Sharing the learning journey with teachers

Sharing the learning journey with teachers

Diosdado M. San Antonio

“As an FLT, I loved my interactions with fellow teachers and felt that DepEd leaders should not insulate themselves from opportunities to directly facilitate learning or capacitybuilding initiatives of teachers on the ground.”


As I recall the times I shared with teachers during training courses in SEAMEO INNOTECH, I realize that there is nothing like learning new teaching techniques and sharing this process with fellow teachers. 

I first learned of SEAMEO INNOTECH in 2007. I was Schools Division Superintendent (SDS) of Ligao City Division, Region V, when I discovered that School-based Quality Learning Cells (q-Learn) modules were available to deepen the knowledge of content and pedagogy of teachers and instructional leadership of principals. These modules were also used to capacitate Grade 6 Mathematics teachers.  

Using the q-Learn materials, I and the Department of Education (DepEd) Ligao City Division staff found evidence that capacitating teachers using the modules was more effective than traditional face-to-face trainings. These findings were published in a British-based peerreviewed journal.  

Ligao City Division’s initiative was made easier because of materials developed by INNOTECH that were made available to DepEd field offices. These materials are still useful in upscaling the skills of teachers even if DepEd changes the teacher’s required competencies. 

I recall that as Region IV-A Regional Director, another INNOTECH knowledge product called the Instructional and Curricular Excellence in School Leadership for Southeast Asia (ICeXCELS), came in handy. Through technology transfer, DepEd CALABARZON implemented the program independently from INNOTECH, covering as many people as they wanted. That was the start of my love affair with Flexible Learning Options (FLO), after which we sought more ways of intensifying efforts to capacitate teachers.  

DepEd CALABARZON implemented a very aggressive strategy in capacity building to enhance the quality of education in the region and also ran the Teaching and Learning Excellence in School Leadership for Southeast Asia or TEACHeXCELS course and other online programs of INNOTECH in the region. Later, I was recruited as a Flexible Learning Tutor (FLT). 

As an FLT, I loved my interactions with fellow teachers and felt that DepEd leaders should not insulate themselves from opportunities to directly facilitate learning or capacitybuilding initiatives of teachers on the ground. I enjoyed the experience as it helped me learn from teachers and it was an effective way for DepEd executives to influence teachers’ world views and paradigms. The learners in my group would say that they felt happy that they learned effective ways of doing things in DepEd. As an FLT, I facilitated online and offline learning activities and interacted with DepEd field office personnel using mobile phones and text messages. It was an opportunity to facilitate the learning journey of their successors. 


These are my sources of fulfilment or high points in working with the Center as I was able to learn with teachers from other places; and that I became a part of their journey in becoming more enlightened teachers or principals.  

In the implementation of these INNOTECH knowledge products, I coordinated with the Center staff, Reg, Robbie, JY, and Jess. I also worked with DepEd field personnel (principals and teachers) and fellow FLTs; and learned from them. I also coached another teacher who is now a regular FLT. 

In my previous post as Assistant Director of the Bureau of Secondary Education in 2010, I talked to elementary level Public Schools District Supervisors in one of the Bureau’s programs and facilitated a session with participants for the Understanding by Design (UBD) curriculum that utilized INNOTECH knowledge products in the program implementation. 

I also served as an FLT for GURO21 or Gearing Up Responsible and Outstanding Teachers in Southeast Asia for the 21st Century. I believe that GURO21 and TEACHeXCELS are breakthrough initiatives in education innovation. I encouraged the Center to submit proposals that will be considered for DepEd’s transformed National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP), have these courses recognized as valid professional development courses for teachers, and be part of the NEAP’s programs. This way, NEAP can orchestrate the program that will tap the expertise of all partners that work with the Center as well as higher education institutions.  

I credit INNOTECH’s very strong research team that develops the courses and a strong support for technology for these breakthrough online programs.  In the next 50 years, I see INNOTECH playing a bigger role in DepEd’s efforts to intensify and enhance the quality of education and hope that the partnership will be further strengthened. I see the Center at the forefront of nurturing innovators and professionals for the future. 

I hope to see INNOTECH acknowledged as an initiator of education innovation in Southeast Asia. The Center can create greater impact in the lives of Southeast Asian learners by continuously designing relevant programs responsive to the requirements or realities of 21st century education.   

Working with educators is challenging, especially in DepEd as many teachers are not comfortable with highly innovative officials or initiatives. The Center needs to continue to find ways of making stakeholders, especially teachers and field offices, understand and appreciate the value of doing things out of the box. The Center can think of the future further so that the solutions designed are not just reactionary to what is currently happening, but proactive interventions that will redound to more highly educated learners in Southeast Asia and the Philippines.  

Congratulations to SEAMEO INNOTECH on your golden anniversary! My wish is for you to continue to take the lead in providing and designing programs that are highly innovative and designed to make sure that school administrators and teachers of Southeast Asia are world-class. 

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