THE DYNAMIC LEARNING PROGRAM
The Vision-Mission of Cainta Catholic College boldly proclaims that "it offers learner-centered and technology-enabled programs and services." Since this Vision-Mission was crafted in the year 2007, I simply took the term "learner-centered" as it is, without truly understanding its meaning.
It was not until January 13, 2012, when Bishop Gabriel Reyes, D.D. invited Sister Amelia David, ICM, the Superintendent of Catholic School in the Diocese of Pagadian, who gave us a very enlightening lecture on the "Dynamic Learning Program" that my eyes were opened approximating an "aha" experience and fully understood the meaning of "learner-centered" program. How ironic it is that I did not immediately understood the term despite the fact that Sis. Amelia was my Principal when I was in High School in Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary. However, the program was then called "Individualized Instruction." This program was further developed as a teaching technique by Christopher and Ma. Victoria Bernido and now came to be known as the "Dynamic Learning Program (DLP)."
In essence, DLP is a 70% student-centered and 30% teacher-initiated pedagogical or teaching-learning method. The teacher is a mere facilitator of instruction while the students perform most of the activities. DLP allows freedom for differentiation in terms of interest, learning profile, and academic level.
There are five essential features of the DLP that are included in the delivery of the academic program. These salient components need to be adopted in order to develop the students' higher-order thinking and valuing skills.
The DLP as a way of teaching and learning is operationally carried out as follows:
- Parallel Learning
- Multi-Domain Learning Package/Well-Designed Learning Plan
- Activity (exercises, task, drills, reading, etc.)
- Analysis (guide questions, publishing of answers looking for the big idea and patterns to generate new or alternative ideas)
- Abstraction (input of expert)
- Application (reflection-exploring connections to daily life experience and in other fields of discipline)
- In-School Comprehensive Student Portfolio
- No-Homework Policy
- Biorhythm Classes
At the core of Dynamic Learning Program is called parallel learning where teachers spend only 20 percent of class time introducing the lesson to students and giving them the remaining 80 percent to answer questions.
During the allotted time for the subject, the prelection or lecture is conducted for not more than 20 minutes. He/she assists the learners in the clarification of instructions. Then, the class is left6 for a certain period to do their activities independently. The class is left to themselves to process the understanding of concepts and learning experiences.
The teacher then acts as a classroom manager to make sure that the students are "on task" all the time; he/she initially allows students to copy/study the concept notes on their own before proceeding to do the prepared learning activities and answering the guide questions. The teacher takes responsibility in discussing and interventing with the activities or entertaining questions raised by the students about the lesson. As the teacher got into their class for a free-flowing processing of the learning experience to reinforce correct understanding, he/she point out common errors, and the checks on the progress of the students' work. The teacher prompts and/or probes the students to allow them to analyze, reflect on, and synthesize their experiences.
By the end of a school year, DLP students would have answered up to 6,000 questions in science, math, economics and history subjects, among others.
Teachers can plan and prepare the activity sheets for the whole school year before classes start in June using DLP modules designed by the Bernidos. Even those who teach multiple classes may find it easy to follow the program.
The design of the activity sheet integrates the development of the mind, heart, body, and spirit. To ensure the interplay of cognitive, affective, and psychomotor development, the learning package has the following components:
The student portfolio is a compilation of the answers/responses of all the activities, documents of projects, test results, and papers of the students, and also of the alternative assessment evidences such as graphic organizers like the Venn Diagram, KWL chart, web maps; visual arts, essays, reflection journals, etc.
These portfolios are color-coded according to subject area. These were compiled for self-analysis by the students since they are the ones summarizing their results in the activities and quizzes for parents to track down or verify the progress of their children.
Homework is commonly referred to as tasks, exercise, or readings to be checked and tackled the next day. Assignment refers to advance selection reading and research, some preparatory writing and oral quarterly requirements such as home reading report, memorizing speeches for elocution, declamation, and speech choir.
Because so much work is already done in class, there is no more need to do assignments at home. The program also allows students a "strategic break" from academics every Wednesday, when they focus on physical education, music and arts classes. The no-homework policy is practiced to allow the students to relax after long periods of brain-draining activities throughout the course of the day.
Much learning takes place mostly in the morning because the students are still free from worries and loads of activities for the day. Thus, there is a bigger possibility of absorbing the lessons and analyzing problems fast. Out of this idea, the Bernido system schedules major subjects in the morning. Most of the classes begin with Math as the first period, Science the second, and English the third.
All these methods are introduced in order to maximize the learning process of students. Whereas in the traditional system, the teachers lectures during the whole period and gives quizzes and exams periodically, the DLP allows the students to learn by themselves, thereby making learning easier more enjoyable.
This system is not something new. Many exclusive schools have been using this system for years and with much success. That is why with the adoption of the DLP, I have the firm hope that the academic standard of CCC will be at par with that of exclusive and more expensive schools. In exhort all our teachers to patiently adapt to this system because this is the only way that we can be true to our Vision-Mission that we "offer learner-centered and technology-enables programs and services."
REV. MSGR. ARNEL F. LAGAREJOS, SThD