EMPOWERING PARENTS AS TEACHERS IN THE NEW NORMAL
The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted our normal routine. We can no longer leave home without our face masks on, we need to sanitize often, and we need to observe social distancing not only to protect ourselves, but also the people around us from the contagion.
But there are matters that should not stop even as we continue to battle the Covid-19.
Lately, the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Deve-lopment Authority have announced they will employ a blended learning scheme as an approach to continue with the instruction of learners, whether in the primary, elementary, secondary, higher, and technical education levels.
We are still unsure when we can return to normal but what is clear is that classroom education must continue regardless of the preferred manner by which “classroom” instruction will be carried out.
Modalities suggested to ensure that classes will continue are through modules to be delivered by teachers to the residences of learners, online instruction, and through schools-on-the air.
Of the three modes suggested, online instruction, the country’s poor Internet connectivity, and the cost of computers and other gadgets have been the focus in various platforms of discussion.
Many are saying that since it will take time before we get used to this new set-up, learners will not be able to cope with the suggested alternative modes of instruction. Many are also saying the new setup will definitely affect the quality of education being offered to millions of Filipino learners.
Whatever the final decision the DepEd, CHED, and Tesda will be, participation of parents or guardians in educating their children is essential, especially for those in the elementary level where aside from basic literacy, learners are prepared for higher and formal education.
Under the “old normal,” teachers have become the person whom many of us rely on for the education of our children. Yet, the DepEd have repeatedly clarified that parents and other members of a household play a vital role in the continuing education of their children.
It is worth stressing that under the new normal, a parent’s role is more important now that physical classes might be put on hold, or there might never be one at all if the health and safety of learners are not yet assured.
Hand-in-hand with teachers, parents should take an active role in teaching their children. They should see to it that even when their children are studying from home, they should be able to comply with deadlines and are able to accomplish assignments, tests, projects, and quizzes. Parents should also be able to provide an environment where learning is conducive.
Parents should not look at the study from home setup as an extra duty for them, but a chance to strengthen their bond with their child or children. The study-from-home can also be an opportunity for parents to adjust to the learning style and closely monitor the progress of their children in their studies. By taking on the role of a classroom teacher, pa-rents can even help hone their children’s skills, talents, or whatever that interests them.
To ensure that the children still get quality education, the DepEd should, as early as now, arrange a seminar, whether virtual or physical, that will guide pa-rents on the basics when teaching their children. As parents will now become teachers, they will also need guidance on approaches they can use so they adapt to the learning style of their “student/s.”
Of course, it will be challenging if they have more than one child and in different grade levels, but during a crisis, we all have to work hand-in-hand so that no one will be left behind especially in terms of education.
As Education Sec. Leonor Briones stressed, “At the height of the Marawi uprising, our call was “education must continue!” In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, our call remains the same: Education must continue whether face-to-face or virtual, with or without physically going to school.”