Accepting the K to 12 Challenge

Culminating Speech by Aloysius J. Aurelio of Don Mariano Marcos State University
STEM Teachers Regional Training, Teachers Camp, Baguio City, 

June 9, 2017

The past four days signify another milestone for us educators. Having been compelled by necessity, we converged in this historic part of the Cordilleras to prepare for another change in our lives as teachers and in the Philippine education system: the full implementation of the K to 12 Curriculum.

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Much has been said about this revolution in the dynamic teaching-learning world. Everybody believes that with this revised curriculum, we will have graduates who are at par with those of the rest of the world. In response, we decided to do our share by addressing the needs of the STEM educators. Twenty-three nationally-trained Higher Education Institution faculty members were invited to train other teachers who handle STEM classes in Senior High School. Today, we are with 253 teachers from various HEIs in Regions 1, 2, and CAR who gave up a portion of their summer vacations to attend this training.

We jumped right into the training proper. The plenary sessions provided participants with an understanding of the response of CHED to this education reform through the K to 12 Transition Program. The next plenary speaker talked about the landscape of STEM Education in the Philippines, and the role of STEM educators in molding socio-critical individuals. We then moved to discussions on Inquiry-Based Learning and authentic assessment, techniques which, according to the curriculum, facilitates the acquisition of intended knowledge, skills and attitudes.

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On the second day, we had breakout sessions where the participants were grouped into clusters based on the subjects they teach. There were two clusters in Mathematics, one in Chemistry, one in Physics, and two in Biology. In these clusters, trainers facilitated experiments and demonstrated the use of Inquiry-Based Learning in the classroom.

In both plenary and breakout sessions, we observed varied reactions from the participants. Some were not sure if the training was meant for them. Others were curious about what will happen next. But most understood the value of this training in facing the challenges of the new curriculum. The group might have manifested varying degrees of enthusiasm but that did not mean that they cared less for the training. They showed great competence in the use of Inquiry-Based Learning techniques in creating their lesson exemplars.

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In our own schools and institutions, we might have encountered diverse responses from our colleagues, but I think such diversity is a natural response to change. I would like to echo a part of the homily I heard last Sunday which says “Unity does not mean uniformity.” People act in varied ways to situations simply because each one is unique. Those differences only emphasize the fact that each one is performing a specific task in the reform. The accomplishment of each individual role is to be seen as a way to get the whole system to function as one. We are part of a whole. Each one has a particular task to do.

As a whole, I consider this regional rollout training successful. The objectives we had set for ourselves on our first day have been realized. It may not have been perfect in all aspects but then again, those imperfections open avenues for reflection and improvement. The ultimate measure of the success will be the quality of Senior High School graduates we will produce with the K to 12 Curriculum.

Mr. Aloysius J. Aurelio is a professor at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University. He is one of the trainers of the STEM Education Teacher Training Program. He delivered this speech as synthesis of the Region 1, 2, CAR rollout last June 5 to 9, 2017, in Teachers’ Camp, Baguio City.

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