September 21, 1997 was a very historic day for us, Filipinos. More than two decades ago, on September 21, 1972, martial rule was imposed in our country by the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos. What followed was a nightmare for the majority of the people who believe in a democratic government. In February 1986, more than a decade later, Filipinos massed in EDSA and overthrew the Marcos government. What the world saw on television was the glorious event. Behind this massive assembly of Filipinos, however, is a long period of sustained struggle of a core group of people who believed that they can attain democracy. In the process, they sacrificed their families, homes, and their very lives. In 1983, the dramatic and heroic death of Ninoy Aquino, prominently reported on television, sparked the flames of massive protests which culminated in the EDSA Revolution.
The late Jose W. Diokno, fondly called by members of his family and friends as "Ka Pepe," was a senator in the Philippines. He was an upright man, popular, brilliant and a very harsh critic of the excesses of the Marcos government. He sounded a warning in the early 1970s on the probability of President Marcos declaring martial law. No one believed him. After the declaration of martial law, one midnight, he was cordially "invited" to Camp Crame. That invitation lasted for two long agonizing years for Ka Pepe and his family. Notwithstanding the difficulties he suffered while in detention, his determination to fight for the cause of democracy did not waver. Upon his release, he waged a seemingly impossible fight against the tyranny of the dictatorship. He personally went to the people who were victims of this harshness. He fought for their cases in various courts, even to the extent of spending his own money. He fought for the indigenous people who struggled to protect their ancestral lands from "being developed" by the government. He defended the political detainees and supported their families in whatever ways he can. He worked with the farmers, laborers, teachers and other sectors of the society. He was instrumental in the establishment of, and a very involved participant in, the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), a support group for political prisoners. He established the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) to defend those who were detained like him without any charges, or those persecuted and oppressed.
After the struggle and eventual triumph of the EDSA Revolution, he died on February 27, 1987. The members of his family, close friends and associates, determined to continue his vision of society, established the Jose W. Diokno Foundation.
The Foundation set as its main program the teaching of human rights in schools. It then sought to implement its program in collaboration with the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS).
The then Secretary of DECS, Dr. Lourdes Quisumbing, was very supportive of human rights education. During her tenure, the Foundation was able to hold seminars and classroom demonstrations in various private schools on how to incorporate human rights in the different subject matters currently taught in schools at various grade levels. The enthusiasm of the DECS on human rights education, however, was lost during the tenure of the next DECS Secretary. The project grounded to a halt. The following successor, Secretary Armand Fabella, turned out to be more cooperative and the Foundation proceeded to negotiate with the DECS for the continuation of the project. In 1993,with much bureaucratic delays despite nearly a year of constant negotiations and follow ups, the Foundation and the DECS signed a memorandum of agreement. The Foundation started a nationwide series of seminars for public school teachers that same year.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Foundation organizes seminars on the pedagogy of human rights to public school teachers all over the country. The Foundation provides the resource persons, their training, honoraria, and support for transportation and lodging expenses. The Foundation also provides all the seminar kits and other needed materials as well as subsidy for an estimated 100 teacher-participants per region in the country to support their transportation, board and lodging expenses. Secretariat work is also a responsibility of the Foundation. The participants' expenses beyond the subsidy are shouldered by the local funds of DECS.
On the other hand, DECS provides the venue for the seminars, and ensures the participation of 100 teachers in every region. The teachers are from the elementary, secondary, even college levels. Interested state college professors as well as private school teachers also joined the seminars.
A DECS circular prohibiting activities for the teachers outside of the classrooms during school days compelled the holding of the seminars only on weekends (during the school period) and summer vacation (before or during their in-service training).
This worried the Foundation at the beginning since the seminars have to use the time of the tired teachers for their own families. The foreseen strong resistance on the part of the teachers was very much felt in the seminars in practically all the regions. Indifference was observed during the initial activities. But the indifference gave way in most cases to very warm reception after the initial lectures on the first half of the first day were given. And by the time the seminars end, there were requests for an extension or a second round of sessions for more in-depth discussions.
What the Foundation provided in the seminar was not really new to the teachers. It was just a matter of reorientation and emphasis on human rights. In order not to burden the teachers with additional work, the Foundation deemed it best to use materials and activities that are in accordance with the requirements of the DECS.
The seminars aimed at:
a. providing basic information on human rights theory;The first day of the seminar is devoted to understanding human rights (the various rights involved, and their sources) and the situations which cause violations of human rights. Presentations are given on the various national and international human rights documents, and on the different economic indicators that can give a general picture of the socioeconomic conditions at the national and regional levels. The Foundation provides copies of human rights documents in anticipation of the scantiness and difficulty in obtaining them.
b. exposing participants to the basic international and national documents on human rights; and
c. equipping participants with pedagogical tools for the teaching of human rights.
Workshops are held to discuss the human rights documents and to develop a framework for analyzing their present local conditions. The participants are given the chance to go through the different documents themselves in the first workshop. For the second workshop, they are told to think of a common and specific problem prevalent in their respective areas. They are asked to think of the cause of the problems. The discussion goes further into understanding the cause of the cause of the problem. Analysis of four, and even six, levels of the deeper causes of the cause of the problem takes place. In this manner, they come up with a conclusion that all these problems are interconnected with each other - they form a web of problems.
The last workshop of the first day is on a presentation on a model system that will enable participants to analyze violations of human rights and state what can be done to prevent such violations.
The second day of the seminar is on pedagogy. But before taking up pedagogical issues, discussion focuses first on the justification and importance of teaching human rights in schools. The discussion takes up the international aspect of the mandate for teaching human rights as provided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In the context of the Philippines, it is also pointed out that Philippine laws such as Executive Order Number 27 and the various provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution mandate the teaching of human rights in schools. Lastly, indigenous concepts and perspectives on justice are discussed along with the interpretation of universal concepts of justice in the context of past and present Filipino experiences. For this particular issue, an essay of Ka Pepe entitled "A Filipino Concept of Justice" is discussed with the participants.
The discussion then proceeds to the different teaching methods. For the teachers, this is the most important part of the seminar. This is presented by giving a comparison of two pedagogical models, namely, the traditional method and the participatory method.
Traditional methods (described as the provision of lectures, the usual way of giving school tests, the standard classroom setting, the kind of interaction which is generally one-way communication from the teacher to the students, and the emphasis on the use of text books) is compared with other methods. Basically, a contrast is made between the traditional model and what the Foundation terms as "participatory" approach. The objective of this particular presentation is to explain how human rights can be taught in the classroom within the scope of the usual class discussions and without necessarily doing extra work to accommodate the topic.
In the traditional approach of teaching, the focus is on the teacher. She/he is the transmitter of information towards the students who are just receivers of the data. Classroom activity is generally confined to listening to the teacher and taking down notes for the students. While teachers mostly provide lectures. Questions from students are encouraged but there is minimal student interaction and discussion. Test follows, and test questions are usually from the textbook or the teacher's lecture. The basic source of data is the prescribed textbook.
The participatory method, on the other hand, emphasizes the role of the teacher as a facilitator of the learning process with the students acting both as receiver and initiator of learning. In this manner, interaction is not only between the teacher and the students but between fellow students as well. There is more dynamism in this method and the very process encourages inquisitiveness among the students. The teacher does not only lecture but use other activities like role play, gathering of data from other sources like the library and even interview of people in one's community, analysis of songs, group discussions, making of posters, murals, the planning and carrying out of specific activities related to the topic (planning for a grade level-wide celebration of human rights day, for instance) are very much encouraged. Inputs/data are not necessarily from the teachers alone, the aspect stressed here is group discussion.
Since human rights is basically the showing of respect for fellow human beings, group discussions and activities are seen as the best alternative to the teaching of human rights. Input-discussion-synthesis-consensus through discussion is the process that is deemed desirable. Teacher intervention is still very important specially to clarify ideas, provoke further discussion, provide other information, and correct inaccuracies.
Textbooks are not the sole repository of data where students and teachers can get knowledge. It is one of the sources. Students (and teachers too) are encouraged to tap other local sources. In this manner, students are taught to listen to each other, respect each other's ideas and raise relevant issues. This approach encourages students to be critical, to systematically find data, to be cooperative, to be aware of their rights and responsibilities, to put more emphasis on the importance of the other person other than on achieving high grades.
It is desired that in using the participatory approach the importance of human rights is not drilled into the minds of the students, instead the very process of education teaches them the concept of human rights.
Ka Pepe pointed out the specific means on how to teach human rights. These are:
a. the interstitial approach: teach human rights using the gaps in the subjects in the existing curricula. In the Philippines, the DECS has two manuals, namely, the Minimum Learning Competencies (MLC) for the grade school level and the Desired Learning Competencies (DLC) for the highschool level. These two manuals list down the minimum skills and knowledge a grade level is suppose to achieve. Private and public schools follow these manuals. The Foundation analyzed in which specific parts of the lessons indicated in the manuals can human rights be inserted. Different subject matters were identified as the fields in which human rights may be inserted like the Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies), English, Values Education and Pilipino language;Individual rights are taken up at the grade school level, while collective rights are discussed at the high school level.
b. the incremental approach: the teaching of human rights begin with facts or rights which cannot be denied. The study slowly builds on these. Basic rights of the individual are first studied (for instance, in the first grade level, the rights provided in the Convention on the Rights of the Child are taken up), as the grade level progresses, more complex rights are discussed.
For instance, in the Philippine curriculum, first year high school subject on Social Studies deals with Philippine history. The collective right discussed is the right to freely choose the goals and means of development. The second year level takes up Asian history. In the portion pertaining to the rise of nationalism in Asian countries, the right to national sovereignty is discussed. The third year level has a subject on Economics. With this subject, right of nations to develop, and so forth are discussed.1
The last part of the seminar is on testing of modules. The participants are given particular modules on identified subject matters. Ideally, the sample module that teacher-participant should have corresponds to the grade level and subject matter that the teacher handles. The teacher-participants are instructed to study their respective modules prior to this session and present the module through a teaching demonstration.
Another important component of the agreement between the DECS and the Foundation is the requirement on the teacher-participants to echo the seminar in their respective regions/areas. The teacher-participants commonly react with both enthusiasm and anxiety. They feel that they do not yet have the confidence and the means do the echo-seminar since the seminar is their very first extensive training on human rights. They request, therefore, for another seminar in order to have more in-depth and exhaustive discussion on human rights education. They are likewise anxious because of the lack of means to reproduce the materials for their fellow teachers. And finally, they are quite worried about the reception of their officers (supervisors, principals, superintendents, etc.) on the idea.
It is nice to note that in some seminars, administrative personnel of the DECS regional offices participated. Some were initially indifferent while others were very supportive and even promised to do concrete steps within their capacity to hold echo-seminars.
Several teacher-participants sent letters to the Foundation later on relating how their echo-seminars went and their struggles in putting them up. It is very heartening to know what they were able to accomplish with minimum or no direct help from either the DECS or the Foundation. Several of the teachers still continue to keep in touch.
The Foundation plans to publish modules in all subject areas. The initial publication is a module on Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies).
These modules are guides in the teaching of human rights and Philippine nationalism. It is in the form of a lesson plan (in strict compliance with the requirement of the DECS). Each module is composed of two to three activities. The contents are based on the essays of Jose W. Diokno in the book, A Nation For Our Children. The writers of the modules reviewed and identified gaps in the MLC/DLC manuals. They also chose essays in the book (whole or portions of an essay are used) that are rewritten and made to fit a specific grade or year level. The modules emphasize group activities because active participation is the desired learning process. The modules emphasize the following: consensus, respect for each other's opinion, and exchange of ideas. But most of all, they are aimed at making the students realize that the strengthening of human rights comes through a group effort.
The module starts with a short explanation on the article/essay of Ka Pepe on which the activities of the particular module is based on. It is followed by a statement of the general objective based on the general objectives of the MLC/DLC of a particular subject matter. The third part cites the specific topic of the MLC/DLC which is being used in the module. The fourth part tells the number of meetings needed to accomplish the objectives of the module. The fifth part provides the different activities needed to accomplish the objectives.
The activity within the module is further divided into:
a. specific objectives (divided into cognitive, affective and psychomotor objectives);It is emphasized that the module is a flexible guide. The teacher is free to implement it as a whole, divide the activities according to the needs of the students, or even use the modules for some other subject matter. For instance, a common feedback from teachers who have used the modules is their use of one or more activities for their Values Education class.
b. materials needed for the specific activity;
c. number of meetings needed in order to accomplish the activity;
d. the procedures followed in the lesson proper (review of the previous lesson, motivation, presentation and generalization); and
e. evaluation and assignment for the next activity.
In every seminar, several modules of varied levels (both in grade school and high school) are brought by the trainors. These modules are tested by the teacher-participants. After the seminars, the trainors meet to assess participants' comments on the modules. The modules are then revised accordingly and brought to another region. The module goes through another process of being tested/presented, commented upon and revised. After all modules have gone through the whole process, they are collected, revised and sent to the DECS for further comments, recommendations, revision, and finally, approval. The Foundation published them after receiving the approval of the DECS. The module on Social Studies for high school was the first to be published followed by the module on Social Studies for the elementary level. Thus, the Foundation can rightfully claim that the published modules as end products given to the individual public school are teacher-tested and DECS-approved.
Modules on other subjects like Filipino and English were also brought to the different regions and likewise underwent the same process. The Filipino modules for grade school have been approved by the DECS and ready for publication, while the high school modules were already reviewed by the teachers but are still subject to review by DECS. Parts of the English modules have undergone the process of review by teacher-participants while others are still awaiting such review.
The Foundation intends to come up with modules for all subject matters in the near future. Its major constraint however is getting the needed funds for publishing them.
Published modules are distributed to teachers in the different regions of the country. Teachers from some regions report that they were able to use them. It is sad to note however that in other regions, teachers failed to distribute copies of the publication. Some copies of the modules have remained inside the custodian stockrooms. When told of the status of the Social Studies modules, the participants of Level II volunteered to personally deliver the copies to the schools where they can personally go to follow up on the persons concerned with their distribution.
In February 1994, the Foundation launched the modules on Social Studies for high school level. The aim is to provide the modules in one book for every single public high school in the Philippines. This book contains a compilation of all modules for all year levels (there are four year levels for Philippine high school). A year later, the Foundation decided to provide one book of modules for all the public elementary schools all over the country. This book for the elementary level is a compilation of modules for all the elementary levels (six levels). In providing these modules to all public schools for free, it is hoped that the Foundation can help the teachers in their teaching and propagation of human rights.
The seminar kit, given to the participants in each seminar, contains one very important material which we call the blue book (because of its blue cover). This material is basically for teachers. They are produced with the needs of the teachers being the foremost consideration. This material has all the information needed in undertaking any activity.
The blue book contains copies of some important human rights documents like the Executive Order No. 27, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Declaration of the Basic Duties of ASEAN Peoples and Governments, the Summary of Philippine Constitutional Guarantees on Human Rights, and others.
When the Foundation was in the process of training trainors for the workshops, it was learned that collecting human rights documents in Manila is difficult. If this is the situation in the capital city of the country where resources are supposedly readily available, it is surmised that those in the provinces will have even greater difficulty. Thus it was resolved, in order to make teachers' load a bit easier, that the Foundation will provide the documents. True enough, teacher-participants greatly appreciated receiving the blue book. They were concerned however that they may be the only ones having a copy of the blue book in their respective regions/areas. They face the problem of reproducing it in their echo seminars.
Included in the seminar kit is a copy of Ka Pepe's book, A Nation For Our Children.
In whatever region the seminar was held, the teacher-participants constantly requested for another round of human rights seminar. They were willing and enthusiastic to echo what they have learned but they also pointed out that this is their first time to encounter the subject matter.
With this development, the Foundation once more talked to DECS and an agreement was reached to undertake a second round of seminar-workshops - the Level II Training Program.
The objectives of Level II is for the teachers to:
a. deepen their understanding of human rights theory;This means that Level II will put into practice whatever is presented in Level I. Level II is all workshops and evaluation.
b. gain more familiarity with basic national and international documents on human rights;
c. identify specific rights and simplify these according to the grade/year level they are handling;
d. evaluate the outputs of Level I and their effectiveness as teaching tools;
e. prepare a lesson plan on human rights.
Workshops for Level II include:
a. a workshop on familiarization and deeper understanding of human rights, identification of human rights documents and the rights that are guaranteed in these documents;The end product of this activity is the writing of a lesson plan by the participants and its presentation in the plenary session. More comments and reactions to the output are encouraged.
b. a workshop on simplification of provisions in the national and international documents according to grade/year levels that they handle. They are also given a chance to critique, analyze, and the set criteria for a good, simplified provision and formulate an acceptable standard;
c. an activity reviewing the outputs of Level 1 and assessing the effectiveness of using these as pedagogical tools;
d. a workshop on identifying entry points in the MLC/DLC for possible activities on human rights. In this workshop, participants come to a consensus as to what workable criteria/standards may be used in identifying these entry points. They go on further by discussing what appropriate lessons and strategies may be used.
For the Level II activities, the Foundation identified a training center for the different parts of the country. For instance, Baguio city is the training center for northern Luzon. From the participants of Region I (Ilocos Region), CAR (Cordillera Autonomous Region),and Region 2 (Cagayan Valley Region) seminars, a select group of sixty to a hundred teachers are invited. Fewer participants were involved in Level II training activities due to financial and logictical problems resulting from its non-inclusion in the initial feasibility study of the project. Despite this limitation, the Foundation hopes that somehow the expressed needs of the Level I teacher-participants are addressed.
For two years, the Foundation was inactive due to some unavoidable circumstances. This year, 1998, its office opened once more, trainors are being recalled, and probably a new set of training will have to be undertaken. The wisdom of the previous years of teaching human rights in the various regions of the Philippines can very much enrich this new phase of our human rights education work.
Module on the Rights of Cultural Communities
This module is based on a speech delivered by Jose W. Diokno on the problems of the Kalingas and Bontocs entitled "Our Cultural Minorities and Development Projects". The essay discusses their rights as cultural communities and the effects of development on them.
Reading: Reading Comprehension (HI.C. 1.1-1.6 and 2.1-2.6)
Number of meetings - 6
The students are expected to be able to:
Assign the following to the class before starting the first activity.
a. Ask the students to read the text.
Many years ago, long before the Spaniards came, there were Filipinos already living in our country. Some of them were the Kalingas and Bontocs. They live in the Cordillera Mountains of Northern Luzon.
The Kalingas and Bontocs believe that the land they live on is the basis of their entire way of life. Without the land they will die. The big trees and forest in their land are their churches. The spirits of their ancestors are alive, buried in their ancestral land. The entire history of their race is written in the rice terraces.
Some time ago, the government decided to build four dams in their land. These dams would provide electricity and water the whole of Cagayan Valley so that rice would grow.
But to build these dams, the government would have to transfer the Bontoc and Kalinga families from their land and destroy their rice terraces. The Kalingas and Bontocs opposed the government plan. They were able to stop the government from building the dams. To this day the Kalingas and Bontocs live on their land.
b. Have them list down the words they do not understand and locate their meaning. Make sure these words are listed:
ancestor oppose basis dam
provide destroy terrace entire transfer
c. Ask the students to use each word in a sentence and to write them down in their notebooks.Activity One
Asking and Answering Why and How Questions
The students are expected to be able to:
Materials: Pictures of indigenous groups and/or items made by them (clothing, brassware, etc.); text
a. Write the paragraph below on the board.
The Kalingas and Bontocs have been farmers of the Cordillera Mountains for thousands of years. They till the rice terraces early in the morning by using the carabao and simple hand tools. They then gather the grain when it is ready for harvest. Merchants buy rice grains from farmers and sell them to millers. The grains are milled by removing the rice husks. The millers then sell the milled rice in the markets. Filipinos buy the rice grain because this is their staple food.
b. Ask the students the following questions:
Identifying the Setting and Characters of a Selection
The students are expected to be able to:
|Characters of a selection||By asking who the selection talks about.|
|Setting of a selection||By asking where the characters are located|
|Traits of the characters||By asking what, where, why and how questions that describe the characters|
Give the students another selection and ask them to identify the characters, setting and words that describe the characters. To highlight the rights of indigenous communities, prepare a selection on another cultural group.
Ask the class to write a short paragraph explaining why the right to ancestral land is important.Activity Three
Identifying the Main Idea of the Selection
The students are expected to be able to:
Class meetings - Two
Group ( ) Paragraph ( )
Main idea of paragraph
Sentence that expresses the main idea
Title of paragraph based on main idea
Main idea restated in the group's own words
Give the class another selection and ask them to fill up a similar chart.
As an additional activity, ask the class to prepare a short skit dramatizing the importance of the right to ancestral land. This can be presented during Human Rights Day (10 December).