Guro Forum Foundation Conference Address – Oct 28, 2015

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It is with great pleasure and honor for me to give this Conference Address to this 2015 International Conference Workshop for Teachers and Administrators with the theme: “The Twenty-First Century Education: Promoting the Learner Based Paradigm”. We in Cebu had looked forward to this conference, as early as last year.  Had this been held in Cebu, we in UP Cebu would have readily agreed to host and be a co-sponsor for this activity, as we had previously relayed to the members of the Guro Formation Forum, Inc.

This year’s conference theme is very timely and appropriate to make us reflect and review on the role of educators. Teaching is a complex endeavor that involves planning and organizing.  And in doing so, we should be prepared to help learners really explore the topic in a way that will inspire and guide them to additional learning once the class is over.

The English writer and essayist Charles Lamb said, and I quote: “He is no lawyer who cannot take two sides”.  Since I am a lawyer and a teacher at the same time, I will take the three sides. And you might ask what these three sides are?

According to the noted Math educator and author and producer of audio-visual materials Dr. Lola May, there are three things to remember in teaching, and these are: know your stuff, know whom you are stuffing, and then stuff them elegantly.

The power and influence that we can wield as an instructor really ask that we do our part to prepare and teach in a way that reflects our passion for our subject. When students sense that an educator’s zest is authentic, they not only respond, but they usually respond with the same zest that we put in. In effect, we reap what we sow.

Even for administrators and leaders, the same principle applies. It is not about us, but it is all about them, our people and our staff, and how do we connect to them and their needs. The inspirational author on “Leadership”, John C. Maxwell, asks how do we get our message across.  We do this by giving ourselves, and not just our opinions.  We do this by practicing the “Law of Connection” with our audience.

Applying the techniques of Maxwell, be it to our students or our subordinates, we ask what is it that they need and we seek to understand and connect with them.  We do not ask what is it that I have, and seek to be understood and liked.   We focus and try to feel the atmosphere, and not us instead focusing on our techniques, on how good am I in communicating my message or lessons.  This is because we are audience-oriented and not immersed and conscious on ourselves.  We do this because we want to complete our people and our students, and not just for the sake of us being able to complete our speeches and our syllabi and lesson plans.  All these because there is a change we want to achieve, and not just because there is a content that we want to accomplish.

With Learning Focused, all students learn to the greatest possible degree and at the highest level. We have all seen that the issue of “innovations” has grown in importance. Our students are exposed to fast-paced technological revolutions.  But at the end of the day, there is still no substitute for a professional’s eager interest and passion for teaching.  And it is this passion and zeal in us as instructors, which recharge everyone’s mental batteries.

The education landscape is changing – fast. Schools throughout the country are recognizing the challenges that come with those changes. We have learners who are challenged and in difficult contexts, be it through their cultural or linguistic ethnicity, disaster affected, rural migrants, or may be in conflict with the law, or just basically financially challenged.  We acknowledge the efforts of the government to address some, if not most or all of these challenges. We see this like through the recently passed law “Iskolar ng Bayan Act of 2014”, granting automatic admissions or automatic scholarships into state universities and colleges to qualified students from all public high schools.  Even us in UP, we have the Student Tuition System or STS, which provides a socialized tuition system in order to address better these challenges of our students.

With the aim and goal of this conference which focuses on the power of effective teaching, high expectations, support for all students and continuous improvement, rest assured the three things to remember in teaching will come to fulfilment.

Today, the educational system is at the crossroads of its future. Are we using the right tool in the crisis? Have our recovery programmes had the intended effects? How can we assure an inclusive, lasting and sustainable growth? How do we produce long-term value product?

To the organizers of this conference, the Guro Formation Forum, Inc., I commend you on your commitment to improve teaching and all the objectives that your association stands for.

And I wish everyone the most fruitful three day conference with interesting and stimulating discussions and exchange of knowledge so that we can, together, envisage the future of an innovative classroom.

Maraming salamat.

ATTY.  LIZA D. CORRO
Dean
University of the Philippines Cebu

 

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