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Marriage and Family

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Marriage and Family

Promoting Strong Families in the Philippines

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One hundred and eleven educators—superintendents, principals and values education teachers—in the National Capital Region (NCR) attended a two-day Educators' Training Workshop on Character Education at the ICEF International Youth Center in Tanay, Rizal, Philippines June 23-24, 2007. The seminar, on the theme of "Institutionalizing the Culture of Heart in the Family, School and Society," was organized by the Universal Peace Federation, in cooperation with the Philippine Teachers' Association for the Research of Principles (PTARP) and the Department of Education-NCR.

Mr. Alan Saunders, Director of the Office of Character Education of UPF, presented the UPF character education initiative with emphasis on the program prospectus. In his lectures, he focused on the three life goals: to develop a mature character, build good marriage and family relationships, and make a positive contribution to society.

The seminar opened with Bishop Elias Soria, Secretary of the Interreligious Federation for World Peace-Philippines, giving an invocation, followed by the singing of the Philippine National Anthem. Dr. Michael Zablan, National Executive Director of UPF-Philippines, delivered welcoming remarks and expressed delight at seeing the large number of educators gathered together in one seminar to revolutionize the teaching of values in the schools in the Philippines.

Ms. Agnes Barredo, a professor from the University of the Philippines College of Music, and students of Tong-Il Moo Do martial arts provided entertainment during the intermissions. Dr. Ruth Fuentes, the Head of Values Education in Secondary Schools in NCR, then introduced the participants from the different divisions.

During the first session, Joseph Navalta, an engineer and Secretary General of IIFWP-Philippines, delivered the lecture on the Theory of Education. In his presentation, he discussed the need for a new approach to education that will promote the development of individuals' full potential, strengthen the family and society, and promote harmony among cultures and nations. He touched on the universal and individual aspects of education based on universal values.

This was followed by Mr. Saunders presenting the General Overview of the Character Education Initiative and Character Education Curricula. His lecture gave the participants an idea about the goals, vision and scope of the character education initiative of the UPF. When he spoke about character education in both elementary and high school levels, the teachers were inspired with ideas about how to inculcate character development in their students and how to better approach them and deal with them in order to educate them more effectively.

On the same day, the teachers, principals and superintendents divided into ten groups and discussed a particular chapter in the Discovering the Real Me series. They evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of the ideas in the book and gave suggestions on how to make the chapters more relevant to Filipino readers by adding indigenous stories and examples. They also watched the "The Real Deal" documentary video, which showed the realities about love and relationships among youth today.

On the second day, the participants listened to a presentation on Core Ethical Principles, focusing on the virtue of respect. Mr. Saunders delineated how the virtue of respect should be taught to students and how it is also important for the teachers themselves to practice respect in their lives.

From all these lectures, the participants gained knowledge about how to better integrate the values and character education initiative of UPF for the students in the National Capital Region. Everyone felt the urgency and importance of implementing this initiative in their respective divisions in order to promote character development.

During the closing ceremony, everyone was inspired to hear the message of Dr. Samuel Salvador, Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and the President of the Philippines Teachers Association for the Research of Principles, who came to congratulate the participants for completing their workshop. Brigadier General Florencio Magsino gave a lengthy yet very moving description about work for peace and development throughout the Philippines.

Lastly, selected representatives from the Department of Education-NCR shared their reflections on the seminar. Mr. Alfonso Rodriguez, an instructor from Muntinlupa Business School, said that he found the seminar very enlightening and that the lectures affirmed that the teachers are responsible for the lives of their students. Next, Ms. Consolacion Diaz stressed that institutionalizing a culture of heart in academia will help focus the motto of the Department of Education: Makabayan (love of country), Makatao (love of people) and Makakalikasan (love of nature). Finally, Dr. Estela Santos commended the staff and organizers of the workshop, which she found very comprehensive and focused.

In summary, the two-day Educators' Workshop in NCR served to awaken the educators to the need to be more vigilant in the promotion of good morals and values within schools.

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