Bernardo M. Villegas
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Need for World Class Teachers

           We need more decent classrooms for our millions of public school pupils. We need more textbooks and other teaching materials for them.   We need to increase the number of years in basic education to be at par with our East Asian neighbors.  But above all, we need world class teachers.  The greatest service we can render to the poor is to make quality education available to their children.  Quality basic education for the poor is the most effective means of combatting poverty. 

          The Government is doing its very best to build more classrooms and other physical facilities for the youth.  It is also trying hard to improve the pay scale for public school teachers.  It is in need, however, of all the help it can get from the private sector to improve the quality of teaching in the public elementary and high schools, especially now that two more years are being added to basic education through the implementation of the K + 12 curriculum.  That is why it is good news that CATALYST for Professional Development, a pioneering character education initiative is holding an international conference for teachers on July 19 and 20, 2013 at the SMX Convention Center.  In partnership with Vibal Publishing Inc., the Conference will feature two top international educators from the United States.  Completing the line up of speakers are two very prominent Philippine educators who will provide the local color to the conference.

          The two-day event is entitled "National Forum on Successful Teaching:  Effective Tools for Maximum Achievement and Character Formation."   It will be held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.  Dr. Fredric Jones, a pioneer in the study of classroom management as a science, will discuss effective discipline, instruction and motivation inside the classroom.   A second speaker from the U.S. will be Dr. Hal Urban, who is a specialist in character education.  He will present cutting-edge strategies in designing character formation program.

          Dr. Paul Dumol, one of the country's most respected playwrights and a noted educator, will open the conference with the keynote address entitled "Why We Are the Way We Are."  He will put in proper perspective the need for character education in the country.  Dr. Antonio Torralba, a pioneer in the field of Values Education, will close the conference with very concrete proposals on how schools can develop effective values education programs among students at all age levels. He will benefit from feedback from thousands of school teachers from all over the country who have attended values educations courses handled by Dr. Torralba over a span of more than thirty years.

          Also for over 30 years, Dr. Jones has studied highly successful teachers to determine the main factors for success in teaching in the classroom.  He has come out with methods of classroom management that are both effective and affordable for the teacher.  He has demonstrated that teaching is neither "magic" nor is it a collection of handy hints--the proverbial "bag of tricks."  Rather, successful teaching is built around a handful of core competencies that can be mastered by even the teacher with ordinary talents.  His approach leads to responsible students who have learned to manage themselves and, therefore, need much less management from the teacher.  Dr. Jones receives his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from University of California in Los Angeles.  While on the faculty of the UCLA Medical Center, Dr. Jones developed methods of helping children with severe emotional disorders as head of the Child Experimental Ward of the Neuropsychiatric Institute.   His latest book, Tools for Teaching, offers an updated description of classroom management enriched by two decades of teacher training.

          The other U.S. speaker, Dr. Hal Urban, is award-winning expert on character education at San Carlos and Woodside High Schools and at his alma mater, the University of San Francisco.  He is the author of six books--all with an emphasis on good character.  His first book, Life's Greatest Lessons, was selected by Writer's Digest as the Inspirational Book of the Year.  In 2001, he was awarded his highest honor--the Sanford N. MacDonnell Lifetime Achievement Award at the Character Education Partnership National Forum.

          The Conference is open to school teachers, administrators, education students, guidance counsellors, human resource managers, character education advocates and anyone interested in education in general and values education in particular.  It is organized by CATALYST PDS, an NGO, and VIBAL, the country's leading educational publisher and developer of innovative educational resources and systems.  It is also made possible through the support of Universal Robina Corporation, Globe G-Cash and Ynion General Holdings.  Participation fee is P 1,750 which includes seminar kit, lunch on the first day, snacks and certificate.  Interested parties may contact Mann Rentoy at 0908-864-8491, or log on to www.catalystmanila.org for more information.  For comments, my email address is bernardo.villegas@uap.asia