Tuesday, August 21, 2012

PSERE: People and Nature as Teachers: (Field Trip to Iloilo and Guimaras)

PSERE: People and Nature as Teachers: (Field Trip to Iloilo and Guimaras)
Dr Abe V Rotor 
 Home industry products: Jewelry and ornaments (foreground), and native bakery products with biscocho as the flagship (background). There is no English name for it and neither has a translation in the dictionary - biscocho is biscocho. It is crunchy, creamy, and does not stick on the palate. It sends a gentle crumbling sound each bite.

Call it fancy, but these pieces of jewelry may pass as genuine.  Remember Guy de Maupassant's story of The Necklace?   And John Steinbeck's The Pearl? There is also a story by Anton Chekhov of a lady who fancied on jewelry, and after her untimely demise, the husband discovered her treasure to be real and  was worth a fortune. 

Entrepreneurship - the bond that keeps a family together (family enterprise), that brings friendship into business (partnership).  It tests business acumen of enterprising people (proprietorship).  It is a leverage to corporate business, checking its excess and filling up its inadequacy. It is informal economy - the talipapa, carinderia, sari-sari store, the small bakeshop, the farmer's wife who sells in the churchyard on Sunday, the peddler, the trader. The fledgling entrepreneur fresh from college. Entrepreneurship is key to economics of EC Schumacher author of Small is Beautiful (Economics as if People Mattered). It stands on the middle ground of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and socialist Karl Marx's Kapital. 

(Photo: PSERE participants patronizing Trappist Monastic Products - fresh and processed food, religious articles, handicraft items - at the Abbott Monastery, Jordan, Guimaras.) 
The common man. Masa - that's how President Ramon Magsaysay addressed the people. The grassroots (sociology term). How we missed them in the academe, in the hall, on the conference table. And yet no pyramid can stand firm without solid foundation.  Societies, organizations, communities cannot exist without them.  Without them, San Isidro and May 1 would have little significance. And the fields and pastures will be empty, so with the plaza and church, fiestas will be dull, so with Christmas. There will be no likes of the Unknown Soldier - unknown farmer, unknown worker, unknown teacher - individuals who bring every battle to victory, who feed and build the nation, who bring people to a higher consciousness and dignity of life and living. 
Let go. Let's do it.  There is no age barrier to a teacher, otherwise we disconnect that teacher-student relationship, that academe-community tandem, that interdisciplinary concept of holistic education. This is a global trend.  Who retires in teaching? Nobody. When? Never.  Once a teacher always a teacher.  People will sought for your advice. Children will sit in front of you and ask the 4Ws and the 1H.  But it is always the Why that is unending and most difficult to answer.  Ultimately, what is our answer to, "Why are we here?" And we sought recourse to the prima causa - the Creator. 
Professors all, academicians, educators. The world is exploding with knowledge, the world is traveling on two feet (communication and transportation).  Tradition is left behind if not being waylaid, generations are losing their connections by culture, exposure, distance. We must keep abreast, we have to be computer literate, we go back to school, attend continuing education through training, get ourselves involved in social immersion. This is PSERE's thrust in research, but research that looks not only to discoveries and inventions, but to ascertain the continuity, contiguity, and sustainability of progress, of proven techniques and formulas, of working models, of every research that contributes to the efficiency of  a system.     
Who qualifies as tour guide?  Field instructor? Like in the field of sports, he is a player himself - and somebody who has won medals and trophies.  So in science and technology, in marine biology, in explaining the mangrove, the flying foxes (giant fruit bats), in predicting a coming storm, the spawning of dulong and other species, sudden swarming of jellyfish. Why the deer is no longer around.  Are there still crocodiles in the swamp? Pick a leaf and he will tell you the plant, its scientific name and family, too. Why do starfishes stay on sea grasses, how are they harmful to shellfish like clams and oysters (because they have five arms alternately prying the bivalve which ultimately loses its muscle grip to keep close).  We smile for new knowledge, and at people who bring it to us in their simplicity and sincerity and friendliness. 
Meet Jun a marine technician of SEAFDEC (in blue) an expert by virtue of long, rich experience and domicile by the sea since birth.    Ask about the giant lapulapu (kugtong), mother bangus, mullet (ludong), mayamaya, matangbaka, and the like, and he will recite their natural history at fingertip.  If he were in music he is a musico de oido (by ear), and if there is a blue thumb, counterpart of green thumb in farming, he is surely one in fishing. He is indeed a naturalist. 
Nature posters express concern on the environment by students who spend time in the Eco Park, making it an extension of the classroom and laboratory. Here they forget for the time being the TV, the computer, and other amenities of life.  It is communion with nature.
Field trip: on-site and hands-on learning. Participants to the Philippine Society for Educational Research and Evaluation (PSERE), representing 26 colleges and universities from different parts of the Philippines, visited the JBLFMU Ecological Park, listened to field lecture and demonstration, and experienced social immersion with the members of the community. Cruising by motorboat to reach Guimaras Island from Iloilo, and to the Southeast Asia Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) marine station, is adventure - a learning process seldom encountered by teachers and students in the city.

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