It cannot be denied: we seem to have lost the effortless adeptness that we used to have where the English language is concerned.
In here comes the National English Proficiency Program (NEPP) as a national strategy to arrest the staggering decline of Filipinos’ English proficiency. The program is anchored on the concept that learners and teachers become equally responsible in developing an atmosphere where English is the language of instruction.
The learning module for the program goes as far as “knowing the learners first – where they came from, their life in their communities, and their spoken and unspoken needs.” Clearly, this necessitates a very committed role on the part of the teacher.
When teachers at the Tabuk Central School learned that the school would take the lead in implementing the NEPP, adverse reactions were observed and noted. But this initial feedback got slowly eroded as the teachers who were trained began to appreciate the various approaches contained in the program.
First is the so-called 2C2IA (Cognitive, Constructive, Integrative, Interrelated and Affective Approach); the CLT (Communicative Language Teaching) and the LEA (Language Experience Approach) which utilizes the WBL (Whole Brain Literacy Framework). These series of methodologies may seem confusing – but they do make the learning of English as fun and as meaningful as possible. All it takes is the sharing of a common interest between the teacher and the learner and a common vision to use the language in real-life situations.
It should be made clear, however, that the approaches are not really new to teachers because they have been using them – there are just some new innovative insertions and modifications, as well as additional activities so that the learning process would be more meaningful and interesting.
Also, the young student’s advanced view of life is given focus, with emphasis on the influence that the youth may be deriving from fast-changing technologies. The key idea is to cultivate a balanced literacy where the brains of the youth can be made to concentrate on the learning tasks at hand. This is what WBL seeks to attain.
As one of the regional coordinators for NEPP, we are tasked to conduct trainings for other trainors not only in our respective divisions, but even in other regions. Coordinators from the MIMAROPA (Mindoro Oriental, Mindoro Occidental, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) Region and the Ilocos Region were the first to be trained, followed recently by the Cordillera Administrative Regiun, the National Capital Region and the Cagayan Valley.
Tabuk Central School started to implement the program in the first grade. Teachers like Sally Wandaga, Julia Sandoval, Imelda Dinnang, Erlinda Ramos, Eufemia Ducusin, and Gemma Tolentino initially balked at the new concept but later on realized how advantageous the program is – despite being very tiresome.
The end of the sessions with the teachers made us all realized that, aside from grasping new ideas, we also learned to appreciate one another better – and this has been deepened by fruitful discussions that we had.
The demonstration done by the teachers proved how much were imbued from the training. Indeed, education is a continuous process, and that teachers need to be updated with the new directions in the educational system.