Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Transfigured Learning?

Somebody posted this arresting question for a thread in our Facebook group some days back: “Ano na bang nagawa mo sa Mindoro?” (What have you done for Mindoro?) A question addressed to us members. Sensing that the poster-initiator is a teacher by profession, I thought she’s just employing one of the contemporary teaching strategies defined in the 2002 Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) of the Department of Education or DepEd, a method called “Moral Dilemma”. This is a strategy where teachers do a “role-play” and act as devil’s advocates, throw controversial question/s to the class to initiate discussion. This strategy according to DepEd manual and other resource materials is one of the important steps or effective teaching strategy for it gives the pupils and students opportunity to test their reasoning against others or against each other.

So, we members of Unlad Occidental Mindoro Group objectively participated but we did nothing personal against each commenter on the process. We posted our different views and opinions. But I just wonder why rational and assertive people are always mistaken for a hot head (if not a troublemaker) nowadays even how cautious and courteous we are in conveying our views and opinions? Lucretius is right, “What is food to one man is a deadly poison to others.” We are even told to keep our heads cool.

Indeed such gesture of initiating a supposedly intellectual discussion coming from a young mentor is admirable because as we all know, learning goes beyond the four corners of the classroom and it should transcend from structured or formal to popular learning approaches or pedagogies. And for me, Facebook could also be a venue for such learning. She impressed me immediately. But her succeeding post made me realize I was wrong. She apparently just posted it out of the blue. No nothing. Aimlessly at that and I was disappointed.

The foundation both of learning and of faith are exchanges toward changes in status or figures. Next Sunday, March 20, is the second Sunday of Lent and the gospel highlights the transfiguration event on Mount Tabor. In the transfiguration of Jesus, apostles Peter, James and John are made to have a sneak preview, just like in a movie trailer, of what Jesus exchanged for their sake, and the Father asks them to make an exchange. Rather than listen to Moses and Elijah, they are now to listen to Jesus, the new Moses and final prophet. The voice of the Father is heard, “This is my beloved son listen to him.” Gradually, the transition from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant is taking place. This is the new moment for their faith for the apostles learned two important things: to follow the law (Moses) and to be witnesses or prophets (Elijah).

When we were students, we are taught by our teachers that there are 6 objectives why books and other reading material are used as learning tools: to inform, entertain, persuade, describe, narrate and criticize. (“Reading Links Teachers Manual” (p.129); by Maria Lourdes B. Aguinaldo, Editor.) But if we look deeper, such objectives are also in the ingredients if not the main menu of dishes that the popular media is putting on our table today. This includes the electronic media and specifically, social networking sites such as Facebook. The six objectives, in a text book, must be complete and one cannot stand without the other.

And just like in DepEd’s BEC teaching strategy, this is the “moral dilemma”, the “teaching strategy” that God laid for us. To follow His teachings is the most fundamental education a Christian could ever learn. May this process and Transfiguration story be the turning point in our lives this Lent.

If life is all about exchanges, faith and learning as life dimensions are also about exchanges and changing figures for the better…


(Photo : Saint Joseph College Seminary (SJCS) students)

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