Breaking impressions: BEAM proves math and science can be fun
by Mai Gevera
Davao City (10 October) -- Teaching least-liked subjects like Science and Math has been a problem of educators. This seeming disinterest has been reflected in national achievement and RAMSE test results as also manifested in the poor performance of Filipino students in both subject areas.
Challenged by this dilemma, the Basic Education Access in Mindanao initiated a project to make these subjects loved by teachers and students as well.
Learning and teaching Science and Math can be fun. This was the guiding principle during the Pre-service professional development workshop. Breaking old perceptions, teacher educators experienced learning and fun in Math and Science.
Fifty-seven teacher educators from the 21 BEAM partner TEIs participated in a 3-day workshop organized by BEAM Pre-service on Active Learning Approaches in Teaching Science and Mathematics held at the Mergrande Resort last September 25-27, 2006.
Experts in the field like Dr. Merle Tan and Dr. Sol Ulep of the University of the Philippines National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development (UP-NISMED shared strategies and techniques to the participants.
The three-day workshop was designed for teacher educators to be more familiar and comfortable in teaching content and to use the different strategies to promote HOTS, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Math and Science are related subjects and the participants were made to identify links for integration.
Using readily-available and indigenous materials tagged as "Supermarket Science", participants from the Science group conducted experiments that can be performed in the classroom and encourage students to think critically and answer questions. The Math group meanwhile, revisited concepts in problem solving, Algebra and Geometry and identified activities to make learning fun and interactive. A participant commented, "We were engaged in the activities that it seems we don't want to stop! I'm excited to do this in my Math major classes when I go back to my university."
"Science and Math are among the subjects students don't like. These are not often presented in dynamic and interesting methods. This workshop aims to address such issues and strengthen the professional practice of our teacher educators so they can model effective practices to pre-service teachers," explains Pre-service Adviser, Dr. Yvonne Zeegers, a Science teacher herself.
The third day was allotted for the PD team members and their faculty "buddies" to prepare lesson guides for their specializations. All the outputs from the workshop will be evaluated and each TEI will receive a compilation of exemplar lesson guides which can be used by their faculty members. An on-line lesson guide template and other resources can be accessed in the BEAM website (www.beam.org.ph/resources).
According to Dr. Merle Tan, UP-NISMED Executive Director, some TEIs teach their education students with advanced Math and Science. When they graduate and are in-service, they teach the same level Math and Science to their elementary and secondary students. Hence there is a need for pre-service teachers to be familiar with the Basic Education Competencies (BEC) to guide them on what DepEd needs for its teachers and what skills or competencies need to be developed among their students.
Teacher educators play a significant role in training pre-service teachers to strengthen their mastery of the subject and develop their ability to adapt the lessons according to the needs of their students. Learning innovative teaching strategies will help them stir the interest and participation of the class.
"I learned teaching strategies that would definitely enhance my teaching skills and help the student teachers under me to be more equipped when they are already in the field," muses a Science teacher educator, a first time participant to BEAM Pre-service workshops after performing the experiments the speakers made them to do.
This project of the BEAM is but one of the interventions done in DepEd schools to improve student performance in these subject areas. In support of these efforts, BEAM through the Pre-service component works with teacher educators in 21 TEIs in Regions XI, XII and ARMM to prepare new teachers with expanded content and pupil-centered teaching methods, taking into account the ways students learn and resources that support teaching and learning. (BEAM) [top]