Survey: Majority of teachers doubt if distance learning effective

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 17 2021 05:15 PM

Survey: Majority of teachers doubt if distance learning effective 1
Teachers of the Rafael Palma Elelmentary School in Manila last October 5, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA – A majority of Filipino teachers doubt whether their students learn under the current distance education setup, according to a survey conducted by experts, who raised concerns over what they called a “looming learning crisis.” 

The nationwide online survey was conducted from November to December 2020 by the Movement for Safe, Equitable, Quality, and Relevant Education (SEQuRe Education Movement). Its respondents include 1,395 teachers, 1,207 parents and 620 students from grades 4 to 12.

Results of the poll showed that 70.9 percent of the teachers “do not think or are not confident that the competencies set by the Department of Education (DepEd) under distance learning are actually being developed.”

A little over half or 53 percent of the students are uncertain if they can learn the competencies set by DepEd through distance learning while only 42.7 percent of parents expressed confidence that their children understand their lessons.

Learning competencies refer to the knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes that students need to demonstrate in every lesson or learning activity.

Meanwhile, only 7 in 10 students said they are confident that they can complete the school year, the survey showed.

Liza Marie Campoamor-Olegario, head of SEQuRe’s research team, said students should be given more performance-based tasks to assess their understanding of lessons instead of simply answering modules.

“Doon sa pinapagawa nating tasks sa kanila, doon natin malalaman kung natututunan nila o hindi ang tinuturo natin,” Olegario said in a webinar on Wednesday.

“Hindi lamang sila sasagot ng module at che-check-an. Very traditional kasi ‘yon eh,” said Olegario, who teaches at the University of the Philippines College of Education.

The tasks should also be “related and integrated in the students’ daily lives,” she added.

The survey also found that 4 in every 10 student respondents found errors in the modules that they use.

Nine in every 10 students under modular distance learning communicate with their teachers through Facebook Messenger, where 57.4 percent of them felt that lack of connection with their teachers was a problem.

According to the survey, only 0.8 percent of students said they are visited by the DepEd’s learning support aides while 25 percent said they have no adult guidance in their lessons.

Among teacher respondents, 4 percent said all of their students could keep up with the lessons, 54 percent said a definite portion of their class lags behind, while 42 percent said an indefinite segment could not keep pace.

Around 71 to 72 percent of students and parents also said they experienced “failing to attend online classes due to problems with gadgets, internet connection, and distance learning expenses.”

A majority of students or 87 percent cited unstable internet connection as their main problem in online class.

The survey also showed that 54.7 percent of students said distance-learning activities have negative impacts on their physical and mental health.

Nearly half or 46.7 percent of teachers believe the DepEd has not adequately ensured their safety and health protection while 33.5 percent think otherwise, according to the survey.

Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo said the DepEd must make adjustments to address the problems surrounding distance learning.

The education department should not just reduce the number of learning competencies again but identify what students really need to learn, said Romulo, chair of the House committee on basic education and culture.

“Kailangan mapaabot natin sa DepEd na kailangan natin ng adjustments. Kung hindi, talagang lalo pang babawas ang interes ng mga estudyante sa pagpasok sa online learning. Ang pinakaayaw naman natin ang maganap na talagang wala nang learning,” he said.

Before the start of the current school year, the DepEd revised the basic education curriculum, reducing the number of learning competencies from 14,171 to the “most essential” 5,689.

ABS-CBN News has reached out to the DepEd for comment on the survey but has yet to get a response as of writing.

The department earlier implemented an “academic ease” policy to alleviate the stress felt by students, parents and teachers in distance learning.

Philippine schools shifted to distance learning – where students study from their homes via modules, online classes, television and radio – due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far infected over 553,000 in the country.

Earlier this week, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers asked the DepEd for a “clear plan” to safely reopen schools and resume in-person classes, arguing that the current distance learning scheme was no longer feasible.

Last month, the Philippine Business for Education, a non-government organization, also asked government to address what it called a “learning crisis” after Filipino students performed poorly in recent international assessments.

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