Contextualized Learning in the New Normal for Students of Puerto Princesa

by Jim Paul M. Belgado, Sta. Lourdes National High School

COVID and Its Impact on Education

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious respiratory illness that spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes (World Health Organization). As of this writing, COVID-19 is considered a pandemic affecting many countries globally with 37,748,234 cases and 1,081,443 deaths on the record.

The threats brought by the said disease led to the lockdown of educational institutions that caused the interruption of students’ learning since March 2020. The usual opening of classes in June got delayed despite the Education Department’s strict adherence to minimum public health protocols.

DepEd persisted on pushing through this year’s school opening even if it was met with criticisms for lack of preparation, risk to teachers and students— and lastly, for the unavailability of gadgets and poor internet connection in the country, which form part of the implementation of distance learning. Amid the call for “academic freeze”, Secretary Leonor Briones did the opposite and went on with the pronouncement that education cannot wait, and so learning must continue.

CLIK, an SDO-PPC Innovation

The Curriculum Implementation Division (CID) of the Schools Division Office of Puerto Princesa City through its Learning Resource Management Section (LRMS) positively took this challenge and began the Contextualized Learning Instruction Kit (CLIK) Project. Specifically, CLIK addresses the needs of learners for a material they can use in the modular distance learning adopted by PPC DepEd. What sets it apart from other regionally produced learning resources (LRs) is that it capitalized on contextualized themes integrated across different subject areas. Examples of these localization and indigenization of lessons incorporate topics such as the world-renowned Puerto Princesa Underground River, the Plaza Cuartel historical landmark, the multi-awarded film “Ploning”, and the celebrated Pista Y Ang Kagueban.

Several studies prove that contextualized instruction seamlessly links the learning of foundational skills and academic or occupational content by focusing teaching and learning squarely on concrete applications in a specific context that is of interest to the students (https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED513404.pdf). In other words, students learn better when they are exposed to lessons or topics they can identify or relate with. Hence, the development of contextualized learning resources.

For most of the schools in the City, modular distance learning was the approach deemed to be fit in meeting the demands for the continuation of learning amid the outbreak. In this modality, printed modules will be handed over to the parents or guardians of the learners on a weekly basis. The said instructional materials in the new normal contain lessons and activities that learners must read and do on their own with the supervision of adults at home and with the instruction from their teachers at school through some online means.

A Backtrack on CLIK

The CLIK Project came to fruition through the concerted efforts headed by CID Chief Dr. Cyril Serador through the LRMS In-Charge Ronald Brillantes. Learning Area Supervisors were tasked to oversee development teams across different subjects. And to form various core groups, LRMS harnessed the Division pool of writers, editors, intellectual property rights reviewers, illustrators, and layout artists to work on the actual productions of the CLIK modules from Kindergarten to Senior High School. Furthermore, to do the quality assurance of the said materials, expertise of external evaluators coming from state universities were sought. Select foreign reviewers also helped in proofreading the modules.

Going Forward

This initiative from SDO-PPC got the nod from the MIMAROPA Regional Office when they approved the uploading of these LRs in the DepEd Learning Portal (lrmds.deped.gov.ph). Also, this program led to another opportunity to continue to showcase the collection of talents of the Division as it ventures on another project to create Learning Activity Sheets (LAS) to be used for the remaining quarters of the SY 2020-2021.

The LAS will be an offshoot of the CLIK that was patterned after the template stipulated in the Alternative Development Mode Learning Resource Standards.

(Photo credits: Rodney M. Ballaran, Palawan National School)