4. Re-discovering the Joys of Teaching
To build their capability in Reading instruction, 23 teachers and principals from Natividad joined 84 teachers and principals from San Manuel and San Nicolas in a joint two-day training, entitled, “The Joys of Teaching: A Review and A Fellowship”. The training provides teachers with a muchneeded refresher course on the basics of reading as well as introduces them to effective modes of instruction. The training was held on September 21 and 22, 2007 at the San Roque Dam in San Manuel, Pangasinan. The Synergeia training module served as basis for the training. It is designed to:
- Influence teachers to help their children enjoy reading by developing skills in story-telling and story-reading
- Help teachers say the sounds well particularly those where they have “regional limitations”, e.g. /e/, /i/, /a/, /o/, /u/
- Develop among teachers the skills that will enable their students to decode words
- Help teachers to understand and use the “Fuller method” in saying words.
- Introduce teachers to a variety of strategies to develop comprehension
- Encourage teachers to be creative to develop thinking skills and integrate arts, music, movement, poetry, songs, values, into the reading program
Noteable resource persons from the University of Pangasinan (UPang), a Synergeia partner-university, were the peer-trainers for the workshop. Dr. Ofelia Rayos, Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Tito Rocaberte and Ms. Doris Tuano, took time out from their busy schedules to conduct the training for teachers.
The two-day workshop was devoted to the following topics:
- Importance of and theories on reading
- Methods for Decoding words
- Structural analysis of words
- Learning the Vowels and Consonants
- The Fuller Method in teaching Reading
- Developing Comprehension
- The Four-Pronged Approach in Teaching reading
- Enrichment Activities
- Synergeia’s Benchmarks in Writing, Listening and Speaking
The whole morning session of the first day was devoted to story reading. Facilitators from Museo Pambata mentored teachers on how to be effective storytellers to children. Afterwards, teachers had their chance to show what they have learned through a return-demonstration. It is no surprise that teachers are talented performers – they told stories in varying tones and with much gusto, some even did a simple skit / drama. Afterwards, they enjoyed the arts and crafts session and learned how to integrate this activity as an enrichment approach to their storytelling/story reading sessions.
After the sessions with Museo Pambata, UPang trainers took over. Participants were divided by municipality so that trainers can better manage the sessions. UPang resource persons led teachers in the pronunciation drills and grammar exercises. They demonstrated how lessons can be taught more effectively – this was an enjoyable activity for teachers as they were able to act out as students in a class.
UPang trainers noted that teachers from Natividad were very enthusiastic to learn and were well-prepared for the training. During the construction of teaching devices and demonstration classes, they showed creativity, resourcefulness and knowledge of the material. Many of the participants said they felt happy, overwhelmed and thankful about the training, from which they gained a lot of information. Most agreed that the training, particularly the workshop exercises were fun and everyone expressed deep appreciation for the new methodologies they learned from the activity
5. Learning Instruments for Students and Teachers
Limited access to instructional and reading materials was identified by the PMT as one of the factors why children in Natividad do not do well in reading exams. To address this issue, the Reading Program provided each student with his own workbook.
The workbooks complement Grade I textbooks in Reading and cover lessons for the entire school year (2nd-4th grading period, since 1st grading is devoted to the Early Childhood Education Curriculum of DEPED). These are intended to reinforce learning inside the classroom. By providing students with work exercises on their day-to-day lessons, they are able to develop and improve their mastery of the subject. The exercises enable them to interpret lessons learned, make inferences and apply them to new situations. Exercises provide opportunities for development of creativity. Pupils are encouraged to make drawings, compose songs, and recite poems using new sounds and words.
At the same time, all grade one teachers received a Teachers’ Manual, which complements the student workbooks.The manuals provide teachers with a ready reference for their daily lessons. It provides enough inputs for the teacher to fully discuss the different topics programmed for the entire school year, while incorporating value formation, as well as fun and enjoyment in the learning process. The lessons include activities such as games, poem/rhyme recitation, group singing and storytelling.
A total of 656 workbooks in Reading and 38 teachers’ manuals were distributed to all grade one students, grade one teachers and school principals in Natividad.