In its shared aspiration to improve teaching delivery in the Bangsamoro, the Madaris Volunteer Program (MVP) and the Philippine Science High School – Main Campus (PSHS – MC), as supported by the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), conducted its fifth iteration of the Buklod-Guro last March 15 to 26, 2021. 

The Buklod-Guro is an annual teacher-training of the MVP and in partnership with the PSHS-MC that aims to capacitate organic teachers, specifically handling DepEd-mandated subjects in the madaris, to hone their professional skills, and to improve teaching practices among others. In its first, second, third, and fourth year, it was held in Davao City, Cotabato City, Zamboanga City, and Davao Oriental respectively. 

Considering the onset of the pandemic, this year’s Buklod-Guro (Year 5) with the theme In-Service Training on Innovative Teaching Strategies in STEM, was implemented in a blended learning approach which is a mix of synchronous (webinars via Zoom and Google Meet) and asynchronous (via Google Classroom) sessions for two weeks. The program invited Grade 6 teachers of partner madaris specifically those who are teaching Science and/or Math to enhance their capabilities in preparing the essential competencies needed for their students in Grade 7 (High School). 

More than 50 teachers from Cotabato City (Al-Azharie Academy Center, Amos Educare Institute, and Dar Al-Uloom Wal Hikmah), Maguindanao (Datu Ibrahim Paglas Memorial College, Gani L. Abpi College, Hadji Ali Baganian Memorial School, Ibn Taimiyah Foundation Academy, Markaz Al-Huzaim, and Sakeenah Al-Islamiya Institute), Basilan Province (Madrasatuz Zehra-School of Religious & Modern Sciences, and Jam-iyyatu Tuburan Attaqaddumiya Al-Islamiya), and Tawi-Tawi Province (Panglima Damsik Islamic Academy) participated in the first virtual Buklod-Guro

Mr. Romulo Vinci R. Bueza, the Lead Coordinator of MVP, opened the teacher-training with his welcome message, delivered the rationale, as well as the objectives of the training. For him, sustaining relative peace in the Bangsamoro doesn’t end in its political changes. Peace goes a long way, that is, in terms of education. This includes educating young minds to explore the possibility of being future engineers, scientists, and innovators in the Bangsamoro region, and this can be achieved when there is good instruction or foundation of Science and Mathematics in the madrasah. Through this training, the STEM teachers will be equipped with innovative strategies and share the deep conviction of molding the young generations to have a better future. Dr. Cristina B. Cristobal, Special Science Teacher V of PSHS – MC and Chairman of Buklod-Guro also gave her welcome message. She expressed her gratitude for 5 years of continued service and partnership with MVP that despite the pandemic, everyone is still here in the virtual teacher-training to continue the spirit of learning and sharing knowledge to become efficient educators for the learners. It is the mission of their school to strengthen the teaching in STEM to high school students and sharing best practices with the teachers.

Following the preliminaries were the inspirational message and opening talk given by the resource speakers of PSHS – MC. On the succeeding sessions and training days, four (4) PSHS – MC Science teachers trained half of the participating teachers in the morning sessions while two (2) Mathematics teachers: one from PSHS – CALABARZON Campus and the other from Junior High School Department of the Ateneo de Manila University, trained the other half during afternoon sessions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. To put the asynchronous learning gained from the previous webinar sessions on Science and Math into action, each group (by school) virtually showcased their creative outputs and participated in various quizzes applying what they learned every Friday. Eventually, the resource speakers critiqued their presentations and answers. Groups with great outputs and individual participants with correct answers were given prizes at the end of each training workshop. 

The teacher training concluded with the vote of thanks from Mr. Romulo Vinci R. Bueza for all speakers, facilitators, and participants– all who took part in making this two-week teacher-training a success, then the presentation of certificates and a video summarizing the whole training. 

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