Championing innovation as an approach to effective science education, two schools from Surigao City and Albay topped this year’s search for innovative methods in teaching science and mathematics for large and extra-large classes. 

Surigao City National High School and Tabaco National High School bagged the 2nd Search for Innovative Practices in Managing Large Classes for Effective Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics, receiving P100, 000 each and a plaque of recognition for their innovative strategies. 

Surigao City National High School was awarded for their project entitled Beating the Numbers Through Strategic Intervention Materials (SIM): Innovative Science Teaching in Large Classes (Grade 8) which refers to a learning package composed of “guide cards, hands-on and minds-on activities, enrichment exercises, and others” that are introduced into the teaching methods to stimulate learning among Grade 8 pupils in Science and Technology.

Likewise, Tabaco City National High School won the Search with its strategy called “Chem-Connect Project” described as a “practical work approach” that employs information and communications technology (ICT) applications in teaching Chemistry. 

The two schools bested seven other finalists in the likes of Antonio J. Villegas Vocational HS, Calamba Bayside NHS, Central Azucarera de Tarlac HS - Annex, Cordova NHS, Digos City NHS, Jacobo Z. Gonzales Memorial NHS, and Manggahan HS. 

Science Education Institute Director Dr. Josette Biyo congratulated the winners and the finalists for contributing their innovative strategies for adoption of other schools that are experiencing the same difficulties in handling large and extra large classes. 

“We all know that student achievement relies heavily both on the curriculum and the teachers who implement the lessons. However, even effective strategies employed in normal class size may not work with large or extra large classes, thus, we need to come up with approach that are retrofitted for a class that exceeds the level that is considered normal,” said Biyo. “This would entail not only methodologies and pedagogy but perhaps the use of technology and other resources as well.” 

She added that in the years to come, more challenges are to be expected with the K to 12 educational system underway. She relayed, however, that by continuously encouraging educators to innovate, “we will be able to obtain good results in student achievement at the school level.” 

Bacong National High School of Salug, Zamboanga del Norte and Looc National High School from Calamba, Laguna netted the first search which aims to improve the quality of teaching and learning science and mathematics in public and private high schools with class sizes of more than 50 students by inspiring schools to apply innovative teaching mechanisms. The project defines large classes as having 51 to 70 students, while extra large class as having 71 and above. 

Meanwhile, DOST Undersecretary Fortunato T. De la Peña commended all finalists and described the entries as “intriguing”. 

“Investing in technology coupled with the use of innovative strategies could build a ‘tag team’ that could outwork crowding in Philippine classrooms. It may prove costly in many cases, but it should not hinder us from trying to give the best quality of teaching we can offer our students,” said De la Peña. 

He said DOST is committed to share the innovative strategies with as many schools as possible in order for them to be adopted in similar situations throughout the country. 

“We’ll make sure that our projects will reach other teachers through a forum and/or a documentation of all these interventions,” de la Peña added. (30)