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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Teacher development programs: boon or bane?

According to Edutopia (2008), “ongoing professional development keeps teachers up-to-date on new research on how children learn, emerging technology tools for the classroom, new curriculum resources and more.”
It has been observed in public schools that teachers are enrolling themselves in graduate school. Some even have a Master’s or Ph.D. degree prior to entering public school. In addition, the Department of Education (DepEd) has sent many teachers to various national and international workshops to keep themselves updated with the current trends in education, encouraging and introducing teacher development programs in our pursuit of quality education.
However, for me, the professional development of teachers today has not done justice to what it ought to be, as its central goal is taken more personally than professionally. In fact, before I am writing this article, someone just told me that I need to immediately finish my master’s degree so that I would be qualified to get promoted to a higher teaching position. It saddens me because it overshadows the main purpose of why continuing professional development is important, especially for our learners.
I believe that, presently, teachers enrol themselves in graduate studies for monetary purposes and obviously for fame and glory. In fact, there are many higher educational institutions which ask their students to just pay in exchange of passing their thesis. As a result, not all teachers with a Master’s degree have the necessary knowledge to update them with the current trends in education.
Surprisingly, most of the teachers employed in public schools today are already masters or doctorate holders, but many of them still use the traditional way of teaching. Many students are still regarded as non-readers or slow readers at the end of how many school years have passed in spite of the literacy seminars provided by DepEd to its teachers. According to international surveys, the Philippine education system remains ranked at the bottom of the scale in terms of scientific competence and research, although most teachers are already research literates. In spite of the growing number of teachers holding a master’s degree in the country, educational problems persist.
Aside from the degree titles our teachers are thriving for, DepEd has even made additions to their continuing professional development through initiating seminars and trainings, and sending teachers to various national and international seminars. In fact, DepEd has provided more funding for teacher development programs in response to the need for quality education and resources. But where have they gone now? I even remember one of my former colleagues who attended a training in Baguio whose learning and insights gained from the training ceased at the time the event ended as well. She did not even take the time to share with us what she had heard or learned. She said the important thing is the certificate she gets for her promotion. This example is just a representation of what most of the teachers think in return when they attend seminars and trainings, it’s the CERTIFICATES that they are getting after the event. It’s not to address the need for quality education, but to pursue their personal intention to be promoted to a higher position.
Only few of the teachers with graduate degrees are truly doing innovations and research on how to improve the quality of education in our country. Currently, only a few are motivated to tinker more on their acquired knowledge and share it with his colleagues in order to make a wave of learning.
DepEd should offer opportunities that are solely for teachers who are really performing and not for the ones who only gather for certificates and finish degrees for promotion purposes. If this type of thinking will continue, we are only immortalizing the assessment of Philippine Educational Commission (EDCOM) in 1991 that the quality of Philippine Education is declining and the teachers are at the heart of the problem.

By Marlon Labastida

(Photo source: GamaLearn)

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