learner and the educator, or with his fellow learner. The absence of this interactive learning experience is a driving factor why we believe that face-to-face classes with the right preparations is necessary.
At present, we are still waiting for the final guidelines and for the approval from the president.
To end, cooperation is essential to make this happen, as much as we want our children to learn better, we also want them to stay safe and healthy. By Wilbert Wanas