Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century: In-Service Training for Professional Development of Teachers

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Palo National High School is not a big school and it is one of the four public secondary schools in Palo, Leyte. The town also has 1 private and 1 science high school. When it comes to facility, the school is very lucky to be the always recipient of the different projects of the government and the Department of Education.

I can still remember when I was a new teacher in Palo, I was assigned to teach agricultural technology, though my major field of specialization in teaching is business and distributive arts. I have seen that the school has seven computers, but they are not using it. So what I did, I told my principal that I will offer computer education to my students instead of giving them the lessons in agriculture. So we’ve used the 4 functional computers out of the 7 units donated by DepEd.

It is really hard to teach the lessons in computer due to the scarcity. In order for my students to acquire the knowledge and skills in computer, I divided my class of 50 students into 4 groups… in that case I have the 1:4 or 1:5 ratio in the laboratory. Yes! That is true… it is rather to be like that than to do nothing… so I need to use the best strategy for my students to learn the use of technology. It was 2003 and believed me I’ve done everything to teach them. Until, the school received a memorandum for the Student Technologists and Entrepreneurs of the Philippines Skills Competition. One of the categories is the use of ICT. I had chosen 3 of my students to compete with Electronic Bookkeeping using MS Excel, PowerPoint Presentation of a Livelihood Project and Webpage Designing using Frontpage.

I am very happy with the result of the competition! From the 3 contest skills in ICT, my students won as 1st placer in webpage designing and in electronic bookkeeping or and 3rd placer in PowerPoint presentation. My two students qualified in the next level of the contest until one represented our region in the national competition and landed 5th place in the electronic bookkeeping. The first national award received by the school since it started in the year 1993. Just imagine, we are only using 4 computers in our lesson, compared to other big schools and private schools in the country. This really means that knowledge and skills cannot be seen to the school where you study, to the number of computers your school have, but to the quality of education and the learning acquired by the students and the great impact to them.

Some other achievements of my students in the national level of competition are the following: 2nd Placer in Electronic Bookkeeping in 2005, 1st Placer in Electronic Poster Making in 2007, 5th Placer in the Electronic Poster Making in 2009. and these are the reasons why we are always beneficiaries of the donated computers from the sponsoring agency in the Philippines.

My concern are not only my students, also the teachers, my colleagues. That is why, I initiated some computer trainings that enhanced the skills of the teachers particularly in teaching with technology. From our 4 computers, 10 additional units were added in the year 2005 and another 25 in the year 2008. Hence, I encouraged the teachers to use the technology in teaching. I also requested my principal to apply for Internet account and that’s the reason why the school has 2 wifi access. Every year, the teacher always have the so called In-Service Training (INSET) this is for the professional development of the faculty.

The last INSET that we conducted is about “Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century”. This training includes ICT Tools for Effective Classroom Management, Peer Coaching and Innovative Teaching. The training was conducted to enhance and develop the teaching competence of the teachers with advance level of expertise that will apply innovative changes in their methods of teaching. There were 16 new teachers who participated and were trained to be innovative. They will apply ICT tools for effective classroom management. This is in response with the rapid advancement of ICT and the awareness of the educators in the 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration.

They were required to perform different activities in line with the 21st century skills with ICT applications such as: Powerpoint Digital Quiz, Digital Story Telling, downloading and installing software from the Internet, on-line puzzle making, on-line converting video files to MP3 and MP4 format, converting PowerPoint to video file, converting PowerPoint slides into JPEG format using Paint, Blogging, creating electronic module, burning MP3/MP4 files to CDs/DVDs, uploading and sending files, and on-line collaboration.

Most of the ICT tools used were the tools downloaded in the Microsoft Partners in Learning website. And these tools are big help in conducting lessons for 21st century education.

For Peer Coaching, teachers are expected to mentor at least 2 teachers in the same school and 2 teachers from other school either in elementary or secondary. This is to have continuous process of the teaching and mentoring of the new knowledge in ICT.

Now, how I wish we can still have a training like this, specially that I qualified as Microsoft Expert Educator representing the Philippines. I know, I will learn much from other expert educators in the Global Forum. Sad to say, super typhoon Yolanda hit our place in Leyte, and everything that we built were devastated. Though, the situation in the school started to normalize, but still we cannot avoid to feel so depress looking for what the typhoon left us. If only other expert educators in the world will share their blessings to our school, we will heartily accept it, even the oldest computer unit. Remember, we started from 4 computer units and we can always maximize the use of whatever resources you can give us. Thank you and more power to you.

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