Teachers, students, and volunteers get together to encourage learning beyond the classroom.
During a recent Flipped Trip, Precious Dada, a 22-year-old teacher fellow for Teach for the Philippines noticed a difference in one of her students. “I just realized this [a while ago], kasi mayroon akong bata na when inside the classroom parang bored siya,” says Precious, but that all changed once the student was able to explore The Mind Museum. “Ito kasing ganitong trip, na-explore din nila yung mga iba pang mga bagay na ‘di nila nakikita typically inside the school and may mga gamit at mga facilities na dito lang din nila makikita.” (Trips like these allow kids to explore and see things they wouldn’t be able to on a typical day and there are things in these facilities that they can’t find anywhere else.)
This new environment as Precious says allows students to come out of their shells and interact with their fellow students as well as people of different ages and professions. “Maganda siyang experience for the kids na ‘di lang sila matututo, hindi lang madadagdagan yung knowledge nila sa science pero pati na rin yung mga experience nila in socializing.” (It’s a great experience for kids because not only will they learn more but they’ll also be able to socialize more than they normally do.)
Flipped Trips is one of Teach for the Philippines’ (TFP) core events to encourage education and participation among teachers, students, and volunteers. Since 2014, Flipped Trips has been a vehicle to support public school students in their holistic growth in and outside of the classroom. According to Angel Ramos, Marketing and Events Director of TFP, Flipped Trips has two main categories: Pagpapalalaim (Deepening) and Pagpapalawak (Broadening).
The first, Pagpapalalim, are learning trips that focus on the “discovery of one’s regional heritage, an understanding of one’s national identity, and an opportunity to see what learnings lie outside of the classroom, and beyond their community,” according to Angel. These usually take place in regional areas or placements. Pagpapalawak meanwhile offers public school students an opportunity to learn beyond the classroom and inject some excitement by providing a different way of learning that compliments what they study in school. “This type of trip expands their view of the world, their place in it, and what else they can achieve,” says Angel.
Over the years, Flipped Trips has proven to be effective not only in widening the students’ education but also their potential. In a recent trip to The Ateneo Art Gallery, a Navotas National High School student told TFP after the visit that the student now dreams of being a lawyer one day “so that she can help others get the justice they deserve.” She mentioned seeing an artwork by Archie Oclos called Lupang Hinirang, a depiction of the country’s failure to provide real social justice, that sparked her to one day pursue the fight against injustice.
In another trip, “a Grade 4 student from H. Bautista Elementary School in Marikina – remarked (during the post-visit interview) that she wanted to be a Science teacher when she grows up,” according to Angel. The student said that she enjoyed the games and interactive elements of the museum tour and that when she grows up she wants to apply that same level of fun and excitement to her classes so that her students can appreciate the lessons as much as she did.
“I think maganda rin ito para madiscover din nila kung ano pa yung mga hidden potentials nila,” says Precious of Flipped Trip’s value beyond just technical education. (I think this is also good for students to discover their hidden potential. ) “Yung iba pa nilang wants na hindi nila madidiscover kung doon lang sila, limited inside the room.” (There are certain wants or aspirations they might not be able to discover if their education is just confined in the classroom.)
Flipped Trips to The Ateneo Art Gallery (in partnership with The Museum Foundation) and The Mind Museum, which was done in coordination with Children’s Hour and volunteers from JP Morgan & Chase, focused on providing TFP’s mission of pagpapalawak. “By providing access and exposure to these widely-recognized and highly-regarded educational locations, public school students are able to expand the way they see and experience the world,” says Angel.
Brian Hood, Managing Director and Country Head, Human Resources, of JP Morgan & Chase has been trying to work with Teach for the Philippines on a Flipped Trip event for years and finally did one recently. “I wanted to do something with education. So I partnered with [TFP], and really worked to give kids the opportunity to come and just learn some stuff,” says Hood. “I think it’s really important that kids learn both obviously in the classroom, but also through practical activities - anything that can spark a little bit more curiosity is really important. Obviously, education is everything. I think when they get their hands on things, when they see, like in the auditorium, experiments happening in front - they get very energized - I hope it just sparks that greater desire to learn.”
As good quality public education becomes harder and harder to reach children across the country, organizations like Teach for the Philippines is a much-needed hand in improving the educational system. But like most things, progress requires the help and support of a variety of stakeholders. Flipped Trips is one way of doing this as it shows that improving education can happen in and out of the classroom. Not just for the students but for teachers and volunteers as well.
To learn more about Teach for the Philippines, visit: https://teachforthephilippines.org/
To support or give donations, please go to: https://give2asia.org/teachforthephilippines/
Sarah Co and Paolo Balderia