A revolutionary innovation in teaching, applied in public high schools in southern Philippines has given its students an "edge" over those using traditional classroom-type learning system in their learning recovery since tropical storm Washi claimed more than 1,000 lives and affected hundreds of thousands others.
Washi, which brought a rampaging 180 mm of rain water and howling gales of up to 14 mps, last month swept and ravaged everything in its path, from Cagayan de Oro City's upland barangay along Cagayan River to its coastal barangays toward Macajalar Bay.
In less than 12 hours, flash floods submerged 25 of this city' s 80 barangays. It claimed at least 1,000 lives with thousands more missing and feared dead, leveled homes, uprooted communities and mud-glutted schools.
One such school, Angeles Sisters National High School (ASNHS) in barangay Consolacion, was knee-deep in mud after the flash floods last month. Consolacion is one of the worst-hit barangays in the city.
Gil Araneta, ASNHS principal, said when classes resumed on Jan. 3, they had 44 per cent attendance and in a span of just two weeks, attendance reached 90 percent. He said they gave their students a series of Psycho-Social sessions for a week after starting the classes.
Araneta said the Dynamic Learning Program (DLP)--a teaching method that takes into consideration the latest results from the fields of neuroscience--has enabled the program's students cope between their traumatic experience during the flood and reviving the fervor for learning. "The program is innovative in that it lets the students learn by discovering through activities,"he said, adding that since they applied DLP in their school, performance indicators of their students showed stark improvements.
He said their first and fourth year levels championed the city district's Math Challenge early last year. They also bagged second place in a Rotary International-sponsored quiz bee last year. "DLP teaches the students the virtue of discipline. The program is designed to maximize students'motivation, focus, confidence and composure, self-discipline and stamina in learning," said Araneta. ASNHS currently has a graduating class of 133 students.
Because the program has lessened the need for classrooms and textbooks, Araneta said their students were able to recover faster.
Under the new teaching method, students are given activity sheets instead of textbooks. A session begins with the students working on activities on their own, while the teacher comes in to discuss the concept for 15-20 minutes to reinforce the day's lesson. "With this, the teacher will just facilitate the learning and because they only facilitate we can now handle three classes at the same time on any given concept, for example Math. The program has resolved the problem of the lack of teachers since a single teacher can now handle more sections," Araneta said.
DLP is 70 to 80 percent student activities and only 20 to 30 percent lecture. It is designed to solve existing problems plaguing the academe such as the dearth for qualified teachers, few or error-filled textbooks and the large number of students per classes in public schools.
The activity sheets will form part of a student's portfolio which will be the basis for grading a student's performance. Students cannot take their activity sheets home. "So that the students can really rest and relax when they get home," Araneta explained.
Megoldis Gantalao, 16 years old, a senior student at Angeles Sisters National High School in barangay Consolacion in the city, said they used to live in a rented apartment on Abellanosa street near the Maharlika Bridge, now they are renting another apartment in barangay Gusa. Washi flooded their apartment building last month. "The program has encouraged us to develop our initiative for learning concepts. My comprehension improved," said Gantalao, one of the finalists in Quiz bee on Consumer Rights sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industries in September last year.
Department of Education (DepEd) Schools Division Superintendent Myrna Motoomull said DLP has been applied to all 35 public High Schools (except Regional Science High School) in the city starting the school year 2011-2012 and "will continue for five years so that the maximum results of the program can be seen."