The Department of Education (DepEd) provided guidelines and policies regarding various modalities and approaches in teaching to provide quality education to learners during the COVID-19 pandemic. This provided guidelines ensures the safety and well-being of the learners and the teachers. That is why they implemented distance learning. One of the types of distance learning is Modular Distance Learning. Modular Distance Learning is the use of modules made by teacher with different task and learning activities based from the essential learning competencies. Modular Learning can be printed or digital format. Self-Learning Modules (SLMs) can be printed/digitalized format/electronic copy that is appropriate to learners and other learning resources like learners’ materials, textbooks, activity sheets, study guides and other learning materials. One of the new ways for students to learn is Modular Distance Learning where students no longer have to leave their homes to study. According to Dargo and Dimas (2021), Modular Distance Learning (MDL) involves individualized instruction that allows students to use self-learning modules (SLMs) that are centered on the Department of Education’s Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELC) (as cited by Martinez, 2020). Teacher provide SLMs to students which includes distribution and retrieval as well as assessment tools to check the knowledge and provide timely and relevant feedback. They are learning with their parents’ assistance or guardians who are now functioning as their home instructors. Teachers, on the other hand, provide guidance to the parents. Their children are being educated at home (Anzaldo, 2021). Modular distance learning help learners to develop self-regulations skills by teaching them how to manage their time, set priorities, solve and answer problems and questions in their modules. It provides flexibility for students to study at their own pace and review work as needed, and modular learning is the most appropriate learning modality in our country. He also stated that if the capacity of the students is given priority, modular distance learning will be more convenient. For students who do not have the ability to afford gadgets, it can give students the opportunity to study, modular learning is more convenient and reliable. It was also created in response to the “No Child Left Behind Act,” which requires that all students receive the best education available (No Child Left Behind Act, 2002). In line with this, from Modular Distance Learning, teachers are the one who is responsible for monitoring the learners in their progress by visiting their homes. Through text messages, cell phones, or email, learners can ask for help or assistance from their teachers (as cited by Llego, n. d.).
From the announcement or statement of DepEd (2020), that preventive measures will be put in place to secure the health and well-being of our personnel and our learners under this new normal. Although the set-up of New Normal will be difficult for students to learn, everyone is confident that it will be the only solution to continue learning safely in the midst of a pandemic. The spread of the pandemic in the country, it has been associated with the implementation of various regulations or protocols that the people must follow for their safety. But despite these precautions, it appears that as new measures and other impacts are being brought on citizens, especially during quarantine and its other effects on people and their usual activities, routines or so is the way of life, one can see the presence of the level of loneliness, depression, self-harm, and the worse is the level of suicidal behaviors also starts to rise (WHO, 2020). With the release of this report, it is not vague that especially students are included in its impact, especially when they are self-study, no physical interaction takes place with teachers, classmates, and friends. They may face various mental problems with the excessive loneliness they experience while studying in their respective homes. Due to health threat of the pandemic, the Department of Education (DepEd) decided to bring education to the comfort of their homes as they continuously develop different learning modalities to ensure that education is accessible to all and ensure the continuity of education. Modular Distance Learning has disadvantages that can affects some students. Some disadvantages of Modular Distance Learning are lack of social interaction, self-studying, lack of focus, lack of sleep and time to answer all modules due to the great numbers of activities and distraction. These disadvantages may cause stress and depression that may lead to anxiety. On the contrary, he stated that modular distance learning is better than online classes, especially in our locality. Modular learning helps to maintain the educational level of students. In addition to this are the recommendations where parents and teachers should be aware of their respective roles and responsibilities for students to gain knowledge effectively. And likewise, for students, it requires that they be responsible for answering their modules (Anzaldo, 2021).
According to Agarin (2021) COVID-19 surprised the educational system. Schools and community learning centers shutdown for conducting of classes at schools. Education is among the most affected sectors in society during COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, face-to-face learning engagement of students and teachers within the school has been discontinued further changing the life of all students and learners since March of 2020. And since the conduct of face-to-face classes is prohibited, the Department of Education (DepEd) announced that the adoption of various learning delivery options such as but not limited to blended learning, distance learning and home schooling and the other modes of delivery shall be implemented depending on the local COVID risk severity classification and compliance with minimum health standards (as cited by Briones, 2020).
Despite this, there are padding advantages and disadvantages to having modular distance learning in our country. This year, although the spread of the pandemic in the country has not completely subsided, the economy and education have been severely affected and that is the major importance to our country along with the health and welfare of the people. Despite this pandemic should not be stopped and requires padding to pursue education or learning. The advantages of these are that they have students who are able to adapt to learning in this type of academic set-up wherefrom the guidance and supervision of their parents. This includes giving learners value in their lessons, they are also able to develop time management and closer bonds with their families. As advantages happen, it comes with disadvantages and it is not all students or learners do their modules committedly, they do this just to comply with the requirements. Another disadvantage is that parents answer children’s modules, and, there are parents who find it difficult to teach their children, especially to secondary students where the subjects are complicated (Anzaldo, 2021).
In the manner of limited teacher-learner interaction, it expresses that in the presence of the absence of an interactive relationship it will result in the learners having or leading the learners to not be interested in learning and set aside what can be explored in their respective potentials. Learners won’t have much time to interact with their teachers to ask some questions with regards to their tackled lesson which can result in a lack of processing of the module’s content as well as having a lack of chance of teacher giving them notice or explanation. And in addition to this, some students rely on the key answers given in their self-learning modules, therefore even mistakes were reproduced, giving teachers the impression that students are not reflecting well on their studies. In that instance, the teacher will no longer be able to tell if the students have grasped the module’s content or if it is the learners’ work.
For students, the forced transfer to a distance learning paradigm has presented a new issue. Increased media attention to this problem, as well as a lack of information about the new coronavirus infection, only aggravated the situation. Given that students in “normal conditions” (full-time mode of study) are sometimes prone to the development of mental disorders, in a pandemic accompanied by social distancing, increased media attention to this problem and a lack of information about the new coronavirus infection, only According to Majumdar P. and other experts, the pandemic’s chronic stress has resulted in more common manifestations of symptoms such as headache, insomnia, digestive difficulties, hormone imbalance, frustration, and weariness among students (Lyubetsky et. al., 2021).
Education in the new normal is actually very challenging for us here in the Philippines, especially in attempting to push education in the midst of the pandemic. The Department of Education (DepEd) as well as the Commission on Higher education (CHED), despite numerous objections, adopted and implemented the flexible blended learning strategy despite the risk of opening classes due to the virus. In addition to this, the new normal education along with other existing modalities is facing various disapprovals but due to the perseverance and efforts of the education sectors in our country, it has been approved for the purpose of continuing education in the midst of the pandemic (Anzaldo, 2021).
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