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ABS Educators’ Congress 2021: Benedictine Educators Adapting to the Now Normal

August 3,2021


The Association of Benedictine Schools (ABS) held its virtual ABS Educators’ Congress 2021 with the theme, Benedictine Education: Mission at the Service of the Human Person. Over 700 educators and administrators from various Benedictine schools across the Philippines attended the online event held on Wednesday, July 21, 1:00-5 pm and Thursday, July 22, 8-12:00 noon.

The primary education and tertiary education commission heads, Dr. Jonna Lim and Dr. Virginia Fornias, organized the two half-day virtual congresses with Ms. Ynah Valerie Santos as the host. Dr. Greg Pawilen from the University of the Philippines trained the participants on Designing Instructional Modules for Flexible Learning, and our very own alumna, Ms. Mildred Garcia, enlightened the attendees on Social and Emotional Learning.

Dr. Pawilen trained the audience in effectively developing the curriculums. In his discussion, teachers learned the process of developing modules from curriculum modification to curriculum implementation. The participants learned how to devise instructional plans that significantly benefit the learners by taking into consideration the content, context of learners, and context of learning. The speaker stressed that effective educators understand the contexts of their learners who come from various backgrounds. He also advised the attendees that flexible learning is here to stay; therefore, academicians must learn to adapt to the dynamics of classroom instruction.

The teachers and administrators also appreciated the value of course integration by carefully assessing the most significant competencies in producing program outcomes. Dr. Pawilen accentuated that integration reduces students’ burden in accomplishing academic tasks and promotes higher-order thinking as learners amalgamate different skills in similar outputs. At the end of the session, Dr. Pawilen challenged the attendees to create effective instructional designs that enable the Benedictine learners to journey with learning naturally.

The following day, Ms. Mildred Maranan-Garcia, a law graduate from the University of the Philippines and a pre-school educator, delivered an informative lecture on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Ms. Garcia introduced Casel’s SEL Framework to the teachers, emphasizing the significance of self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness in the classroom. The teachers acknowledged these values and understood that to be effective Benedictine educators; they must first realize their core as individuals. The speaker suggested that all attendees practice mindfulness to harness the skills mentioned earlier by paying attention to every detail of the present time. Ms. Garcia reminded them to always be purposive in anything that they want to accomplish in their lives. She ended her discussion by reiterating that the role of the teacher in class drives the social and emotional learning of the students; therefore, educators must always prioritize their mental health to facilitate better knowledge transmission.

Truly, Dr. Pawilen and Ms. Garcia have imparted valuable lessons and insights that educators may use as they plan for self-regulated learning modules, flexible, and conducive online learning environment for the students.. Surely, these talks have equipped the teachers in embarking on another year of online distance learning. Educators have to bear in mind that, despite all the difficulties that may arise along the way, we need to toughen up as our students need us more than ever.

By Mr. John Aldrich Cancino and Ms. Monica Luisa Frondozo