by Joneil Medina

Manila, Philippines – Department of Science and Technology Science Education Institute conducted its 1st Project STAR International Conference with the theme “Perspectives in Science and Mathematics Education: Building Connections, Sustaining Innovations and Sharing Pedagogies”. Included in the 3-day conference  are various workshops on different pedagogies where Associate Professor Auijit Pattanajak of the Khon Kaen University Thailand and the dean of the College of Education, Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology, Dr. Amelia T. Buan, jointly conducted a workshop on Open-Approach in teaching Mathematics held at the Philippine International Convention Center. It was attended by DepEd teachers, administrators and TEI representatives from  all over the Philippines.

The workshop was composed of two parts, namely, experiencing the open-approach and sharing of the KKU-Thailand’s experience of the open-approach in their locality. On the first partAssoc. Prof. Auijit delivered a Grade 4 activity on triangles where the participants acting also as students “openly” constructed triangles and observed patterns among them. Participants then shared their experience of the activity and their understanding of the concepts while Auijit processed their understanding by allowing the participants to differentiate and compare student ideas. The key part of open-approach is that “there is no right or wrong answers, …but students [build] from their experience about mathematical structures” Auijit said.

Auijit then shared the Thai’s experience of changing the conventional way of teaching Mathematics in Thailand through the context of Lesson Study and Open-Approach among their local teachers. Auijit stressed that there is a change in teacher’s role from being a teacher/lecturer to that of a researcher. As a researcher, the teacher observed in depth the process of student learning and reasoning. This way, students are able to think for themselves and solve their own problem.

The process of the Lesson study exemplifies the need for a team of teachers to support one another and to think and design for an open activity to implement in the classroom. This lesson designing, Auijit said, is the “[true] work of the professional teacher” not the lecturing. She proposes that Lesson Study and Open-Approach be used as research frameworks to research on local teaching practices for the improvement of Mathematics teaching.

The workshop ended with a dynamic forum led by Dr. Amelia T. Buan, where the participants clarified the distinction of the Open-approach from existing approaches. A few of the participants even stayed longer expressing their excitement with the visiting professor to adapt the said approach in their teaching practice. Commenting on the importance and success of the workshop, Dr. Amelia Buan mentioned that this is a way of making MSU-IIT known through its linkages not only in its region but also in the whole Philippines.

This activity is part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) month celebration.