The extent of educational disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is higher than anything in recent history, whereas natural disasters, armed conflict or civil unrest have been detrimental to schools in countries around the world for decades. In Philippine setting, Department of Education (DepEd) offers alternative learning modalities to assure that education must continue.
The learning continuity plan of all schools reflects the alternative modes of delivery of education. Based from the surveys conducted during enrollment period, majority of the parents prefer to avail the modular printed learning modality. In this modality, the school is expected to prepare the printed copies of the modules of the learners. Teachers pack the learning packets in the envelope. These are given to the parents on the scheduled day of distribution. Parents are reminded to adhere to the safety protocols during the distribution of the modules.
Parents serve as the learning facilitators to their children. They need to spare their time to be engaged in providing guidance and assistance to their children. Furthermore, they need to act on the queries of their children. There are instances that majority of the parents are experiencing burnout in the performance of their role as learning facilitators. They notice that most of their time are being spent in helping their children to accomplish the learning tasks every week. For the working parents, they are requesting the school to extend the due dates in the submission of finished outputs because they do not have enough time to do all the given task on a limited time. Other parents prefer to hire private tutors to attend to the schooling of their children. They opt to pay for the services of other people who have the ability and capacity to explain the lessons to their children.
The present situation of the parents in the implementation of alternative learning modality is very challenging. They need to adjust to their new set-up in rendering help to the studies of their children. Prior to COVID-19 crises, parents usually monitor what their children learn in the school. In this time of pandemic, they are the one who are explaining the contents of the lesson in order for their children to understand it and can proceed to the various activities attached to the modules. By experiencing these changes in their lives, parents gradually internalize the hardships that the teachers are into in educating their children. Teachers are the epitome of having self-control over the chaotic situation in the classroom. They are receiving praises for doing their job well and making the learners to follow every bit of instructions they are giving.
Looking at the other situations of the parents, there are parents who admit their level of education that they cannot perform the attached work of a learning facilitator. The content of the modules or learning activities are beyond the level of their understanding that is why they cannot explain or give guidance and assistance to the studies of their children. It is saddened to note that the use of alternative delivery modality is a dilemma for parents like them. As a remedy, they seek the assistance of the teachers through phone calls, text messages, and even private messages via Facebook messenger. The situation they are in is a reflection that there is no alternative learning modality that fits to everyone. This is the reason why these parents prefer to have limited face-to-face instruction to assure that their children understand the content of the lesson for the week.
Assessment of learning is one of the concerns of the parents in the implementation of alternative learning modality. They even ask the teachers on their ways and means in assessing the performance of their children. DepEd answers the queries of the parents by providing interim guidelines for assessment and grading in light of the basic education learning continuity plan. Written works and performance tasks are the primary bases in assessing the performance of the learners. Teachers are instructed to prepare another set of activities intended for written works and performance tasks that are not lifted from the contents of the modules of learning activity sheets. These must be parallel and align with the learning competency for the week in order to measure what is already learned from the lesson. Every school has their own means of giving assessment to the learners. Some use Google forms and send the link in the group chat of the learners. Most of them prefer to have a printed copy of the assessment tool and performance tasks and these are given during the distribution of modules. With these modes of assessments, the school relies mostly on the honesty and integrity of the learners and their parents in answering the assessment tools and performing what is stated in the performance tasks.