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2,500 educators learn online to prepare for 'new normal'

As the country gradually transitions to a general community quarantine, different sectors, including education, prepare to face their ‘new normal.’ Schools across the Philippines race to make the necessary arrangements ahead of the opening of classes in August.

To help educators and school leaders find the right strategy in order to cope with the challenges, Diwa Learning Systems Inc. (Diwa) and Bato Balani Foundation Inc. launched the How To Be a Highly Effective Teacher (HTBHET) Seminar Series Online, which is a digital offshoot of its flagship teacher training program.

Jumpstarting the initial run of the webinar series was a two-hour session held on April 23 for 500 school owners and administrators called "Re-imagining School Leadership in the Time of COVID and Beyond." It discussed what school leaders feared the most due to the current pandemic—closing down their schools—and explored scenario planning to help participants adopt a more open and forward-looking disposition.

A repeat of the seminar happened on April 30 due to popular demand, with another 500 school leaders attending the learning session.

Through the session entitled "Rewiring Teaching in the Time of COVID and Beyond," classroom teachers were moved from a place of crippling fear to a place of confident adaptation.

The next on the series was a webinar geared towards subject area coordinators called "Reconfiguring Learning Supervision in the Time of COVID and Beyond," which was held on May 2, with a repeat on May 30. This aimed to look at alternative delivery models of learning that will let participants embrace the new nuances of adaptive instructional leadership. A total of 1,000 coordinators attended the two online seminars.

Lastly, a learning session for teachers called "Rewiring Teaching in the Time of COVID and Beyond" was scheduled on May 9 with 500 attendees. It focused on the five important issues that every teacher has to know when delivering and facilitating learning services in a time of adversity.

All the learning sessions in the webinar series were facilitated by Dr. Edizon A. Fermin, Vice President for Academic Affairs of National Teachers College. Dr. Fermin is a known expert on e-learning, multiliteracy, teacher education, sociolinguistics, student affairs program development, and curriculum development.

"The goal of any good educator is to understand that there must be mechanisms to make learning continuous because what's at stake is the general well-being and future of our students," Dr. Fermin shared.

HTBHET has already trained around 304,500 teachers from all over the Philippines since it started in 2001. It includes a portfolio of topics that include teaching strategies, motivation and inspiration, values, and current industry trends. Its main goal is to contribute to teachers’ professional and personal development.

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