TEACHING PRACTICUM.  Melecio Apolinares, ProfEd pre-service teacher, conducts science lesson with the Grade 6 learners at Miarayon Central School during their four-day immersion. 

Text and photos by Phyllis Bernadenne A Sumatra and Jett L Torres

Xavier Ateneo Professional Education (ProfEd) students went to Miarayon, Talakag, one of the Jesuit mission areas in Bukidnon, to participate in a community immersion from September 17 to 20.

Thirteen pre-service teachers joined the said activity as part of their service learning in the course of EDUC 010: Community Immersion and Participation.

The course aimed at providing the ProfEd students with an opportunity to understand the economic, social, and cultural reality of the indigenous community. Dubbed as the “dialogue of life,” the students interacted and related with the families in selected schools in the area.

Xavier Ateneo Service Learning is a teaching methodology that combines academic instruction, meaningful service, and critical reflective thinking to promote student learning and civic responsibility anchored on the learning competencies of the subject through formal classroom instruction and local community engagement.

The students conducted actual classroom activities with the supervision of the cooperating teachers. They were also tasked to create instructional materials and do action planning as a response to the needs of the community and partner schools.

PRE-SERVICE TEACHER. Maryam Patricia Buat teaches Mathematics to Grade 4 learners at the Miarayon Central School.

Service learning has provided relevant and meaningful service in the community, academic learning, theory into practice, ideas into action, and an opportunity for a purposeful civic learning through a lived experience of the Jesuit mission – solidarity with those in need (preferential option for the poor), and in the light and provision of the Jesuit Province Roadmap and of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. It was also hoped that during this phase, the students have gathered principles relevant to their roles as future educators.

The ProfEd students were given the opportunity to immerse themselves at the St Therese School of Miarayon and Miarayon Central Elementary School. They were able to observe and handle the classes of different grade levels from elementary up to senior high school with their mentors Phyllis Bernadenne Sumatra (faculty in-charge) and Jett Torres (SLP formator).

ProfEd student Melecio Apolinares shared: “We have learned a lot of things from here. Dili pwede nga half-cook lang, at the same time, one foot forward ta. Dapat prepared ta as a whole.”

He continued: “It was relaxing but at the same time challenging.”

Affirmed by Jay Cipriano that the experience was indeed “challenging” because it was their first time to teach.

PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION. Xavier Ateneo Professional Education pre-service teachers strike a pose together with the learners of Miarayon Central School.

The immersion activity was the first time of the ProfEd students to handle classes since they are only required to take up 18 units of professional education subjects before taking the Board Licensure Examination for Teachers (BLEPT).

Bisan lisod, thankful ko nga nakaanhi ko ug naka-help sa mga studyante; daghan kayo ko natun-an diri,” said Stella Palasan, assigned in the junior high school level.

She added, “The experience will not only help us in our course but also it made us realized so many things especially the call to serve the least, the last, and the lost.”

Sumatra went on: “The XU School of Education SOE hopes to continue what we have started here in Miarayon. It is our desire to bring our ProfEd students to the real world and let them experience what it is to teach and to serve the world, this is just one of the highlights of being part of our ProfEd program.”

CULTURAL IMMERSION. Miarayon Central School learners attend their regular early flag ceremony together with the ProfEd pre-service teachers.

“Through the service learning program of the university, professional education students have provided the authentic practical experience in teaching that enabled them to collect teaching experiences to enrich their professional wisdom,” added by Jett Torres.

This is a call for reconciliation and justice that has given us the vision of greater depth, placing the faith, justice, and solidarity with the poor and the excluded elements of our society.

Therefore, students will be able to work collaboratively within a community context and engage the students to address the needs of the community.

For the participants and school administrators, the program was an experiential learning experience inspired by the Ignatian perspective of forming men and women for and with others.∎

ST THERESE SCHOOL. Estella Palasan handles the Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao subject with the junior high school learners of St Therese School of Miarayon, a Jesuit mission school in Bukidnon.

PARTNERSHIP. Xavier Ateneo Professional Education students make a courtesy call to Mayor Vergito Factura and municipal administrator Alberto Bigcas of Talakag, Bukidnon before the immersion proper.

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