Distance learning is 'perfect time' to teach students honesty, says DepEd

For the Department of Education (DepEd), distance learning is the "perfect time" to teach honesty among students as they will be left with their parents or anyone who will guide their learning at home. (READ: FAST FACTS: DepEd’s distance learning)

"Ito 'yung perfect time para magtruro tayo ng honesty sa ating mga anak, at kung sa bahay mismo ay pinapakita ng magulang na ang pagiging dishonest ay makakatulong ay wala na tayong pag-asa bilang isang bansa," Education Undersecretary Diosdado San Antonio said in a virtual press briefing on Monday, August 10.

(This is the perfect time to teach our children honesty, and if the parents themselves show dishonesty at home, there's no more hope for our country.)

San Antonio made the statement when asked about distance learning and how teachers would know if the students are the ones answering the activity sheets and not their parents.

San Antonio hopes that within the grading period, teachers and parents would have a conversation – through phone or home visitation – regarding the learning progress of the students.

"Without actually administering an examination, puwede po matantiya ni teacher kung ang mga sinubmit na written output at performance tasks ay ginawa talaga ng bata (the teacher would know if the submitted written output and performance tasks were done by the child)," San Antonio said.

Modular learning

Modular learning is most preferred by parents for the conduct of distance learning for the coming school year, according to a DepEd survey released on July 30.

During Monday's briefing, Education Secretary Leonor Briones explained how the modular learning mode will work for basic education students this year. 

Briones said that a set of Self-Learning Modules (SLMs), which include the lessons, assignments, and activity sheets, will be given to the students for them to work on the entire school week. SLMs will be picked up by the parents or guardians in designated pick-up points.

Every Friday, the teachers or learning facilitators will either collect these modules from the students for assessment or retrieve them from designated pick-up points.

In case no one is available to get the learning modules from the teachers, Briones said that local government officials will help in distributing the materials to and retrieving them from students.

Technical glitches

Ironically, the DepEd launch of the "school readiness program" on Monday morning was marred by technical glitches. (READ: Technical problems force DepEd to postpone launch of school 'readiness' program)

The program, originally scheduled for 8:45 am, was delayed by almost 3 hours and only pushed through past 11 am.

It showcased the different learning modes of the distance learning approach in different regions in the country: online learning, self-learning modules, and learning through TV and radio.

"Glitches, power interruption, and technical difficulties happened during the national kick-off. In a national event as big as this, we can't avoid [experiencing] it. We will continue and strive to be back and get up," Undersecretary Anne Sevilla told reporters in a Viber message.

Briones, however, said the issue that happened during the launch does not reflect the readiness of the agency for the school opening on August 24.

"Hindi naman DepEd ang pinanggalingan ng problema na 'yan (The problem was not from DepEd). And besides, under blended learning, you have a choice. If online does not work, if you have glitches, you have other alternatives," Briones said.

Many have criticized the DepEd's decision to open schools in the middle of a health crisis. (READ: No student left behind? During pandemic, education 'only for those who can afford')

Teachers themselves have been asking the DepEd to delay classes to a later date to give them more time to prepare for the school opening. (READ: 3 weeks into school opening, teachers say they still don't have copies of learning modules)

The DepEd decided to shift to distance learning for the coming school year to comply with the President's directive that schools postpone face-to-face classes until a coronavirus vaccine becomes available.

Despite calls to delay classes, Briones said that classes will open on August 24 "whatever form it is." – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.

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