Empowering Pinay Students at Home

With the major shift to online classes, teachers and students alike have been finding ways to adapt to distance learning. This setup offers a wide range of teaching modalities, but online education in the Philippines is not without its limitations. From unreliable internet connectivity to the lack of digital resources, the task of teachers and educators has become more challenging as they strive to provide meaningful learning experiences for their students amidst the pandemic. 

While online education could be overwhelming, teaching in a virtual classroom allows educational institutions to re-examine and innovate ways to transform the Philippine educational system. In more ways than one, teachers address educational challenges through creative solutions and systems innovation which, at its core, is the very nature of STEM education. From incorporating  synchronous and asynchronous modules into online activities to designing digital-based laboratory or experiential learning, STEM educators are continuously exploring new teaching methods. 

Here are some the ways you can effectively teach STEM even during the pandemic and some inspiring words for our Pinays: 

Reinvent the way you teach STEM

Doc Sher Monterola of Center for Integrated STEM Education (CISTEM) shared how STEM teaches us to stay curious, to understand patterns, and to recover from failed experiments. Beyond just the knowledge, the multidimensionality of STEM molds learners’ skills, literacies, and socio-emotional intelligence towards lifelong holistic education. In the UP College of Education, teachers have been offered webinars or capacity-building sessions and innovation workshops to become better equipped to teach STEM online. As part of the college’s Education Resilience and Learning Continuity plan, educators gain various insights and perspectives on remote distance learning. 

Introduce your students to STEM Role Models

Filipina role models and supportive educators pave the way for young girls to gain confidence and conviction in their chosen study and career paths. Teacher Winnie Diola talked about the importance of transforming lessons into relevant and meaningful content that allows for students to relate their lessons to their current contexts. By sharing stories of success and allowing students to experience hands-on activities that involve the work of successful Pinays in STEM,  young girls feel a sense of belonging and gain more interest in STEM.

Provide your students with STEM opportunities

Teacher Milet Estidola believes that exposing young girls to STEM contributes greatly to their aspirations. As a Physics teacher, she ensures that online class activities are designed to encourage student-to-student and teacher-to-student interaction, but more so, to develop young girls’ problem solving skills that put to light the significance of STEM in addressing society’s problems in the areas of Medicine, Research, Engineering, and even in Economics.

Build and nurture STEM learning spaces

At Culiat Elementary School, Teacher Sabs Ongkiko shared that the free Facebook messenger feature has become a viable option to converse with students and maintain close relationships with their students’ families.  Strengthening faculty and student support with the help of local government agencies and organizations has proven to be effective in aiding educators as they provide a holistic learning experience for their students, but also in fostering students’ learning support systems. Young girls appreciate STEM best when it is meaningful to them, and starting this experience at home is vital to their STEM journey.

In the new normal, the role of STEM educators and fellow STEM Pinays is ever-amplified as they inspire young girls not only to pursue STEM but also to be more confident in their chosen study and career paths. Teachers have a crucial role in building a community of learners and this entails cultivating curiosity and an innovation mindset and encouraging students to inquire and brainstorm ideas as they eventually learn to contribute in addressing problems of today.

Dr. Sher Monterola is the Executive Director of the Center for Integrated STEM Education (CISTEM, Inc.) and is currently a professor in the UP Diliman College of Education. Ms. Sabs Ongkiko is a Science teacher in the Culiat Elementary School. Ms. Winnie Diola and Ms. Milet Estidola are both Science teachers at the De La Salle Santiago Zobel school.


Pinays Can, Pinays Will

To celebrate every Pinay’s skills, capabilities, and dreams.

STEM+PH, a flagship program of Unilab Foundation Inc., partnered with UL Skin Sciences Inc. to launch Pinays Can STEM, an online community that aims to empower and encourage young Filipinas in STEM. UL Skin Sciences encourages women to live a life well-lived by influencing them to pursue their dreams while providing them with opportunities to lead the future and inspiring others to do the same.

The lack of female role models, prevailing gender stereotypes, and the underrepresentation of women professionals in STEM discourage young Pinays to pursue the STEM track. In fact, only about 1/3 of STEM graduates in the country are females, and studies show that even less work in the STEM field.

Data from SunStar and Esquire

Founded on the belief that all Pinays are able to create life-changing breakthroughs while reimagining a better life for the nation, it is the campaign’s vision to build a community of STEM Pinays believing in their own capabilities by featuring Filipinas in the fields of medicine, technology, engineering, psychology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, astronomy, and marine sciences to name a few. 

We need more women in the sciences, and we need to celebrate those who are in it right now.

Within just a month of its launch, Pinays Can STEM has reached over 50,000 audiences on their site and envisions to engage more students to pursue the STEM track. Breaking barriers and defying gender perceptions, the campaign provides insightful infographics, interactive quizzes, local and international inventions and achievements, and opportunities for all young Pinays.

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