Teaching students to be independent learners-A A +A
Sunday, January 6, 2013
IMAGINE a school where nap time is part of everyday's activity. Yes, one hour after lunch everyday learners at the Apo Learning Village take some time off for the much-needed Zzzz's.
"Dapat talaga iyan siesta time, especially in this tropical country where the heat zaps our energy," school administrator Ana Marie Siapno-Gualberto said in a recent interview.
However, this does not mean that the school is lackadaisical in its academic pursuits. The school does have a rigorous curriculum and have been known to drop students from its roster to maintain academic standards.
"The nap time is very important. The students wake up refreshed and more productive. Here we focus on the academics in the morning and individual instructions in the afternoon," she said.
The school started 11 years ago with ten preschool students. In a short span of time it grew to its present number of 100 students, from preschool to elementary to high school.
Apo Learning Village uses the developmental approach in learning and follow the stages of child's readiness to individual instruction. Here, learning is thematic and stress-free for children. They enjoy learning rather than memorize all day. The school utilizes a higher order of teaching through skills, analysis, evaluation and synthesis, all at based at their own pace and capacity.
"At first, parents cannot accept the idea how we do away with traditional textbooks. But in the end, they see and appreciate the results," she said.
Good education always comes with a price. Ms. Gualberto admits the education they offer is not cheap. Two teachers are present in each classroom at any given time of the day.
And they have reaped their success too as their students do well in the National Achievement Test given to all grade six and second year high school students.
"Most students here get a 95% average and above," she revealed.
The year 2013 marks a milestone for them as the school welcomes its first year of highschool graduates. All of Ms. Gualberto's three children finished their studies at the Apo Learning Village. Both she and her husband Dodie Gualberto are hands-on teachers as well.
The school does away with traditional learning though they still use the basic subjects. They follow regular school hours but utilize projects and activities like field trips and different school materials to maximize learning.
"We use use modules, hand-outs and UBDs," she said.
UBD or understanding by design is a backward educational tool used in performance assessments and classroom instructions.
"As a result, children are more relaxed and in effect more behaved. Our objective here is for kids to learn to be independent learners. Our goal is for each student to reach their maximum potential. Smart kids will really shine and whenever we give them projects, lumalabas talaga ang galing nila," she said.
Despite the success, Ms. Gualberto said she intends to maintain the school population and has no goals of overexpanding in the future.
"We take into consideration the parents and children. We make sure that there is time after school to give feedback. Konting kuwentuhan from petty things that happened during the day to the more significant academic concerns. With a big population, we can not do that," she said.
Ms. Gualbertos' dreams for her graduates are from from lofty, they are simple and patriotic.
"I look forward to the students staying in the country, working here and sharing their gifts here. I look forward for them to be part of the solution of the country. However, if they decide to leave, I hope they contribute their best to that community," she said.
Apo Learning Village is located at 708 Molave street, Juna Subdivision, Matina, Davao City with telephone numbers 286-6806 and 0922-8752569.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 07, 2013.