Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice

My educational philosophy is something superficial but can be achieved. It can be called the Avengers, the Powerpuff Girls, the F4, or my mother’s take on adobo of all possible educational philosophy that I can come up with. I desire to put all the strengths cited in all the philosophical perspectives that I came across in this course. Again, superficial, but for me, it can be actualized. At the bottom of this, I am leaning to progressivism work in progress, social reconstructionist in the making as well.

The curriculum should always include the great ideas of time and explain why there are ideas that did not survive as well. History should be thought as it happened. Grass roots actors should be given the same limelight that the key characters have to themselves. As a History major and most definitely a History teacher in the near future, I will always forward this teaching philosophy as I believe that as we teach the past, the lessons we get from it is and will always be applicable in our present situation and do not let history, especially those periods who brought out the worst in mankind, won’t happen again. Given this premise, education should always be directed outside the classroom. Give the students the opportunity to make the world a better place and are not locked up to digest what is being given to them all the time. Experiencing the reality outside the 4 corners of the school will make them feel more human, as for me. I really like the idea of community immersion and this is something I will most likely to apply in my teaching. This form of instruction gives the students to test their hypothesis on any given social phenomena and is also a platform to challenge what they already know. I want to become a student of my future students as they share their learning and experiences with me.

Education should also be inclusive and always remember those who are not able to go to start or even finish education. There is a program in my former high school where a portion of the students’ tuition fee sends a scholar to the same school at night. They are being taught the way the regular students are. I never saw this move as “alms giving” (which is also not bad as it is practical) but as an outreach program that empowers the youth that there is always good in the poverty-stricken society that they live in. This emancipation  leads the scholars to pay it forward that they begin to change their society one day at a time. This is something that made me proud as a student in that school for 12 years of my life. Little did I know that I helped high school students from my community graduate and only god knows if they are more well-off that most of us do. For me, this is the goal of education and the role of the school – for the students to become the change they want to be. A little charity may go a long way but educational benefactors should not rely on this alone. Private and the public sector should pay equal attention to education especially now that we are in the midst of K to 12 implementation. Teamwork is the name of the game.

Some may say that the most significant learning is not in the lessons you read itself but from the reflections. Philosophy in relation to education is something that do not come to us handy. Practice, reflective teaching, and professional development are definite factors that contribute to acquiring such. Well, of course, aside from the additional learning in my philosophy arsenal way back in college, this course is a test of character for me – starting from individual tasks to group tasks. Time management was on demand more than ever. It was a test that I think I passed.





Encounters with Confucius

Confucianism is very remarkable in all aspects, I may say. It is something that us, Asians, should be proud of. Not only that this philosophy reached the West (and even challenged its supremacy), but also because it lived for the longest time. We might just not notice it at first glance, but when we reflect deeper in our lives, we can say that it has affected (or enlightened) our belief systems in more ways than one, in the most unbelievable places too. There might be criticisms against Confucian philosophy but all I can say is that Confucianism is already established and we just have to live with it.

We might just see Confucius as an ordinary Chinese citizen who emerged in the scene to become one of the most celebrated scholar of the Zhou dynasty (and beyond) during a series of social, economic, and political upheaval in China. My first “encounter” with him was in our high school History class but the discussion did not focus further on his philosophies. All I know during that time is that he was the one who suggested the civil service exam that changed public service in China during his time (a system that was spread across the globe as well and a test that I need to take by next year). It was during college that I was able to read deeper about him in my Ethics and History of East Asia classes. I was also blessed with a very rewarding experience of reading and editing textbooks over and over again where this Chinese scholar’s name appears in it. There was more to life than civil service exams and Confucius.

Morality is highlighted several times in every online article I find about Confucianism when I press CTRL + F. I am not saying that we can reduce Confucianism is morality but I can say that morality is embedded in Confucianism. Ren is a very important concept that we should always remember when we read Confucianism. It will always serve as a clue. Confucius set the bar so high when he elaborated on his educational philosophy. For him, education should be available for all citizens to gain equal opportunities in serving the government during his time. Nation-building relies to students who are the best in their craft and is a man of integrity (the characteristics we should demand from our public officials at present). Teachers should be nothing but the best in providing quality education to China’s future leaders. If that were the best things in China during that time, no wonder that they moved on from their struggles as a nation since changed started at home. What a time to be alive.

How did his philosophy affected me? Well, it sent me to the realm of what ifs. What if education is not a privilege of those who can only afford it? What if students (including me) are inspired to study and are motivated to be the change our present society needs? What if teachers are well compensated and their profession is treated with utmost respect? I am living in the What Is. Education is first and foremost a right. Students are not able to go to school or most of the time prefer not to because of pressing societal conditions. Some move to other places where their value is highly appreciated. This reality shook me. Maybe, Confucianism is very much alive in our history books, in theory but rarely in practice.