Kinder and Grade 1 Pupils in Padre Garcia, Batangas will have exciting classes in the coming school year as their teachers apply the new techniques acquired from the training conducted by Synergeia Foundation under USAID’s Education Governance Effectiveness (EdGE) on May 4-5, 2015.
Vice Mayor Noel Cantos, who heads Padre Garcia’s education committee, initiated the training to lay a good foundation not just in children but also in teachers. “We cannot just proceed with our reading program if our teachers are not properly equipped with the right teaching skills first,” he said. Having good teachers in the classroom will also lessen the need for later interventions. His office provided meals, hand-outs and materials for the training as counterpart support to EdGE.
Synergeia mentor and national reading expert Prof. Shirley Equipado who conducted the training, reminded the teachers that children’s future learning ability depends on the foundation they lay. “Your students are spending their early childhood with you. Imagine them 20 years from now. What will they be? You need to reflect. Are we the best teachers for the young?” She then shared various techniques to develop and nurture children’s enthusiasm in class and how to effectively teach reading with comprehension. The training benefited over 50 Kinder and Grade 1 teachers from the 17 public elementary schools in the municipality.
The teachers expressed their gratitude after the training. “This seminar means a lot to us, to me, because we supply the knowledge and skills of our pupils,” one teacher said. “I’m excited about the techniques and the springboards to be used,” another teacher shared. When asked if they will apply the training in the coming school year, the entire group’s reply was a resounding “YES!” The school heads present also pledged to fully support their teachers in conducting classes using the creative teaching methods.
Teachers show off their hand-made materials and demonstrate how to use them to instruct early reading.
Politics Aside, Education Comes First
Mayor Abraham Gutierrez expressed his full support of the activity saying that even though he and Vice Mayor Cantos have different political affiliations, they are one in putting education as the top priority in governance. They thanked Synergeia for lending its valuable technical support to the LGU’s efforts.
Mayor Abraham Gutierrez (Left) and Vice Mayor Noel Cantos (Right) set aside political differences in pursuit of education reform
The two officials offered to help the teachers acquire school materials needed to make learning fun for children. Mayor Gutierrez pledged to finance a good quality laminating machine for the teachers’ use. The machine would be useful in preserving instructional materials that teachers will make for the children. He also assured that all future Synergeia trainings will be held in the air-conditioned function rooms of the municipal hall to provide a conducive learning environment for the participants.
The healthy collaboration between the LGU, school heads, teachers and other stakeholders is established through the EdGE program. It is a five-year USAID-funded project which runs from 2013 to 2018 and seeks to improve education governance with the end goal of improving learning outcomes, particularly early grade reading, for at least 1 million children.