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Modular Approach in Teaching and Learning: The Experiences of Parents and Learners

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused the biggest disruption of education systems in history, affecting billions of learners in most countries and all continents. Closures in schools and other learning areas are solutions intended to ensure the safety of everyone. In the Philippines, this gives rise to new norms in education, a change from face-to-face delivery to distance learning.

Department of Education (DepEd) ensure that education continues in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The DepEd Learning Continuity Plan (LCP) details the plan for transitioning from face-to-face to distance learning. During the enrolment period, parents are asked to provide their children with their desired learning methods. Based on the findings obtained, most parents tend to provide modular distance learning modality through the use of printed modules. So, DepEd begins working on the first quarter of the modules. Teachers who have potentials in writing are called to prepare the modules. Additional funds are also reserved for the printing of modules.

Schools are now beginning to train parents for the flow of modular distance learning. Parents are given advice on the learning delivery modality they want for their children. In addition, they are also told about their vital role in this period of the pandemic, which is to act as a learning facilitator for their children at home. They often take their position as an additional workload and challenge because they lack the patience and ability to teach the lessons of their children. With a series of orientations, they internalize their new position for their children.

Schools also have orientation for students to understand the changes that are taking place in the new education system. They are told that, for the entire period of modular distance learning, their home will act as their school where their teachers are their parents or older siblings who have the capacity and ability to clarify the substance of the lessons. Modules, learning activity sheets and other additional materials are given. These learning packages are distributed and retrieved every Friday. As a result, they are given one week to perform all the learning tasks listed in their learning guides.

Before the start of school, all learning packets are already distributed to students. These learning materials are given to their parents on a scheduled basis and in accordance with the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF). Each student has a copy of the printed modules in all areas of learning. They are advised to read first of all the contents of the Weekly Home Learning Plan (WHLP) focusing on the learning activities that serve as a guide to what is needed for the week. The WHLP consists of a regular schedule of students about what to do in each learning field. Students are expected to comply with the requirements of the WHLP in order to prevent difficulties in the performance of their assigned tasks.

Parents and students join together to collaborate on the modules. Based on the monitoring carried out, it shows that there are instances where students cannot grasp the content of the modules. These episodes have caused them to seek the support and assistance of their parents. There are parents who are not aligned in the learning area so that they cannot provide the support and assistance that their children are looking for. This scenario is becoming a challenge for parents and students to learn lessons in modular instruction.

In addition, the modules include several tasks that are difficult for students to carry out in a single environment. Having more than 10 learning areas and several tasks to complete, there is a clear tendency for students to work more than eight (8) hours a day. Some have also been stayed late in order to beat the deadline for submission of modules. As a result, the wellbeing of students suffers because they stayed late every day. Likewise, there are occasions where students apply incomplete weekly activities because they lack the time to complete all assigned weekly learning tasks.

Parents and students believe like they are not prepared to take this new approach to learning the lesson. Modular learning gives them an extra strain on the family. The contents of the modules are not compatible with the level of parents and students, which is why they cannot understand. Likewise, if this continues to happen, some parents and students tend to wait for the resumption of face-to-face teaching so they understand the lesson when there is a teacher who discusses the substance of the lesson.

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