Why you cannot do remote delivery mode without experiencing the actual learning center.

School of Tomorrow® Philippines has received inquiries from schools using conventional classes, schools partially using SOT, and groups planning to start schools this 2020-2021 school year. They want to either shift to or start a school using the SOT® system through the Remote Learning Center Education delivery. The big question is “Are they ready to implement the remote delivery of SOT®?”

The answer is a big NO.

Before anyone misunderstands, SOT® is not playing “hard-to-get” nor are we keeping the blessing of the system to ourselves. In fact, we have promoted the system again and again. The more schools using the system, the better. But we have reasons why we cannot just let a school transition to SOT without adequate training, planning, and preparation. Add experience to that if you wish to implement the ‘remote delivery’.

Let us discuss these steps.

TRAINING. Pastors and Administrators Training Seminar (PATS) is just the beginning of the journey. This is laying the foundation on which the school is going to be built. Why use SOT®? Or why shift to SOT® now? The use of SOT® is founded on deep convictions. Its philosophy of education is totally theistic. This is the reason it is vital that “teachers” are born-again Christians because a non-believer cannot pass on to the students the faith embedded in the PACEs. SOT® believes that the Bible is the foundation of all truth and the curriculum it uses begins with the basic Biblical presuppositions: God’s unique purpose for every individual, the individuality of each person, the priesthood of the believer, and the importance and accountability of every individual on a personal basis towards God. These are the reasons why SOT is individualized. These are the reasons for the student offices and all the procedures in the Learning Center.

  • If shifting to the system from conventional classes is because “SOT®” is perfect for the current situation, then that is building on the wrong foundation.
  • If shifting to the system now is because “modules” are immediately available, that is building on the wrong foundation.
  • If shifting to the system now is because of convenience, that, too, is building on the wrong foundation.

PLANNING. This is mostly the “organizing” part when the school draws the blueprint for the operation. This includes forming the organizational leadership, writing a feasibility study, and setting up committees to handle financial budgeting, facility planning, programs and activities, staff hiring, promotions, securing government permits, and more. Committees can then project how things will be done.  

PREPARATION. This is when the plans are put into motion. Formed leadership get into action. Committees execute the plans. The budget is set and fund-raising commences. Facilities are built. Student offices are constructed. Programs are planned. Staff are sent to training (take note!). The arduous task of securing government permits and certificates begins. This paragraph alone is loaded. Preparation takes time. Existing schools using the system are even cautioned about starting the school year early in an article called “Is June Too Early?”

There are schools that run both a conventional system as well as the SOT® system. They may have the right foundation. They can plan faster. However, the question is, do they have sufficient time to convert all classrooms into Learning Centers, and get all teachers trained within a week or two? The Christian Educators’ Training (CET) for school staff may prepare them to work in the Learning Center but not a Remote Learning Center.

This brings us to the most important qualification to supervise students in a remote setup.

EXPERIENCE. When the COVID19 suddenly locked down schools in mid-March, many of those using the system immediately transitioned into the remote model. We labeled it Remote Learning Center Education because it is not online-schooling neither is it homeschooling. The transition was smooth because “the new normal has always been SOT’s normal.” But we need to be reminded that this refers to the individualized, self-learning, self-paced, and mastery-based nature of the system as well as the “social-distancing-designed” Learning Center setup.

But a smooth transition does not mean an easy one because there is a whole lot of difference between face-to-face delivery and remote delivery. Smooth because the procedures are all in place but not easy because there were challenges like connectivity. Smooth because the supervisors are experienced in the “normal” Learning Center but not easy because the remote setup required a different approach. It was the experience of the teachers – some of whom have worked for three decades in the SOT system – that made the remote delivery successful. The newest monitor would have had at least seven months of “on-the-job” training under experienced supervisors before the quarantine. EXPERIENCE IN THE LEARNING CENTER IS THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL REMOTE LEARNING CENTER.

We are not questioning intentions. We are not judging motives. We are simply saying that Remote Learning Center Education is founded on the strength of the Learning Center experience. To run from training to remote delivery simply will not work. To jump from planning to remote delivery is reckless. To go from preparation to remote delivery is unwise. We simply cannot skip Learning Center experience.

Signing a contract to enroll in the system is just the first step. There are no shortcuts to the successful implementation of the School of Tomorrow® System, especially the Remote Learning Center Education.