8 Week Curriculum; Its impact to grade 1-3 learners
By Roselyn N. Poquita
COVID-19 pandemic changes everything especially our educational system, wherein face to face contact to the learners was not allowed on the peak of the pandemic and becomes limited the following years. This becomes a big challenge to the department since its main role is to deliver quality education through classroom instruction. Several strategies were implemented because as the saying goes “Education cannot wait. If learning stops, we will lose human capital” How are we going to ensure learning continuity amidst pandemic was the primary concern of the department, that is why the Department of Education came up with the different learning modalities. We were given options, just to make sure that despite the situation we had faced education continues. The Education department make sure that despite this challenge, it shall still strive to produce Filipino learners who are skilled and globally competitive. This resulted to the release of the MELCs or the Most Essential Learning Competencies. The Competencies in K to 12 Curriculum were merged, rephrased, dropped and retained as to its importance and relevance. This served as the teacher’s guide in delivering instruction. Another is the creation of contextualized self learning modules which were given to learners as their tool in learning at home through the help of their parents. It doesn’t end with that, video lessons were also made as an aide for learning. The pandemic resulted to a very low performance of learners despite the strategies made. There was a big increased on the number of non-readers and non-numerates and it has been interpreted as a result of the distance learning. As a remedy, the Region initiated a unique curriculum for the learners which main objective is to recover learning loss specifically among the primary learners. This is the 8 week Curriculum. What was the impact of this curriculum to the learners?
The implementation of the 8 week curriculum in the Region was not a smooth sailing journey on part of the teachers. It was challenging because everything is new, a lot of adjustments were made. Teachers have undergone trainings on how the curriculum will look like inside the classroom. How will they manage each learner and what activities will be given to learners. What’s unique in this curriculum is that it focused on the development of literacy and numeracy skills of the learners which is the fundamentals of learning. There is a need to develop these skills because it will help them understand more the other subjects. After the rigid training of Grade 1 to 3 teachers, the classrooms were prepared its physical aspects. Learners were grouped according to their ability. In the classrooms there are four learning centers, in which the learners were able to manipulate objects, engage themselves in games and in learning varied activities. It was hard on the first weeks of implementation because teachers had to prepare and print learning worksheets for each learning level. The what so called multi-tasking skills of teachers was tested. It is good that the materials were available and have been prepared by the Region as it was being implemented. The curriculum implementation runs smoothly as weeks passes by. Teachers become familiar and had mastered the strategies they will used in the entire implementation of the curriculum. It was 8 weeks of developing reading skills and numeracy skills of the pupils. After the implementation of the curriculum post assessment was conducted to find out if it is effective or not. Was it of good result.
The result of post assessment conducted shows that there is a big increased on the number of readers. The Grade 1 to 3 learners improves a lot when it comes to literacy. The implementation of the 8 week curriculum has a great impact to the Grade 1 to 3 learners. They were not just able to identify sounds, reads words or phrases and stories but most importantly they enjoy reading. Grade 1 to 3 learners who were left behind or who had learning loss were able to recover it as it is the main purpose of the curriculum. They were engaged into meaningful learning experience through the help of the four learning centers. It is where they developed their skills moreover their social skills. The learning was not just limited to merely listening to their teachers as they discussed the lesson. Various activities provided by teachers made the learning process easier both on learners and teachers. It was indeed an enjoyment. The provision of ready-made worksheets helps a lot in the entire implementation. It guides the teacher on where to start and how will it takes place. The skills that needs to be developed for every key stage was present on the worksheet starting from the alphabet knowledge down to the comprehension skills. On numeracy the four fundamental skills was the focused, that is why learners find it easier. This helps the learners learned at their own rate meaning to say there is an available worksheet for each type of learners. After the implementation of the curriculum there is a big improvement on the numeracy and literacy skills of the learners. It was very evident. It was a good curriculum that the Region must be proud of. I could definitely say that it has served its purpose of recovering learning loss brought about by the pandemic for almost two years . On teacher’s part it was a lot of help, for they were able to understand more the individual needs of their pupils thereby providing them various learning activities. Yes it was hard at first but as times passed by it becomes easier. There might be negative comments on its first weeks of implementation but that was proven to be wrong because the curriculum really brings positive change on the performance of the learners. But will it just stop there? What shall happen next? Should the curriculum be implemented whole year? As some of the teachers in the primary grade says “ 8 weeks curriculum should not be just 8 weeks, it should be a long year curriculum”. I do agree with this notion. Primary learners must be taught with this fundamental skills first before they should be given a lot of subjects to take. This will make them focused and learned better. Indeed good curriculum produces good learners with the aide of competent and dedicated teachers.