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· Volume II Issue II

With the battle against an invisible lethal invader, the occurrence of COVID-19 has resulted not just certain delays due to lockdowns but every educational institution been forced to close and end the school year once and for all, not just in our country the Philippines, but all affected across the globe. Stating the obvious, the senseless attack of this pandemic has downright deranged our education system which has changed dramatically with the abrupt rise of e-learning. Whereby a new teaching methodology emerged and is currently undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.

Both teachers and students are entering an unparalleled time of distance learning. As we traverse across the convergence of the conventional face-to-face and digital spheres in our lives, the new phase is demanding us to take a leap in advance, develop and strategize a new technique that is suitable for all and that can help us to adapt and expand our horizons in an uncertain future. With technology enabled communication at the forefront of the new catchword “new normal”.

What has become normal? The silence along the highways, military troops across boundaries, scarcity of facemasks supply, hoarding of disinfectants, home-quarantines, lockdowns, physical distancing, limited gatherings and the all-pervasive support technology as a vital requirement to continue in midst of the pandemic. These and more compose the new normal. With this unforeseen drift away from the classroom across the globe, some are having second thoughts whether the embrace of online learning will carry on to post-pandemic, and how such an unlooked for and unprecedented change would impact the worldwide education landscape.

One of the immeasurable losses on the emergence of the virus making it a pandemic threat is in how students, without a choice, been compelled to adjust and grow with most parts upon their own. In particular, due to the abrupt change to digital and modular learning, the new method isn’t a simple walk in the park just because they’re at their own comfort space. Students are now taking more at their own inventiveness in their personal education and learning process, to keep on track and run at their own pace. As we feel the dawn of the new era with technology in dominion and as an obligatory resource to continue learning, it still appears to be a challenge for all. In order to make it an effective resolution it needs the concerted effort between a student, teacher, parents, government and the community as a whole.

As we continue to weigh our options whether to continue with the school year or push for an academic freeze, the Department of Education (DepEd) on the other hand remains unfazed and steadfast in its preparation for School Year 2020-2021 targeting its vision offering education for all. Providing Self Learning Modalities (SLMs) that reaches remote locations and far-flung provinces, the Department of Education managed to develop a new learning method that dismisses the academic freeze plea. As stated by Education Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan, considering that over 24 million students have enrolled for the coming school year, have agreed to participate through distance learning modalities and that the pandemic should not, in any way disrupt and interrupt education process.

Meanwhile, some teachers are bold with their opinions. With the sudden shift away from the traditional face-to-face setup into distance learning also made a stretch for their capabilities as teachers to determine and ascertain the students’ comprehension and understanding of their lessons. The pandemic has highlighted the uncertain gap among schools in terms of access, equity, and support for teachers, students, and education, in general. The question primarily revolves in an unequal standard of living, for not all of them have access to internet, and whether or not they provide such modules some parents unfortunately doesn’t have a solid foundation to educational background.

Guardians for the meantime, are in charge to occupy the space to teach and fill the void. Though the entire responsibility is not indebted on their own shoulders it’s still a collaborative effort between the teacher at home and teachers of our second home, the school. Which is mainly the reason why guardians and students should take part in a dialogue with teaching professionals to tackle not just about the content of each lesson but on how to properly approach learning.

At this point of the pandemic, certain realizations come to mind. As educators gear with the “new normal” set-up, is also the suitable time to convert our discomfort as a challenge to develop and invent a more systematic alternative and forge a new paradigm. As per the senseless and rapid transmission of the virus, physical learnings are no longer norms in this situation. We no longer stick to the status quo, as we are grounded in a new setting with students’ divided focus on that of their classes and their attention to their mobile gadgets. We currently stepped in a different facet of our lives and learning as we approach the new-normal. Whether or not this will create a different impact on all of us as stated by Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change”.