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By Maria Gemima C. Valderrama

Region XI piloted the Course 2 of GURO21 or Gearing Up Responsible and Outstanding Teachers in Southeast Asia for the 21st Century expecting at least 130 graduates in August.

GURO21 Course 2 entitled Developing Higher Order Thinking Skills or HOTS was offered to all teachers who are graduates of GURO21 Course 1 entitled Facilitating the Development of 21st century skills for Southeast Asian Teachers.

In Course 2, classroom teachers are expected to apply thinking tools in the generation of ideas and the approach to solving problems that they may encounter in their teaching life.  Teachers, at the same time, develop HOTS in their learners.

The lessons in the modules discuss how the challenges of the 21st century will require teachers to think critically and creatively.  These are important skills that they would want to instil in their students, but before they can do this effectively, they need to first integrate and practice them in their everyday life.

Developing HOTS among learners is significant as it contributes to the development of society by helping students make better decisions and develop new and innovative solutions to the challenges they will encounter in the future.

GURO21 is a menu of flexible learning courses that aim to address the teachers’ needs in relation to the technological advances and changing educational trends of the 21st century.   Teachers are expected to enhance knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values on teaching and learning in the new century.

This GURO21 was developed by SEAMEO INNOTECH (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology) based on the Southeast Asian region-validated Competency Framework for Southeast Asian Teachers of the 21st century.

This was validated by teachers, education experts, practitioners, and other stakeholders including parents and teachers organizations’ representatives from the 11 SEAMEO member countries.

On December 2013, SEAMEO entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to jointly offer the online course to Region XI.   The first batch of GURO21 Course 1 completed their course on June 2014 after the training of potential Flexible Learning Tutors (FLTs).

On July 18, 2014, Region XI agreed to amend the then existing MOA to include an additional 10 batches of GURO21 Course 1.  As of now, eight batches have completed and the ninth batch will start in July.  DepEd is targeting a total of 1,650 public school teachers to utilize the GURO21 flexible learning course.

For the eight batches, about 1,240 teachers completed the course.  These are the teachers who are qualified to take Course 2.

Batches 1 to 4 had 128, 130, 156, 166 graduates respectively.  Batches 5 to 8, on the other hand, had 162, 147, 157, and 194 graduates respectively.