Bridging the Gap in Distance Learning: ‘’Walang Batang Maiiwan Sa Panatang Para Sa Bata’’
Distance learning has marked its second school year under pandemic. The continuum of learning, either through innovative use of online platforms or modules or both, becomes the major challenge in the distance learning spectrum. Until now, no school is immune from recurring challenges that somehow undermine the learning process, among others, so the question remains: How will a school bridge the distance between the teachers and learners, the gap that hinders the effective learning delivery.
However, distance learning must not be construed as a barrier or gap between the subjects of education, the teachers and the learners, but a space for more innovative ideas, discoveries, and development as our education system is becoming more accustomed to a brand new method of learning delivery. For this reason, San Juan Elementary School (SJES) believes that challenges and problems are temporary because the school always finds ways to shorten the gap between teachers and learners under the distance learning. Accordingly, the distance has never been closer than it is before.
SJES’ commitment to quality education does not seem to be deferred. The planned and rapid move to address any problem arises in distance learning is one of its strengths under new normal. The school always comes up with concrete solutions and innovative ideas when problem arises, one of which is the submission of modules and pen and paper activities by the learners that used to be a major challenge for teachers and parents, in which the online platform seems to be less effective for it is much more difficult checking the submissions through photos sent via online. To deal with this challenge, the school provided plastic large boxes for all teachers where the parents may drop by shortly to put all their submissions which they usually visit on scheduled dates of distribution of modules. The module distribution and submission have now become a smooth and easy transaction through this innovative idea.
However, the threat of Covid 19 is still around so the strict implementation of safety health protocol is even so imposed. Since gathering is barred, teachers are not required to attend the distribution of modules as not to compromise their health. The school personnel took over the responsibility of the distribution of the learning materials who are always attendant whenever the parents drop by to submit and pick up the modules. To limit the face-to-face school activities, the necessary transactions may be done online with an effective delivery of information and guidelines through school social media pages and teachers’ announcements.
The issue on online learning platform is given consideration. Although the majority of teachers are comfortable with google meet or zoom in conducting online classes, SJES gives its teachers an option to choose as not to stress themselves, by virtue of the exercise of their academic freedom but at the same time considering the benefits of the LMS whereby the school promotes its use to discover its potential benefits for now and in the future. This is why the SJES’ school head continues the conduct of LMS trainings for teachers so as to make them more equipped for its widely use.
Last school year, the Local Government of San Juan city distributed tablets for the learners residing in San Juan for their online classes. In order to assure equal opportunity to access online classes for those learners not residing in San Juan they will be receiving tablets from the school through the MOOE. The school head instructed the teachers to determine and list down all the non-resident learners of San Juan City and of those residents who have not received the tablet last school year to be listed as beneficiaries of Huawei android tablets to be given very soon. Verily, the school is living up to the adage ‘’Walang Batang Maiiwan’’. The steps and innovative ideas of SJES are the verification and proof that the school is serious and very much eager to deliver the best quality education despite the circumstances we are in.