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From an anthropological and ethical perspective, the Spanish philosopher Leonardo Polo always defended the thesis that the task of the teacher is the activity that is most directly involved with the human being. In this vision, the classroom is perceived as an exceptional space in which one can grow into a better human person and, hence, the educational task requires that teachers fall in love with their mission, and that they be firmly convinced of the transcendence of their role.
Thus, what is required of the teacher is not only expertise in his/her respective subject matter, but above all, that he/she be formed in such a way as to discover and value the potentialities and capabilities in each student in order to enable their personal growth. In this view, the student is thus taught to project such potentials into the future so that he/she is enabled to discern the transcendence of every action and conduct.
Therefore, this educational philosophy views the educational task as a simultaneous learning–on the part of both teacher and student–to grow into better human beings, with special emphasis on interior growth. And since there is no limit to interior growth, the good use of time by the teacher is of utmost importance for human life. Ethics, then, comes to the aid of the educator in the task of ensuring that everybody–teacher and learner alike–grows.
On the basis of the ramifications of this educational philosophy of Leonardo Polo, this paper shall draw implications for teachers’ self-reflection. It shall likewise draw up recommendations for classroom management as well as for the guidance that teachers are to give to pupils for their integral human development.
One of the more important keynote addresses was that by Dr. Dina Ocampo (University of the Philippines professor & Undersecretary of the Department of Education for several years now) who spoke about real-life stories of Teacher Agency manifested by educators in their own workplace, sometimes to a heroic degree, in order to ensure learning by students no matter how adverse the circumstances. I was moved above all by the example shown by 13 teachers of Malingao Elementary School in North Cotabato (Southern Philippines) who turned themselves in to be “human shields” by abductors in place of student abductees in the year 2013 (luckily, the impasse ended with the release of the teachers). They were held hostage during a firefight in Midsayap, North Cotabato: they showed courage and stood for each other. Two of the teachers were Muslims and were reportedly released by the rebels during the firefight, but the two decided to stay with their colleagues.
The presentations during the “Philosophy and Education” concurrent session on Day 2, September 2, were:
The Silenced, Discouraged, and Hidden Dynamics of Power Relations:
A Teacher Educator’s Self-‐Examination of Racial Literacy
Efleda P. Tolentino
Long Island University, New York
On the Similarities and Differences of Lipman’s and Matthews’s Philosophy for Children
Christian F. Españo
St. Edward School
Elisha Iah Joi D. Baybay
De La Salle University-‐Dasmariñas
The Educational Philosophy of the Spanish Philosopher Leonardo Polo:
Implications for Teachers’ Self-‐Reflection and Classroom Management
Aliza D. Racelis
University of the Philippines Diliman
Students’ Personal Ethical Philosophies and Heuristic Ways of Resolving Moral Problems
Eric D. Agustin
Maricris B. Acido
University of the Philippines Diliman
Below are some shots of the crowd and my presentation at the session:
Below: Eric Agustin, Christian Españo, Efleda Tolentino, Myra Tantengco, myself (Aliza Racelis)
Conclusions/Implications: When one goes through the educational philosophy of Leonardo Polo, one cannot but be challenged by the ideas of: 1) life-long learning, esp. in growth in character & virtues; 2) self-reflection; 3) strategic design of games for pupils; 4) future consciousness; & 5) character and moral education.