by Contributed News

In response to the need to counter images of war and the narratives of violence as repercussions of the Marawi siege, efforts are being undertaken to ensure that a culture of peace is cultivated, especially in the hearts of the children of Marawi.

To pursue this goal, a unique educational exercise was given in September via a training-workshop that would enable the teachers of Marawi children to combine peace education with the teaching of  reading.

A total of 47 DepEd-Marawi City elementary English Teachers attended the training workshop that was designed to capacitate them in the development of literature-based reading programs that integrated peace concepts and values.

The three-day activity entitled, Training-Workshop on the Teaching of Reading and Children’s Literature, was organized by the English Department of the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology (IIT).   

The training-workshop enjoys funding support from the US Embassy in the Philippines, and is conducted in partnership with Naawan HELPS, Inc. through the #ForMindanao Conflict Response and Peacebuilding Grants Competition.

It is one of 13 winning projects that received a grant from the US Embassy, and was designed to address the needs of communities within Lanao del Sur, particularly those in Marawi City.

The training-workshop is an extension project of MSU-IIT’s English Department that receives partial funding from the Institute’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension (OVCRE).

The project’s leader, Asst. Prof. Michelle Jeanne C. Caracut, said that the training-workshop participants were taught the importance of children’s literature and its role in a child’s learning about conflict and peace in the school system.

“The training-workshop took an interdisciplinary approach to reflect on the role that children’s literature could play when tackling these issues in the school setting,” said Caracut.

Caracut also pointed out that the training-workshop was special in another sense as it included a self-mastery workshop that, among others, made the participants become aware of the roles they can play in the lives of their children/pupils and provided them the opportunity to realize their potential to create change for the reconstruction  and development of Marawi City.

The training-workshop that was held at the CASSalida Theater of MSU-IIT on September 6-8, 2018   featured lectures by playwright and peace worker Assoc. Prof. Saturnina S. Rodil of the English Department; Prof. Lerry L. Valdez, a retired reading teacher from MSU-IIT; and Ms. Maricel P. Diza, Assisting Principal of the Doña Juana Actub Lluch Memorial Central School (DJALMCS) in Palao, Iligan City.

Rodil talked on Framing Children’s Literature with Peace Concepts. In her lecture and activities, Rodil emphasized that in framing peace concepts, cooperative behavior is expected rather than competitive behavior.

Competition at a certain situation is healthy,  but in many situations, it is actually cooperation that creates the kind of goal that we would like to happen,” Rodil said.

According to her, teachers are models of behavior in the school and if that is the norm that children see, children will follow such behavior.

Valdez, for her part, began by telling the participants a story entitled, Angel Child, Dragon Child, which served as the springboard for her lecture where she discussed concepts related to children’s literature including its genres, and the values of literature for children.

“The need then for understanding among peoples and cultures can be made possible through children’s literature. And because our children are the future of our world, there is this need for them to get to know about the culture, traditions, and practices of other peoples they share this world with the hope of having a culturally-integrated world where they could live in peace and harmony with others,” Valdez said.  

Diza, the third resource person of the training-workshop, shared with the participants the story of how the Basa Kubo Project of DJALMCS started and how this impacted learners, teachers, parents and other community stakeholders.

The Basa Kubo is a reading project of Diza’s school that set up mini-reading centers for their pupils that mimicked the look and feel of that ubiquitous Philippine structure – the bahay kubo.

Diza shared her vision for DJALMCS by giving the participants a school tour of their Basa Kubos and by showing them the reading corner of each classroom from Grade 1 to 6. She hoped that the participants would be inspired to make their own reading programs in their respective schools after seeing their reading activities.

The training-workshop expects the Marawi teachers to develop a reading program that would suit their learners’ needs, and which they are to present during a summit that is scheduled in December.