The global health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic crystallizes the dilemma of policymakers to a continuous provision of quality education. The situation has led to the unprecedented scale of teaching practice moving from the conventional education system to online digitalization and alternative learning modalities.
In the Philippines, though teachers have expressed their readiness to this switch to distance learning, the lack of facilities, equipment and capacity building has made them doubtful of the success of the implementation of the Department Order 12 s. 2020 entitled “Adoption of the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan for School Year 2020-2021 in Light of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency” that has been the catalyst of the changes in education delivery throughout the nation.
Despite the limited experience in distance education such as technical skills, time management, knowledge and attitude in online education, teachers were still able to cope with the trends in distance learning (Ventayin 2018). But it is evident, that the basic education in the country has a long way to go when it comes to overcoming the constraints of Science education. The country placed second from the bottom in Science Literacy as shown in the latest result of Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and a significantly lower achievement scale in the International Mathematics and Science (TIMSS) assessment.
To address this dilemma, research in science education implicated that effective teaching strategies plays a vital role in improving higher order thinking skills of students (Saido, 2015). Teachers in the Philippines have resorted to different teaching strategies such as recording and uploading their lessons for the students to access and other online sites like YouTube, learning management system (LMS), digital library, internet streaming or broadcast, repositories like Open Educational Resources (REA), and the like.
As society seeks a technologically literate and STEM proficient student (Roberts & Cantu, 2012), it is important to evaluate alternative educational strategies and view its connection to teaching effectiveness which can be influenced by the teacher’s professional disposition (Welch et al., 2014). Professional dispositions are defined as those professional attitudes, values, and beliefs that educators demonstrate through both verbal and non-verbal behaviors. With an increasing number of students in virtual classes, institutions must define what constitutes good online teaching and the professional teaching dispositions necessary to be an effective educator.
Hence, this study was conducted, to look deeply into the realms of teaching in the new normal education, to characterize effective instructional and assessment strategies that are rooted on the teachers dispositions and succinctly draw conclusions therewith. This study described the socio-demographic of the teachers in terms of age, sex, civil status, educational attainment, position, years in service, relevant trainings attended and technological competence. It also determined the instructional strategies utilized by the Science teachers of the Divisions of Cabanatuan, San Jose City and Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. Further, it determined the assessment strategies utilized by the Science teachers of the Divisions of Cabanatuan, San Jose City and Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija; determined the performance rating of Science teachers of the Divisions of Cabanatuan, San Jose City and Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. It also described the teachers’ perception on effectiveness of the online teaching strategies in terms of social presence, virtual-technological presence, pedagogical presence, and cognitive / expert presence; determined the relationship between the teachers’ socio-demographic characteristics and their perceive effectiveness of these strategies during delivery of distance learning; found out the relationship between the online instructional strategies adopted by Science teachers and their perceive effectiveness of these strategies during delivery of distance learning. In addition, it found out the relationship between the online assessment strategies adopted by Science teachers and their perceived effectiveness of these strategies during delivery of distance learning. It also found out the relationship between the Science teachers’ performance rating and their perceive effectiveness of these strategies during delivery of distance learning. Finally, it assessed the challenges encountered by the Science teachers in the implementation of the online instructional and assessment strategies and their executed solutions
With the overarching question regarding the online instructional and assessment strategies of the teachers, the explanatory sequential mixed method design below is formulated to conduct an in-depth study of the perceptions and constructions of the participants. The researcher used both descriptive and inferential statistical techniques in the Quantitative Phase. Descriptive statistics such as frequency, percentage, mean and standard deviation was used to answer the first five research questions while inferential statistics particularly Pearson Product Moment Correlation was used to answer the other four research questions requiring inferential analysis. While in the qualitative phase, the interview data were transcribed in semi-verbatim manner. This method allowed the level of detail in the transcription process that omits pauses and filler statements and sentence structure but making sure that important interjections and prompts by the interviewer which can be vital to understanding the responses. Using the Grounded Theory Approach, the qualitative phase was used to identify emerging themes. Data collection and analysis were done iteratively using NVivo software for the analysis of transcription to aid in categorizing and facilitating analysis for interpretation.
The study revealed that the teacher – respondents falls on the mean age of approximately 36 years old wherein majority were female and married. More than half of the teacher – respondents attained bachelor's degree with additional units in the Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS). The study also found out that many of the teacher – respondents are on the Teacher I position. In terms of years in service, most of the teacher respondents have less than 10 years of experience that handled classes grade 9 level. All of the respondents are found to have attended relevant trainings when it comes to online instructional and assessment strategies with an average of 4 each while most of the teacher respondents are categorized to have basic technological competence.
The study found out that teacher gave high regards to maintaining quality instruction in their online classes with an overall mean of 4.33 (Strongly Agree) and standard deviation of 0.69. They all strongly agreed that to be effective in instruction, teachers should “establish good rapport and collaboration with students” (𝑥̅ = 4.60, SD = 0.56), “ensure that all members of a group must participate in chat room discussions” (𝑥̅ = 4.45, SD = 0.66), “require continual, immediate, and detailed feedback regarding student understanding of course materials” ” (𝑥̅ = 4.43, SD = 0.67). On the other hand, teachers only “agreed” in “making online course at least as rigorous as the conventional courses (face to face learning)” which had the lowest mean of 4.022 and a standard deviation of 0.84.
The results also implied that teacher – respondents are devoted to planning and applying quality assessment strategies that has a pooled mean of 4.36 and a standard deviation of 0.69. “Using rubric to determine if learning outcomes are being met” is their top priority with the highest mean of 4.60 with a standard deviation of 0.60 and is verbally described as “strongly agree”. To add, they also strongly agreed that teaches should “evaluate student work to determine if learning outcomes are being met” (𝑥̅ = 4.55, SD = 0.57) and “use rubric to assess the quality of interaction (e.g., analyze depth of postings)” (𝑥̅ = 4.50, SD = 0.68). Meanwhile, the only parameter verbally described as “agree” and got the lowest mean (𝑥̅ = 4.13, SD = 0.84) is that of teachers should make assignments out of student chat room discussions on materials posted / provided.
The teacher – respondents were also found to have an exemplary performance in executing their duties and responsibilities as rated by their immediate supervisors with an over – all mean of 4.46, standard deviation of 0.29, and a verbal description of “outstanding”. Majority (77 or 57.46%) of the teacher - respondents are bracketed in the 4.50 – 5.00 range. Almost half (55 0r 41.04%) garnered “very satisfactory performance” within the range 3.50 – 4.49 while only two (1.49%) got a satisfactory rating (2.50 – 3.49).
Further, the study revealed that the teacher – respondents had a positive self-assessment with regards to their professional dispositions implicated with the effectiveness of their online teaching practices, and in the context of this study, their strategies in instruction and assessment as evident to the overall mean of 3.66 and a standard deviation of 0.49, and verbally described as “very true of me”. The leading factors are Social presence (𝑥̅ = 3.79, SD = 0.57) and Expert / Cognitive presence (𝑥̅ = 3.74, SD = 0.44). Teachers project themselves socially and affectively and can effectively select appropriate content for their online classes. Virtual / Technological Presence measured to a pooled mean of 3.58 while the Pedagogical presence closely followed with a pooled mean of 3.53 and a 0.54 standard deviation which implied that they are able to provide leadership and guidance in their classes.
Socio – demographic characteristics are found to have significant relationship with VTDS especially in terms of Relevant Trainings attended and Technological Competence which indicated that teachers consider considered themselves effective when they actively participate into relevant trainings regarding distance learning and when their technological know-how is elevated or intensified.
Online instructional strategies are found to be highly correlated to the four domains of VTDS (Virtual / Technological Presence, Cognitive / Expert presence , Social presence and Pedagogical presence which indicated that teachers who have applied such instructional strategies perceive themselves to be effective.
The data in assessment strategies also has a highly significant relationship among the four domains, cognitive / expert presence, virtual / technological presence, social presence and pedagogical presence which implied that teachers – respondents used varieties of assessment strategies that defined them effective in the four domains of VTDS.
The study also revealed that teachers performance rating has statistically significant relationship to the domain “social presence” and has no significant relationship with the domains Cognitive / Expert Presence , Virtual / Technological presence and pedagogical presence which implied that the significantly high performance rating of the teachers have cause a positive effect or elevated their perceived effectiveness in the VTDS.
Lastly, the study found out that teachers have faced critical challenges that negatively influence the effectiveness of their online and instructional strategies. In contrast, these identified challenges have been overcome by the teachers through the solutions they have executed that are positively influencing effectiveness. Both these challenges and strategies have been coded into 8 and 11 nodes and are categorized into three namely: Technical Factor, Student Factor and Teacher Factor (see figure 1). These challenges include unstable internet connection, unprecedented power interruption, lack of motivation, poor attendance, late outputs, lack of time to prepare arduous materials, lack of gadget, and low technological competence / digital literacy. The solutions executed were used of back - up data, rescheduling of class, sending recorded video lessons, consistent monitoring, provided extra - curricular support programs, gave merits and awards, extended deadlines and attended relevant trainings It can be drawn in the results of the study that the distance learning classes across the three divisions are being taught by well – experience and outstanding and teachers that are majority female with an average age of 36 years old, married, have attained bachelor's degree with additional units in the Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MS), holds Teacher I position, equally distributed across all the grade levels and all have attended relevant trainings. The importance of establishing good rapport and collaboration with students, ensuring that all members of a group must participate in chat room discussions, and requiring meaningful feedback are highly
emphasized strategies in effective instruction. Teachers highlighted the assessment value of rubrics in maintaining effectiveness of different strategies such as determining if learning outcomes are being met, evaluating student work to determine if learning outcomes are being met and assessing the quality of interaction. They regard themselves to be highly effective among the four domains of virtual teaching dispositions which in turn is positively influence by their socio demographic characteristics in terms of relevant trainings attended and technological competence, and the teachers online and assessment strategies. On the other hand, effectiveness of the online instructional and assessment strategies is negatively influence by the challenges, but they have proven to overcome these hurdles in distance learning with their achievable solutions. With the findings of this study, it is highly suggested that these strategies be carried out across multiple learning areas and be utilized as a premise for teachers and curriculum planners in crafting and developing instructional plan.
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