Experiences with REP
Janette Valdez, 4th grade teacher, Rogan G. Adanza, Mathematics teacher for 8th grade students and Regan Dagadas, regional coordinator of the Department of Education, would like to share their experiences with implementing REP with you.
Janette Valdez is a 4th grade Philipino language teacher in Palimbang, in the province Sultan Kudarat, south Mindanao. She teaches at the Kolong Kolong Elementary. Two years ago she heard about the Respect Education Program and decided to give it a try, even though the term ‘respect’ was somewhat confusing.
“ Our country is maybe known for violence but the level of aggression here is much
lower than elsewhere. For example, I am a Christian and teach at a Muslim school.
My experience is that mean acts are not in our nature. I was curious about points
of view from the ‘outside’. Introducing new teaching methods are helpful, but need funding that is not always there.
Janette, like most teachers, faces classes of 60 tot 70 children, and with these numbers and an education system from the US, where the learning-context is very different, bespoke strategies can enrich the quality of learning. And also can save the teachers themselves. “Normally teachers here break down after a couple of years. It is very hard to handle so many individuals year in year out. I myself broke down too. We have large numbers of students. We have to work on strategies and methods on how to handle these, to make our children more attentive, more creative, via play, sharing and caring. Several modules (from the Respect Education program) I could use right away, like the Adaptve Learning module, which works very well for my students”.
“This is now my 6th year in public schools. I used to get sometimes quite frustrated when my students did not learn, were not paying attention, weren’t listening. I realized these thoughts were about me; I wanted them to be like me. Now I think the other way around: it’s about them. I am the teacher. I give them knowledge, and I accept every child has his/her own style of learning. A small change in perspective can have a enormous impact on the quaity of teaching”.
4th grade teacher
“The Respect Education program works for me. I use Adaptive Learning, Multiple Intelligence and Cooperative Learning. Change will not be abrupt however. All my students are almost adults, they all have their particular characters. I have seen several very promising developments. Very imporant for instance, is that bullying has decreased by half since we took up this kind of teaching. My students are more responsible about their choices, in the way they talk and how they act. They want to finish their studies. This is a direct effect of Respect Education”.
“The methodology has the potential to change the future of our students, and it has changed me too. I do not consider myself particulary good in teaching for instance, but the program did boost my ego as a teacher and I gained effective skills. Not all teachers were given the opportunity to attend the seminars. I hope this will change in the future. My goal is change, step by step. It’s not only about the diploma, it’s also about our future together".
Rogan G. Adanza is a Mathematics teacher for 8th grade students, between 14 and 16 years old. He teaches at Digos City National High School, in the province of Davao del Sur, south Mindanao. Like his colleagues, Rogan’s classes consist of 60-70 children.
“ A year ago, I got a memorandum from our principal, in which we were invited to attend the Respect Education Program. We discussed it and decided we would go to Mindanao and see what it was about. At the training, I did not understand how I would be able to apply these theories in my class. Then, in the first workshop the facilitators moved away all tables and chairs and set the students in a circle, squatted. That was kind of a surprise. Up until then, I used only the chalkboard for teaching. They showed new methods of learning. I got to know more teaching styles, an exciting experience. After the workshop-reflection I was asked to facilitate the next workshop. I said yes ”.
Rogan G. Adanza
Mathematics teacher 8th grade, Digos City National High School.
Regan Dagadas is the regional coordinator of the Department of Education in Region XII. He is overseeing three education programs – Madrasah Education, Multi-grade and Kindergarten education programs, including teacher training under the K to 12 Program of the department.
In Mindanao, teachers face children with many backgrounds and histories, and many schools are located in remote locations. After two years of training and workshops in Mindanao, Respect Education has shown Regan Dagadas it can play a role in these developments.
“Respect Education teaching and learning objectives are aligned with what we are proposing. Many years ago for instance the indigenous people and also the Muslim communities were not carefully considered in terms of providing them the education that is relevant to their culture. The consequence has been a justifiable reluctance to oblige to national standards, because why should you listen to someone who does not listen to you? Nowadays the government is more responsive and is active in creating context-specific educational programs.”
“Communities in remote locations are longing for this. It is important that we all accept and respect all people. For example, certain areas are considered sacred, and when you’re not aware of it, you are violating an essential part of someone’s culture and beliefs. So we are encouraging creating awareness, and from there on, respect”.
“ In the school context, it cannot be underestimated how important class dynamics are. We invite teachers to be attentive to how children interact and learn, and facilitate an open and respectful environment. We see as a direct result that more and more children communicate with each other and intermingle, which is very good. This can only happen when we create and guard a safe ‘learning’ field, where all children are equal, and at the same time all are different ”.
“However, in order to really let this bloom, we have to help the teachers. We can all agree the ultimate goals are important but we have to realise it all boils down to one person; the one in front of the class. Here it all begins I myself was a Filipino and English language teacher in High School (grades 7 and 8) for eight years. At one time I had to manage a class of 108 children between 11 and 12 years. My stress level overflowed every single day, quite a terrible experience. I had to shout every now and then to control the classroom. That was my ‘crowd control strategy’. I admit I’m not too proud of that, but the point is many teachers are fighting this fight every day. The methods of Respect Education, the constructive teaching approach will help, not only to keep students on task but also to keep them interacting with their peers while learning new knowledge and skills”.
regional coordinator DepED, Region XII