Pacete: The role of culture in education

THE Department of Education (DepEd)-Negros Island Region in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA)- Philippine Cultural Education Program Task Force (PCEP) hosted the Visayas cluster of the Pagsasanay sa Edukasyong Pangkultural: National Seminar on Culture-Based Teaching Methodologies, Content, Approaches and Management last July 7 to 9 in Silay City.

The training had 200 participants who are teachers, school heads, and supervisors from Regions VI, VII, VIII and Negros Island Region.

Activities were held at Senator Jose C. Locsin Cultural and Civic Center, Natalio G. Velez Sports and Cultural Center, DepEd Silay Conference Hall, Silay South Elementary School Learning Resource Center, and Kabataang Silay Rondalla Training Center.

Break-out session on “Integrating the Arts Across the Curriculum” covers dance, theater, music and visual arts. The opening program at the civic center was a show window on how far Silay could have reached in its cultural growth and development being the “seat of arts, culture and tourism.” The Philippine National Anthem, Asean Hymn, Silaynon March, and the prayer of the Lord have been provided choreography by the students of Doña Montserrat Lopez Memorial High School Special Program for the Arts students. Thanks to Jegger Anjao (rondalla master), Coicoi Gomia (choreographer), and Junjun Davo (music director).

The participants were welcomed by doctor Neri Anne Alibuyog, schools division superintendent and Vice Mayor Joedith Gallego. In his rationale, Joseph Cristobal, PCEP director, enlightened the participants on the role of culture in all subjects taught to students in the K to 12 Program (Basic Education Curriculum). He added that special attention should be given to the indigenous people. Our government is also preparing for teachers a graduate diploma in cultural education. This is in preparation for the formation of the Department of Culture in the near future.

Invited speakers were Doctor Jovy Peregrino, Doctor Orlando Magno, and Professor Ferdinand Lopez. The main topics taken up were “Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education as Essential Platform for Culture-Based Education,” “Mainstreaming the Philippine Culture Education Program’s Essential Cultural Knowledge in the Basic Curriculum (K-12), and “The Child of the 21st Century and the Skills Needed to be Taught.”

The participants had their break-out session for the integrating arts; supervised writeshop in developing culture-based lesson exemplars; presentation of exhibit; and critiquing of templates. From a standpoint of some participants, that could be nose-bleeding. As Silay City’s consultant on Sociology, I was given the opportunity to attend some sessions. For me, it was also my reunion with Joseph Cristobal. We were once together in the Cultural Center of the Philippines-NCCA projects. We also experienced brain-bleeding.

Joseph Cristobal made a special request that the participants should experience a walking tour in Silay after the last plenary session of the first day. Roy Balinas, the education program specialist on Social Mobilization and Networking of DepEd Silay, was assigned as tour coordinator. We mobilized the staff of Silay Tourism Office, the trained teacher tour guides, the teacher friends in tourism, partners from the museums, tourist policemen, rescue teams, and first-aid responder team.

The walking tour was a journey through dance, music, architecture, history, religion, food, and literature. The main attractions include Plaza Olympia Severino, San Diego Pro-Cathedral, “molino de sangre,” the lives of the “jornaleros and the hacendados,” heritage houses, and “comida de Silay.” For the Silaynons, the walking tour was an opportunity to training attendees to understand the culture of Silay in substance and content.

Education is anchored in culture. It takes the entire village to educate a child. We do it in Silay by having a heritage ordinance. Teachers should not just be facilitators of learning, but they should also be givers of knowledge. They should put on the character in children while teaching. Our institutions of learning (schools) should be a product of home, environment, culture and society. In return, they should strengthen home, environment, culture and society.

The schools should be able to provide what is theoretical and practical. Teachers should be resourceful by becoming researchers. Books are just guides. In knowing our culture, teachers should first undergo self transformation. In history, our first teachers were the “babaylans.” They were medicine men, astrologers, consultants, and priests but they can always transform themselves to become best teachers.

Education is complicated but the ingredients could be fused together by culture. We only need the partnership of DepEd, Commission on Higher Education, and NCAA. Let us hope that they can speak the same language.
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