Online distance learning has indeed been very challenging for both students and teachers. Teachers of Sto. Niño National High School in Batangas City found it difficult to achieve good internet signal for online classes that they have to climb roofs, and some students like Justine Allen Luzon had to sell his own book collection to afford a tablet for online learning.
Distance learning started off rocky for many Filipinos, but REX, one of the leading and longest standing academic textbook publishers in the country, is hoping to inspire students and all education duty-bearers to have a better and more positive outlook about the current situation of education through their Edukampyon initiatives.
Edukampyon is REX’s flagship program that calls for the involvement of the whole community and all education duty-bearers to ensure all students are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, challenged, and values-oriented. This has become especially important and relevant given the context and challenges of learning in this new normal.
The Role of Student Agency in Online Distance Learning
Online distance learning is very challenging for students and teachers because of, in part, the lack of the physical learning space created by the classroom. With students learning from their homes, they have to be equipped with the right will and ability to be agents of their own learning.
Under the Edukampyon advocacy and as a long-term approach to the development of education, REX is now calling for the promotion of “student agency” to answer the problems posed by the new normal learning situation.
The concept of student agency is rooted in the principle that students have the ability and the will to positively influence their own lives and the world around them. It is about promoting independent learning so the students are “agents in their own learning,” and that they have the most invaluable skill to have in life—which is wanting and learning how to learn.
When there is student agency, students feel a sense of belonging in class, and they have better feelings of self-worth and purpose in their learning. Students will also have the voice and the choice when it comes to their education, and therefore take responsibility for their own learning.
This kind of independent, positive, and willful approach to learning is what students need in these times when they need to go through classes from the comforts of their homes. In support of students, teachers and learning institutions are also tasked to create a climate of achievement so that they help foster a good learning environment for the student even remotely.
Online Panel Discussion on Student Agency
To promote student agency, which has short- and long-term benefits for Philippine education, REX has organized an online panel discussion titled “Student Agency – beyond the lessons and the pandemic: Preparing our children for a lifetime of learning challenges.” This will premiere live on November 7, 2020, 9 to 11 a.m., on REX’s Facebook page.
Topics that will be covered by the panel discussion include: the definition and benefits of student agency, the relevance of student agency in teaching and learning amidst a pandemic, the current state of student agency among Filipino learners, and what it takes to build and develop it.
The online panel discussion will feature prominent teacher-mentors in the field of education, including: Rita Atienza, director of Ateneo de Manila’s Science and Art of Learning and Teaching (SALT); Malcolm Garma, director of DepEd NCR; Sr. Marissa Viri, president of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP); and Jerome Buenviaje, dean of the UP College of Education; and hosted by Dr. Sheila Marie “Shake” Hocson, psychology expert and guidance director of FEU Manila.
“Building Student Agency” is also the central theme of the Edukampyon webinar series 2 under REX Academy. Edukampyon webinar series will start airing via REX’s Facebook live in the late part of November. REX Academy offers courses on blended and online learning, tips for home-based education for parents, and guide teachers in using technology in teaching. Edukampyon series 1 was designed to complement trainings on the use of technology. The series is already approved by the DepEd-Learning Resources and Platform Committee as part of their teacher professional development program. To know more about the aspiration of REX for the Filipino whole learner and learn more about the Edukampyon advocacy and student agency, visit www.rex.com.ph/edukampyon.