Can students learn something as complicated as integral calculus largely on their own?
In a workshop held recently in Bohol, dozens of teachers handling different subjects were asked to copy a calculus activity sheet on a piece of paper. They were asked to process the information by themselves, and to try answering the problem that followed. This instruction was met with groans and nervous laughter from the participants.
When the teachers were done writing, the facilitator showed a video of physicist Dr. Christopher Bernido explaining the basics of integral calculus and solving the problem. The teachers were surprised to learn that they got the answer right.
Dr. Bernido and his wife Dr. Ma. Victoria Carpio-Bernido believe that students of different ages can learn better with minimal teacher intervention. In 2002, they developed the Dynamic Learning Program (DLP) and applied it in their school, the Central Visayan Institute Foundation (CVIF) in Bohol.
Under the DLP, students are asked to write down lessons, as studies show that writing results in better retention and understanding of concepts. Without prior lecture, they, like the teachers in the workshop, are asked to answer a question. Only when they are done does an expert teacher come in to explain and clarify the lesson. The teachers conduct lectures only 20% of the time, enabling them to handle parallel classes.
Students are also given no homework so their brain can rest and process learnings better.
The program has been successful, with CVIF recording improved student performances in the National Career Assessment Examination and in college entrance exams. For their efforts to improve Philippine education, the Bernido couple won the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2010.
PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications partnered with the Bernidos the same year to promote the DLP to more schools. Now, more than 100 schools all over the country are implementing the program and are seeing good results.
“One of Smart’s thrusts is to help improve the quality of Philippine education through a combination of technological and non-tech tools. The DLP is an innovative and effective learning method that addresses several problems in Philippine schools, such as the lack of expert teachers. We hope that by getting more schools to adopt DLP, we can enhance the Filipino youth’s performance, especially in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines,” said Smart Public Affairs Senior Manager Stephanie Orlino.
Because of heightened interest from other schools, Smart and the Bernidos conducted the recent workshop to train teachers from Dagupan to Basilan to become DLP ambassadors. As ambassadors and DLP implementers, they will be the ones to train teachers of schools that are interested to adopt the program.
“Some teachers might think that the program would diminish their roles. This is not true. They will now have to create learning activity sheets and make sure that these are appropriate to the learning capabilities of their students. We want the teachers not only to teach, but to enable students to learn,” said DLP ambassador Desi Magnaye, principal of Davao Christian High School which has been implementing the DLP since 2005.
“There is the paradox that if you want to teach more, you have to teach less. The students themselves appreciate it when they are able to solve the problems on their own. They say it’s a different feeling. The writing activities also inculcate in them motivation, focus, stamina, and self-discipline,” said ambassador Cherry Quillopas, principal of Escuela de Nuestra Sra. de La Salette in Dagupan.
Those interested to implement the DLP in their school may send a message to the Facebook page Smart Communities.