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Hope for learning, mentoring the mentors

/ 05:07 AM January 02, 2020

A joyous welcome to the year 2020!

May the year ahead be filled with great promise, because this early each one of us is making concrete plans on how to contribute to our country’s becoming, the powerful and lying evildoers notwithstanding.

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The year 2019 came to a close with bad news about the dismal ratings of Filipino students in the Programme for International Student Assessment, ranking them the lowest in reading comprehension and second lowest in science and mathematics.

Call it the dumbing of the Philippines.

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Finger-pointing and blame-throwing ensued, but there have been little else we’ve heard in the what-to-do-about-it department, something that is immediate, effective, doable, reachable, affordable, ready to use.

Not the first-aid kind to simply stop the bleeding and keep the patient alive in the ambulance, but something for the long haul that would translate into measurable good results.Not that no one cared to step into the looming void to fill it.

I know there are unsung heroes—individuals and groups—who quietly do their part to educate the Filipino youth effectively outside of the worn-out formula and curricula.

I could at least point to one that I know up close, because I was there at its birth and even before its birth when it was still a spark in the eyes of Inquirer founding chair Eugenia “Eggie” Apostol and Stella “Chinit” Rufino, who was with the Marie Eugenie Institute based in Assumption College.

I am referring to the Mentoring the Mentors Program (MMP) that began in 2004.

MMP has been working quietly, but it has unleashed so much energy and fire from both the MMP catalysts and the catalyzed, that is, the mentors and the mentees.

MMP’s mentors are veterans in the teaching profession (several from the University of the Philippines), who teach how to teach and more. The mentees are the teachers.

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For more than 15 years and without fanfare, MMP has been able to reach out quietly to some 20,000 teachers nationwide. But any time (especially now) is a good time to shout from the rooftops and bring the good news of MMP.

MMP is a program meant to further develop teachers’ skills in mentoring their students, open their hearts and broaden their perspectives.

Its main targets are the public school system and teacher education institutes (TEI). It mentors teachers on the “new” teaching methodologies so that both teachers and students become not only learned individuals but also agents of change. Yes, it is not enough that the students learn their 3 Rs.

Education for social transformation is still and will always be at the core of MMP, even as it helps the teachers help students to become the persons they want to be.

When the long-awaited K-to-12 education program was about to be implemented some years ago, MMP honed its mentors even more to meet the needs of teachers, also mentors in their own right, many of whom were hardly prepared to meet the challenge. MMP is a mobile program designed to meet the participants in their own localities.

Sessions are limited to 50-65 persons to ensure quality and personalized mentoring.

A typical MMP seminar begins with a lot of heart-opening, soul-searching and hand-holding (the art of loving, leadership, character formation, win-win relationships), then segues into the innovative and effective ways of teaching, many of which were/are not taught in TEIs.

Active teaching and learning are not merely lectured about, they are experienced.

Teachers are shown how indeed learning takes place and why some old methods must go. Teaching may be one of the oldest professions, but it does not mean that methods should remain Jurassic.

For example, teachers are shown why old, wordy lesson plans are obsolete and how they can make workable ones.

Creativity is key, and teachers must use new ways to make learning enjoyable and unforgettable.

Might your school need an MMP seminar?

There are public funds for teacher training, by the way.

MMP can find sponsors for financially strapped private or parochial schools.

Send email to me or to [email protected]

Send feedback to [email protected]

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TAGS: education, learning, mentoring, Mentoring the Mentors Program, Philippine Schools, students
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