Mentoring the Mentors and K to 12
I don’t tire of writing follow-up stories on the Mentoring for Mentors Program (MMP) which is quietly fomenting an education revolution in the city and the countryside. MMP is something I really believe in, not because I witnessed its birth (with Inquirer founding chair Eggie Apostol and Marie Eugenie Institute’s Chinit Rufino pushing and heaving) and I was able to snare in my close friends in the academe who would become among MMP’s pillars today, but because it was a great idea made flesh that quickly took off and took on a life of its own. Yes, to the delight of teachers hungry to feast on something out of the box.
Two weeks ago I was privileged to have lunch with the forces behind MMP—executive director Rufino, national coordinator Evelyn Mejillano (retired University of the Philippines education professor), trainors Celia Adriano and Soledad Francisco (both from UP), Lirio Ongpin Mapa (of the Franklin Covey System) and Elnora Montemayor (who has decades of experience in preschool education at an international school abroad). Mejillano, Adriano and Montemayor have been my close friends for decades.
Also present at the lunch were new trainor-recruits who have been honing their mentoring skills in recent MMP seminars.
The Department of Education’s great leap forward with the K to 12 education program (compulsory kindergarten, seven years in grade school and five in high school) has thrown many schools and teachers off balance and left them groping in the dark. How do they begin?
Let me advertise by saying that MMP can help you back on track. Already, a good number of schools have signed up for an MMP seminar, not only for their K to 12 woes but for something more, which is how best to be a teacher. As I wrote last year, MMP is taking the city and countryside by storm, but quietly. By storm, because it has unleashed much energy and fire from both the catalysts and the catalyzed, the mentors and the “mentees.” Quietly, because those involved do their work without fanfare.
MMP is a program meant to further develop teachers’ skills in mentoring their students, opening their hearts and broadening their perspectives. Its main targets are the public school system and teacher education institutes (TEIs). It mentors teachers on the “new” teaching methodologies so that both teachers and students become not only learned individuals but also agents of change.
Education for social transformation is the ultimate goal of mentoring, so at the center of MMP’s work is to help people learn more effectively and “become the person they want to be.”
MMP is a mobile program designed to meet the participants in their own localities. Sessions are limited to 50 to 65 persons to ensure quality and personalized mentoring.
The topics in the mentoring program: Kambio sa pananaw from akin to atin (paradigm shift); principles and practices in mentoring; character formation; leadership for service; building win-win relationships and the art of loving; active teaching-learning strategies; and designing effective instruction/understanding by design.
Today, eight years later, the MMP veterans look back on their trailblazing efforts: More than 7,000 principals and teachers mentored all over the Philippines. They bask in the profuse expressions of gratitude, the clamor for follow-ups and seeing change in teaching and learning.
An 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 not taught in TEIs. Active teaching and learning are not merely lectured about, they are experienced.
Seasoned teacher’s teachers Mejillano and Adriano will tell you that scientific studies have shown how effective learning takes place and that some old methods must go. Adriano has rendered the old, wordy lesson plans obsolete and shows teachers how to make more focused, workable ones. Creativity is key and teachers must use new ways to make learning enjoyable and unforgettable.
A number of teachers from the public and private schools have written about their MMP experience. They are the best endorsers of the program.
Seven-time Palanca awardee Ametta Suarez Taguchi, a teacher in Corpus Christi School in Cagayan de Oro City, wrote: “[W]hat stood out in the seminar was the simplification of the lesson plan. Until the visit of the Cel-Sol Tandem, planning the lesson plan was an ordeal that got tougher and, excuse me, sillier as new lesson plan styles kept cropping up and we’d follow them to be up to date. Cel and Sol showed us a way to make the lesson plan helpful rather than ornamental.”
A teacher from Angeles City wrote: “Understanding well that people learn more by doing, our mentors did not blitz us with a stream of information; rather, they squeezed out our creative juices and made us think out of the box. On Day 1 they said, ‘We will not tell you, but we will show you.’ They fulfilled that promise.
“Much to our delight, the training also turned out to be therapeutic. It has brought to light our strengths and healthy habits and opened the door to healing. It has awakened the healer in us and made us realize that if only we are willing to give up our akin mentality, we would have healthier relationships and be happier with our work.”
Might your school need an MMP seminar? Superintendents have a budget for teacher training while mayors have a budget from their local school boards. MMP could also find sponsors for the financially challenged. Contact MMP at 8693292, 8938588 and [email protected]
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