To School or Not To School?

#Parents’ Role in Education Under the New Normal

What would it look like come the opening of classes in August? Education in the New Normal has been a hot topic among parents, like me. Sending our kids to school and enlisting them for school year 2020 to 2021 is scary for some, considering that COVID-19 infection is still on the rise. Are we to take this challenging task to continue our kids’ learning or wait for another school year, when the pandemic is over?

For moms like me who work from home, doing multiple tasks from Monday to Friday is exhausting. That’s why I always look forward to the weekends where there are no webinars and virtual meetings and I can focus on my kids and cooking and blogging. πŸ™‚ Kidding aside, I got more meetings now as our heads can call for virtual meetings, anytime, even at night. πŸ™‚

Talking about me being a parent and an education worker under the Department of Education (DepEd), one of the webinars I organized recently was the Parents’ Forum on Education in the New Normal, talking about parents’ role. In Bicol our enrollment in basic education, both for public and private schools is recorded at 84% from our last year’s. We haven’t yet attained the target as there are parents who are doubtful on enlisting their children to school out of fear of infection from COVID-19. It’s also the reason why our Basic Education -Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) includes modalities for distance learning, such as the modular approach, blended learning (combination of 1 or 2 modalities), online classes, and tv/radio based instructions, all maybe done through synchronous (learners are engaged at the same time) or asynchronous approach. To discuss the topic on Parents’ Role, I invited Dr. Aser Javier, our external partnerships consultant, a freelance international consultant based in the US. He developed the Local Economic Development Framework in the Local Governments, the External Partnerships Framework for Basic Education in the Country and the Small Business Development Model for Communes in the Kingdom of Cambodia. He holds a PhD in International Development from Nagoya University, Japan.

His presentation focus on the following roles of parents in the New Normal:

Parents like me would have to be able to adapt and adopt to changes under this difficult, uncertain times. Although these roles are not new to us, as we’ve been doing these even before the pandemic, but the extent of our participation in engaging children to learning will be much intensified and strengthened.

#Parents as Facilitators of Learning

For my 5 year old child, I set a time for writing exercises and story read-a-loud. Sometimes, I failed to do this due to my work but it’s good to monitor their progress on reading and writing.

#Accessor of Learning Technologies

As parents we would always give the best for our children, however, if this is beyond our financial capacities, don’t stress yourself in purchasing laptops and other equipment. In our country, there will be radio based instructions and modular lessons to be provided especially for those children who reside in very remote areas. In one of our communities in Sorsogon, a group of young professionals led by Mr. Lowell Solayao establish a tutorial center and organize mentor-ship activities. They do home visits and leave worksheets to be accomplished by the children. All the materials they procure from their own money.

#Child’s Advocate

As we always emphasize, learning must continue despite the emergency that we’re into. A problem has always a solution and turning a home into a learning space would benefit our children more. Parents have indispensable roles to take especially that going to school for a face-to-face instruction is still not possible. Reaching-out to our children’s teachers is necessary for open communication and for staying informed on the the learning modalities being offered by the school.

#Exercise Driver

On the post about the Super Special Teacher, check this link for details, https://beautifulpeopleinc.com/2020/07/03/super-special-teacher, I mentioned about the home reading corners that parents established with the help of the school’s faculty. The community is located in a far flung area in Donsol, Sorsogon where parents have no stable economic income aside from fishing by the river. Most of their reading materials are donated and sourced out by the school, which they distributed to all their learners’ households. The result of the project was overwhelming as the school recorded no non-reader among the students. What is being highlighted here is the impact of school-community and home collaboration to deliver education despite all the challenges that they face, including lack of materials and necessary equipment.

Education amidst COVID-19 pandemic should not be taken for granted. There are many ways which we can reach-out to our learners so that they would learn even at home. But as we always say, parents must not be pressured on buying laptops and paying for internet fees, there are other modalities which can be used not just the online class.

“Where’s Juan?”, the teacher asked. “Present, Ma’am”, Juan answered as he tried to climb over the top of the roof, to catch a signal. Credit to the owner of this photo. This maybe one of the “funny” scenarios in the Philippines as we have weak internet that one needs to climb a tree, a mountain or a roof to have a signal. My grateful acknowledgment to Dr. Aser Javier for sharing these information.

Education In the New Normal

Published by Maria Cristina Gino Baroso

Education advocate and travel lover

17 thoughts on “To School or Not To School?

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