By: Adalia Soriano, Workshop Designer and Facilitator and Consultant for RCI Reading Program
It was a well spent 15-day summer workshop with mentally challenging, socially invigorating, and professionally gratifying activities.
On May 15–June 2, 2017, some 70 elementary school teachers from the five campuses of Roosevelt College, Inc., (RCI)—Cainta, Cubao, Marikina, Rodriguez, and San Mateo—found themselves on unfamiliar ground. They were immersed in activities directed at adopting curricular programs that aimed to develop literate and critically thinking individuals who are globally competitive and environmentally sensitive.
The shift eliminated the traditional dependence on textbooks. There are no more textbooks in major subjects like English and Filipino and in specialized areas as Music, Arts and Physical Education, Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao and Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan. Araling Panlipunan, Math, and Science are hooked up to the e-learning package provided by digital companies such as DIWA, Phoenix, and TechFactors.
During the workshop, teachers prepared their respective curriculum guides for the school year (SY)2017–SY2018 as they grouped themselves into subject areas and worked on their unit plans and lesson plans for the year. To prepare for this task, they had to develop a basic framework of program- and subject-learning objectives that emanated from the institutional objectives. Outputs were completed but these are documents in progress.
The summer workshop was indeed mentally challenging. Teachers needed to leave their comfort zones of traditional paper-pencil activities and lecture-type strategies to take a leap into the unfamiliar not only with collaborative strategies, use of manipulatives, and writing–learning logs but also with constructing higher-order thinking questions, specific objectives, and assessments using holistic rubrics. All this was a struggle in the beginning but with patience and persistence and enough guidance, teachers were happy that they hurdled this challenge with sighs of relief and a sense of satisfaction.
The one big positive effect of the workshop is the collaborative effort among teachers of the different campuses. They were delighted that they were able to get to know their colleagues and shared ideas with them to complete their tasks. The camaraderie and support for one another was evident such that if one member of the group had a problem with her work, everyone else in the group came to the rescue. This workshop brought the teachers of the different campuses together to know each other better as well.
On the last days of the workshop, as the teachers looked back and saw what they had accomplished, they were amazed at what they could do. These accomplishments they said, could help them become better teachers, confident that they could do more than what they had done before. They expressed their gratitude for making them part of all that transpired this summer.
All this is an affirmation of the need for teachers’ continuing education in an ever-changing school environment. This also shows that when teachers are pushed to their limits they surprise themselves with their latent capabilities. This summer workshop did just that.
Shown below are photos of the RCI workshop team with the participants.