Locally Driven Prototypes of Future Learning Spaces in the Philippines [CIES 2024 Presentation]

We are indeed dealing with a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environment. The Philippines suffers natural and man-made vulnerabilities such as typhoons that occur throughout the year, earthquakes, and more recently, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. These challenges necessitated the establishment of the Education Futures Program. While the Philippines Basic Education Continuity Plan in response to the pandemic, DepEd recognized at that time the urgent need to “future proof” education. Nationwide education in futures thinking and foresight planning was needed to address the future learning needs of all children and building education resilience in times of crisis. This presentation provides an overview of the "Co-creating Learning Spaces for Improved Early Language Literacy and Numeracy in the Philippines" activity, under the USAID funded All Children Reading (ACR) - Philippines. Following a brief introduction to futures thinking and foresight planning, this presentation describes how school-level teams in the Philippines developed prototypes of learning spaces for the future that addressed anticipated needs of learners. We present the prototyping process centered on human centered design thinking, the way that school teams collected feedback on their innovations from teachers in the region, parents, and learners themselves, and a snapshot of the prototypes developed, and the benefit of the prototyping process to school teams and the relative success they had in realizing their future learning spaces innovations after two years.

How Teacher Social Networks Might be Leveraged to Enhance Diffusion and Implementation of New Pedagogies

The conventional ways that new pedagogies are taught and supported in low- and middle-income countries rarely leverage the social networks and relationships that are paramount for individuals to shift their beliefs and make positive decisions about adopting new methodologies, and for them to sustain these behavior changes in the long run. The purpose of this study was to apply social network analysis (SNA) and qualitative inquiry to understand the composition and structure of primary school teacher social networks to inform policy basic education programming about how to improve the diffusion and support for implementation of new pedagogies through these social networks. This study used a mixed model design to study the compositional and structural properties of teacher social networks in sub-district administrative areas or “wards” in Tanzania. Using data from completed socio-metric inventories, separate teacher social networks were generated for Mbawala, Madimba, Milangominne, and Nitekela wards in the Mtwara Region of Tanzania. Researchers used SNA to calculate quantitative measurements and generate teacher sociograms (i.e., network graphs) for each of the ward-level teacher social networks. We combined these data with data from teacher informant interviews that described the content, context, and benefit of educators’ interactions in the different wards and to help explain the SNA findings.

Co-designing Prototypes for Future Learning Spaces: A Field Guide for Scaling Future Learning Spaces Innovation in the Philippines

The purpose of this field guide is to introduce concepts, tools, and group activities that can be used to guide educators in co-creating locally defined prototypes of future learning spaces that will not only enhance social, emotional, and academic learning for all Filipino learners, but will ensure that learners flourish and develop a sense of agency, proactive citizenship, and work readiness for a successful future. The guide was created from selected content, exercises, and group processes that were introduced in the Leaders in Futures of Education (LIFE) course (June 20–July 19, 2022) and the Prototyping Future Learning Spaces Workshop (August 15–19 2022), which were attended by DepEd central office representatives, representatives from three regional offices (i.e., Region III: Central Luzan; Region VI: Central Visayas; and the Cordillera Administrative Region), and prototyping teams consisting of representatives from five SDOs—Tanauan City, Tuguegarao City, Pasig City, Caloocan City, and Quezon City—and at least one cooperating school in each SDO. This field guide provides a framework for DepEd partnerships across the country to begin their prototyping journey for co-designing future learning spaces for Filipino students.

Philippines Remote Learning Study Report

In June 2020 the Philippines Department of Education (DepEd) adopted the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP), a framework to guide the 2020–2021 school year in light of school closures that started in March 2020, during the final weeks of the 2019–2020 school year. The plan introduced an adjusted and condensed curriculum, the Most Essential Learning Competencies, to support schools and teachers in delivering learning through alternative modalities in lieu of face to face classes. DepEd also modified the 2020–2021 school calendar to start October 5, 2020, and end in June 2021. The school year typically runs from June through March in the Philippines, but regions, divisions, and schools needed additional time to prepare and operationalize the BE-LCP. For example, regions were tasked with determining appropriate remote learning1 delivery modalities based on local context. Approaches were further adapted and defined at the individual school level as schools contextualized the learning continuity plan. Given DepEd’s decentralized approach to contextualizing and ensuring learning continuity for learners, it became clear that remote learning would look vastly different across regions, divisions, and within schools. Subsequently, this mixed-methods study was designed to take an in-depth look at schools and families across the country to understand their experiences with teaching and learning during school closures—and particularly to understand how early language and literacy learning can best be supported in the distance learning context.

Strengthening institutional capacity to produce learning at scale: Case studies from Jordan, Malawi, Nepal, and Uganda

Case studies of RTI's work on strengthening institutional capacity in Nepal, Jordan, Malawi, and Uganda focusing on three core functions: (1) setting and communicating expectations; (2) monitoring against expectations; (3) providing targeted support to struggling schools.

Agent-based modeling: Understanding influence of teacher-student interactions on learning and equity [CIES Presentation]

“Agent based modeling: A method for understanding individual, social, and environmental influences on learning and equality in the classroom.” Learning science in the past decade has provided considerable evidence that learning is at once emotional, social, and cognitive (MH Immordino-Yang, et al 2018). As we seek to improve social, emotional and learning outcomes in schools around the world, it is important to better understand how individuals adapt to and influence each other and their environments as they connect and interact daily in and outside the school and classroom. Furthermore, it is important to develop a better sense of how local interactions shape education. How do individual interactions shape the patterns of learning outcomes in a school or at a larger scale such as a district? How do they shape the nature of the learning environment and in turn, how do differential learning environments shape the patterns of interactions and relationships in a school? This information holds enormous potential to inform international education programming that may hold promise for improved uptake of innovations and education outcomes. How interactions locally shape education – in schools, administrative offices, or higher education institutions – is not well understood or studied extensively. Agent-based modeling (ABM) is a technique that can be applied to better understand the link between local dynamics of individuals in a school or community and certain aggregate characteristics of a school or emerging school changes. ABMs are based on the application of algorithms or simple rules representing the lower-level interactions of individuals (or system components) that give rise to higher level system structures or changes, providing a tool to understand bottom-up influences on education outcomes. (See M Macy & R Willer, 2002; M Jacobson, et al, 2017). In this presentation we present an agent-based model to show the potential impact of teacher feedback on student participation in the classroom and the relative impact of students who are more or less vulnerable (e.g., have lower/higher ability levels and are from more/less marginalized backgrounds). The model was informed by student data from primary schools in Uganda and Tanzania. The model demonstrates that over time, when met with repeated experiences of negative feedback, more and more students will quit participating entirely and some will dropout, especially children who are more vulnerable. On the other hand, when teachers are increasingly positive, more and more students participate more actively, even among the most vulnerable children. Thus, the nature of teachers’ responses to students when they answer questions in class can powerfully impact student participation and shape equality in participation. To extend, this would seem to impact student learning. The objectives of this presentation are: 1. To introduce the agent-based modeling method. 2. To present an application of ABM in international education 3. To demonstrate the utility of ABM in research, policy dialogue, and programming.

Teacher well-being as a critical element to success of remote learning during the pandemic [Presentation]

This presentation describes findings from a study of the remote learning experience of school actors; school heads, teachers, parents and other HLPs, and learners during the first year of COVID-19 school closures in the Philippines. The focus of this presentation is only on one aspect of remote learning and that is how teacher well-being supported the success of schools in their pivot to remote learning. This presentation was delivered at the 2022 CIES Conference.

Remote Learning in the Philippines During COVID [Briefs Series]

The Remote Learning Study was conducted during the 2020–2021 school year to investigate how mother-tongue-based multilingual education reading instruction proceeded in 20 schools around the country while classrooms were closed. The school head, 2 teachers, and 4 home learning partners from each school in Grades 1 and 3 were interviewed to gain insights on school administration, teaching and learning, and the home environment. Data was collected at three time points—November, March and June—from 20 school heads, 37 teachers of and 79 parents. Not all respondents were available at each time point. No parents were interviewed in November as recruitment was still underway. Children were also asked to fill out a literacy assessment worksheet, but very few parents returned this worksheet at each occasion. These briefs describe essential themes that emerged from this activity. #1 - Strategies for Assisting Home Learning Partners, #2 - Use of Teaching and Learning Materials, #3 - Use of Technology, #4 - Student Engagement Strategies, #5 - Challenges and Solutions to Remote Learning, #6 - School Leadership, #7 - Literacy Instructional Practice.

Uganda LARA: Journeys Impact Quantitative Assessment instruments

Survey of Perceptions of School Climate: A positive school climate is friendly, inviting and supportive; pupils feel safe and are treated fairly, by their peers and the school staff. A school that struggles to maintain a positive school climate often creates an environment that discourages students from attending. In the Survey of Perceptions of School Climate, respondents are asked about statements describing different dimensions of school life and must answer according to their perception of whether it is true or not for their school. For example, pupils and teachers were asked statements, such “In this school, teachers treat boys and girls equally,” “In this school, violence is a problem,” or “In this school, pupils are punished too much for little things.” The survey is composed of 29 school climate statements that are used to assess pupils and the school staff perceptions of the climate for their school. Using a staged approach, respondents are initially asked if they “agreed” or “disagreed” that the statement read to them was true for their school. The respondent could either respond verbally or point to the appropriate response card (response cards are appended to the tool). Once they selected the first response, they were then asked if they “agreed,” “strongly agreed,” “disagreed,” or “strongly disagreed” with the statement. This staged approach was introduced to encourage increased variation in the responses. The data collectors display only the two appropriate cards (“agreed” or “disagreed”) for the initial step and then only the two cards (e.g., Agree and Strongly Agree or Disagree and Strongly Disagree) for the second step. The data collectors record only the final answer. Students’ Experience of SRGBV Survey: The Survey of Pupil Experiences of SRGBV assesses the extent that a pupil experiences the three different forms of SRGBV: (1) bullying, (2) corporal punishment, and (3) sexual harassment and assault. The subject of violence against pupils is a sensitive topic and it can be difficult for a child to respond to a survey that asks him or her to recollect and report on violent experiences. Due to the sensitive nature of this survey, it is critical that the survey administrator develop a safe and trusting environment for collecting data. To this end, the set of questions for each subscale (i.e., bullying, corporal punishment, and sexual violence) is preceded by an ice-breaker activity. An icebreaker story is read to the pupil and a brief informal discussion about the topic takes place before the survey questions are administered. This is extremely helpful in assisting the pupils to understand, in advance, what the questions are about and to enhance their comfort during the session. After the rapport building session for each subscale, pupils are asked to think about different specific acts of violence related to the subscale and to report how many times they experienced each act of violence during the school term. Pupils could either respond verbally or point to the appropriate response card (response cards are appended to the tool). The response options are “Never”, “Once”, “A few times” and “Many times”. Gender Attitudes Survey: Gender discriminating norms, combined with the hierarchical power structures that reinforce these norms, are some of the root causes of SRGBV and enable all forms of SRGBV to go unchecked in and around schools. The eventual goal of eliminating SRGBV requires a shift in gender attitudes to be more favorable toward gender equity and toward more balanced power relations. The Gender Attitudes Survey provides a mechanism to track changes in gender attitudes as a result of the Journeys intervention. Pupils, school staff and parents/guardians can participate in the Gender Attitudes Survey. Respondents are asked if they agree or disagree with different statements that reflect common gender roles and stereotypes, including gendered behavior traits, such as “boys should not cry” and “girls should be quiet and shy,” gender roles, such as “women should not disagree with their husbands,” gendered education expectations for boys and girls, such as “it is more important for boys than girls to perform well in school,” and hierarchical power structures reinforcing male aggression against women, such as “there are times when it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife.” The survey is composed of 14 gender norms statements that are used to assess the attitudes of pupils, school staff and parents. Using a staged approach, respondents are initially asked if they “agreed” or “disagreed” that the statement read was true for them. The respondent could either respond verbally or point to the appropriate response card (response cards are appended to the tool). Once they selected the first response, they were then asked if they “agreed,” “strongly agreed,” “disagreed,” or “strongly disagreed” with the statement. This staged approach was introduced to encourage increased variation in the responses. The data collectors display only the two appropriate cards (“agreed” or “disagreed”) for the initial step and then only the two cards (e.g., Agree and Strongly Agree or Disagree and Strongly Disagree) for the second step. The data collectors record only the final answer. Student SEL Survey: The Student SEL Survey was designed to track the benefits of the Journeys for Pupils component of the integrated three-component Journeys intervention (i.e. Journeys for Pupils, Journeys for School Staff and Journeys for Community Members). Journeys for Pupils is aimed at strengthening pupils’ social and emotional skills. At the same time, the program provides exposure to content that promotes a consciousness about contributing to a positive school culture and climate and preventing SRGBV. This survey was not meant to comprehensively assess all aspects of SEL, but rather to assess the social and emotional skills that best serve pupils’ ability to successfully navigate their world, avoid violence, and seek assistance when they do witness or experience violence. In this survey, pupils are asked to listen to a variety of statements depicting different behaviors representing certain social skills. For each statement pupils are asked to think about how true this is for them. They are asked (and trained with practice items) to either respond verbally or point to the appropriate response card (response cards are appended to the tool). The response choices are “Never True for Me”, “Rarely True for Me”, “Sometimes True for Me”, and “Always True for Me”. Demographics and Family Wealth Survey: The Demographics and Family Wealth Survey includes a set of questions that focus on the pupil’s home environment to better understand and control for socioeconomic factors when analyzing the impact of the Journeys intervention. Pupils are asked whether they have a variety of household items in the home, their water source, source of heat for cooking, and sanitary facilities. A stimuli with pictures to aid pupils identify the appropriate items is appended to the survey.

Uganda/LARA: Journeys Impact Qualitative Assessment instruments

LARA developed a set of qualitative tools to learn about the successes and challenges related to the implementation of Journeys and to understand what changes staff and pupils had observed since Journeys started in the program schools. The qualitative tools include individual interviews and focus group discussion (FGD) guides with head teachers, teaching and non-teaching staff, change agents and students. There are two individual interviews, one for the teachers and another for the head teachers. The individual interview for teachers investigates the value the Journeys program has brought to the teachers personally, to the school and the classroom, for example changes in the way teachers relate and interact with pupils and changes in disciplinary practices at the school. The individual interview for head teachers on the other hand investigate what has gone well and what the head teachers are struggling with regarding the implementation of Journeys for School Staff and Journeys for Pupils (the Uganda Kids Unite [UKU] Program). There are three FGD guides; (i) FGD guide for teaching and non-teaching staff provides information about the changes (for example interactions among students, teacher attendance, extent of SRGBV) in the school as a result of Journeys, initiatives undertaken by the school to make the school safe and positive and how the initiatives improved the school and/or reduced violence; (ii) FGD guide for head Teachers and school change agents (SCA) that gathers feedback on the successes and challenges associated with the implementation of Journeys program for the school staff and Journeys program for pupils as well as improvements needed to for the continuity of the Journeys program in the schools; and (iii) FGD guide for students that focuses mainly on what pupils enjoyed most about the UKU program and the specific UKU activities they loved. It also asks about what pupils did not enjoy in the UKU meetings, initiatives that UKU teams developed to improve the school, what pupils learned through the UKU program and how the school and classroom have changed since Journeys began.