Ms. April Pristine Bermejo teaches at Linanot Elementary School in Iligan City where online learning is not an option because of the poor mobile phone signal and internet connectivity, and limited access to television, computers, or any online gadgets. During the pandemic, their only available choice is the modular distance learning (MDL) modality, a learning delivery modality where learning takes place between the teacher and the learners who are geographically remote from each other during instruction.

Ms. April Pristine Bermejo of Linanot Elementary School in Iligan City teaches her students remotely using a handheld radio.

With the MDL, parents are expected to assist in facilitating the learning process of their children. In Ms. Bermejo’s class, however, parents are unable to facilitate learning at home because most of them only completed elementary school levels.

“Parents frankly shared that they cannot answer questions from their kids regarding their lessons. Hearing these feedback from their parents, we felt the need to establish a stable communication with them that would not require much technology,” Ms. Bermejo said. This was how the school’s Project RADIO or Radio-Assisted Delivery on Improving Instructional Outcomes) was conceived.

Project RADIO uses handheld radios or walkie talkies which allow realtime and two-way communication without the need for internet connection and only require battery packs to operate. The school managed to secure 20 units of walkie talkies, ten (10) of which were sponsored externally and were distributed to ten (10) households that were strategically identified based on their needs.

“Project RADIO allows us to have a ‘teacher presence’ in our learners’ homes as it enables us to directly communicate with learners and their parents. It has so far been proven to improve the academic performance of our Grade 2 learners,” said Ms. Bermejo.

“When the Results-based Performance Management System (RPMS) guidelines for SY 2020-21 came out, we were better guided to reflect on our practices and assess whether or not these practices match the performance expected of us. We are happy to find out that we are on the right track with our initiatives based on these COVID-responsive RPMS tools,” Ms. Bermejo added.

With technical assistance from RCTQ, the Department of Education issued guidelines for implementing the RPMS for SY 2020-2021 in the context of local conditions on teaching and learning and consistent with COVID-19 guidelines and regulations.

DepEd Undersecretary for Planning, and Human Resource and Organizational Development Jesus Mateo signed DepEd Memorandum DM-PHROD-2021-0010 on 11 January 2021 outlining the specific guidelines, including the tools, protocols, and timelines, in the implementation of RPMS as anchored on the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) of the Department. The directive considered performance management with various learning delivery modalities (LDMs) appropriate for the pandemic.

Ms. Bermejo added: “Personally, there were instances when I felt irrelevant because we teachers were being criticized for continuing to receive our salaries when we were not physically interacting with our learners. Some parents cracked sarcastic jokes that they should also take a fraction of our salaries because they were the ones physically teaching their kids. The new RPMS guidelines restored my confidence because it affirms what we always believed–that teaching is not just about physical interaction with students, and that I should be creative with my strategies given this very challenging health crisis. The MOVs for each RPMS objective specifically guide me to determine which areas I need to reskill and upskill myself with in order to improve my practice and teaching strategies.”

In line with being creative with instructional and assessment strategies amid the pandemic, the RPMS for this school year includes PPST indicator 3.4.2 which expects teachers to plan and deliver strategies that are responsive to learners in difficult circumstances, such as but not limited to health crises.

The tools in the COVID-responsive RPMS, Ms. Bermejo said, are contextualized to accommodate the changes in the learning delivery.

“It is easy for me to document my teaching performance because the required means of verification (MOVs) are now reduced (i.e., only 2 classroom observations (CO), 2 supplementary materials) and also contextualized (i.e., alternative modes of COs),” Ms Bermejo said. In the new guidelines, teachers may submit lesson audio recordings as MOVs for other classroom observable indicators in the RPMS to accommodate teaching through radio-based instruction.

“From our action research, radio-assisted instruction can be of great help in ensuring contextual, engaging, and relevant learning experiences amidst the restrictions set in the “new normal”. Furthermore, such intervention would help revive the element of “teacher presence” even in the absence of face-to-face instruction,” Ms. Bermejo said.

Ms. Bermejo’s experience proves how teachers need to be supported especially during the pandemic. With RCTQ’s help, DepEd’s RPMS has been configured to enable performance assessment for teachers that is supportive and leads them to the improvement of the quality of teaching for improved learner performance.

https://www.rctq.ph/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/2021-03-RPMS-Bermejo-2-1024x557.jpghttps://www.rctq.ph/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/2021-03-RPMS-Bermejo-2-150x150.jpgAdminFeatureRPMS
Ms. April Pristine Bermejo teaches at Linanot Elementary School in Iligan City where online learning is not an option because of the poor mobile phone signal and internet connectivity, and limited access to television, computers, or any online gadgets. During the pandemic, their only available choice is the modular...