May 30, 2017

Elements of the finest schools in a school run by parents

MANILA, Philippines – While teachers take the place of parents in thousands of schools all over the country, none offer the kind of pedagogy that schools under the Parents for Education Foundation (PAREF) possess. These are schools run by no other than the parents themselves. With a firm resolve, they formed PAREF in 1976, a non-stock, non-profit corporation, whose main objective is to put up schools and to provide parents the means to promote the world-class education they dreamed for their children.

Dreaming of leaders who can bring about social transformation, PAREF focuses its efforts on building men and women of character.

“Members of the alumni,” reported Ralph Guzman of PAREF-Southridge School, “are just about always bumping into co-alumni at the University of the Philippines, the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, University of Asia and the Pacific, and the University of Santo Tomas.” Indeed PAREF students continue to enter Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Brown, Yale, and Stanford, even earning Latin honors of summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude. Within its 35 years, the system has produced at least ten summa cum laudes, six of them in American universities. Thus, the University of the Philippines and some DepEd officials have informed PAREF that its student results show that it is one of the top school systems in the country.

For PAREF, its strongest tool for facilitating personal excellence is one-on-one mentoring. Each child is assigned to one mentor, a member of the school personnel, who chats on a periodic basis with the student personally to understand his or her personality, behavior and potential. Inspired by the ideas of a modern saint and Catholic educator, Josemaria Escriva, PAREF is the first organization in the Philippines to practice this type of active partnership between parents and teachers.               

Building on this key strength, PAREF has developed its home-school collaboration system through the years. The latest addition is the incorporation of Harvard-Business-School-style case studies in its New Parents Education Program (NPEP), developed together with Educhild Foundation.

The faculty is considered the heart of the school. Thus, PAREF ensures that its teachers are fit for the purpose of being parent partners outside the home.

PAREF has successfully realized its mission and vision by putting up 7 single-sex schools all over the country: Southridge, Woodrose, Rosehill, Northfield, Springdale, Southcrest and Westbridge. The PAREF Preschools, Inc. (PPSI), meanwhile, is composed of Rosemont, Ridgefield, Rosefield, Ridgefield Iloilo and Rosehill Preschool.

For parents who aspire to play a proactive role in the education of their children and desire for them to grow up living the values of the Catholic Faith, PAREF will be more than happy to welcome them as part of their community. Parents can visit any of its schools all over the country or call (02) 6314292, 7810220, 6311695 or 6877104 or send an email to centraloffice@paref.org. Parents can also visit www.paref.org or drop by the PAREF Office at Units 107-109 Cedar Mansion II, No. 7 Escriva Drive, San Antonio Village, Pasig City.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/education-and-home/2013/10/31/1251400/elements-finest-schools-school-run-parents

Forming character

ONE of the important goals of education is to form the character of children. It is that part of a person that provides stability and direction in his life and everything in it, starting with the way one thinks, his attitudes and his reactions to things in general.

A person, of course, is a very dynamic being, but he needs to have a sense of permanence and confidence. He needs to be rooted and moored in some sound foundations and oriented to some clear and good goals. He just cannot be drifting aimlessly, twisting in the wind.

A person needs to have an over-all view of life. He has to have a good idea of where he comes from and where he is supposed to go. He has to find meaning and purpose in everything. In fact, he has to know what man is really all about. In this, he cannot and should not be left in the dark for long.

Thus, we have to feel the need to be clear about who and what we are. This involves our core beliefs and faith. Let’s try to be professional and serious about this, avoiding being amateurish and sophomoric. And so we have to understand that we have to be committed to a global view of man and life.

For this, our Christian faith gives us the whole thing—from man’s creation to his eternal destiny. We have to be wary of some attractive ideologies that offer partial truths that often get distorted and exploited for some ulterior motives.

In short, we have to be committed to our Christian faith, for it contains the whole truth and mystery of man, and goes much further than any man-made ideology can offer. Commitment to our Christian faith should not remain on the intellectual level only. It has to involve our whole life with all our powers and faculties.

So everyone has to work to form the right character for oneself and for others. With respect to the children,  the task is a long, tedious process that has to go in several stages, typically slow, even meandering, in accordance to the rhythm of life itself, but it should be abiding and relentless.

Good knowledge on shifting gears is definitely a necessity here, since we are going to meet all kinds of terrains, challenges, circumstances and other factors and conditionings.

Since children are not aware of the need to form their own character, their parents and teachers have to gradually make them aware of it. In the end, it is the children themselves who are the primary agents in forming their own character.

The responsibility of the parents and teachers is undoubtedly big and indispensable, but at best secondary. To the children, parents are the primary educators. Teachers just help. Both need to coordinate very closely with each other.

For sure, they need to make time for this all-important duty. This cannot be treated as a sideline only. They need time to be with the children, and time for their planning and meetings.

For this reason, parents and teachers should be clear about what is involved in forming the character of the children. They have to know what education is really all about.

Then, of course, they have to know the many, endless details of the techniques and methods involved, when to be strict, when to be lenient, etc. They have to realize then that they need formation themselves and that their formation as educators also has to go on. It should be an endless affair.

For sure, education just cannot be understood as imparting some knowledge and skills to the children. It covers a whole lot more. Many considerations have to be made—the temperament and psychology of the children, the close monitoring of their behavior, etc.

As educators, parents and teachers have to be knowledgeable not only about the subjects involved in education, but also about the appropriate ways to educate children. They need to combine a wide range of qualities—patience, cheerfulness, toughness, optimism, naturalness, openness and flexibility, etc.

They have to be good at motivating, since children respond so favorably to this that we can say that their growth and development would depend largely on the motivation they receive especially from parents and children.

They have to feel appreciated and loved, needed and important. Even when they have to be corrected, they should realize by the way we do the correction that they are in fact loved and needed, never rejected.

This, I think, is how they form their character and acquire both human and Christian maturity.

Back to Springdale

As "the only school for boys", today is the first day in school at PAREF Springdale. Teachers, staffs, and students are excited. Everyone is excited especially the new ones. You see new faces, new smiles, hear new laughter, and new kids playing at the quadrangle. For more than 16 years already as a boys school here in Cebu…

…in Springdale, you see "Gentlemen".

Bene Omnia Facere!

Springdale wins against CIE, 48-42

PAREF Springdale Titans defeated the Cebu International Education (CIE), 48-42, in the secondary division of the 1st Private Schools Developmental League at the Cebu Doctors’ University yesterday.

 

The Springdale Titans started slow and trailed the CIE Lions, 18-8, owing to the strong showing of Akeem Amistad. However, the Titans was able to recover in the second quarter with Zach Go, Ace Gochuan, Carlo Diola and Tonyo Carcel combining for 14 points to cut the lead to 24-22.

 

After a give-and-go battle in the third quarter, the Titans banked on Go, Gochuan, Carcel and Dional for their fourth quarter run as they delivered 16 points for their close six-point win.

In the other games, Cebu Cherish School defeated St. Louis School of Mandaue, 54-35, while Mt. Olives Christian Academy routed St. Francis of Assisi School, 63-33.

In the elementary division, Springdale made it 2-0 for the Titans with a 28-23 win over the San Isidro Parish School.

Tournament director Marlove Alquizar said they organized this tournament to give a chance to private schools with small populations to compete in basketball.

The secondary divisions, which attracted eight teams, will have a single round robin, while the three-team elementary division will have a double-round robin play.

The tournament, which will have games every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, will run until March 3.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 05, 2012. By Iste S. Leopoldo Saturday, February 4, 2012

Springdale wins in Knowledge Challenge

The Bethany Christian School and PAREF Springdale swept wins during the elementary eliminations of the 2nd BTC Knowledge Challenge on Sept. 10.

The teams from grade 3 to grade 6 dominated the first round of the inter-school quiz bee at the Banilad Town Centre (BTC) and will compete in the finals on Sept. 24.

St. Theresa’s College and Acedemia del Christifidelis also had three teams going into the finals as well as Cebu Bradford School with two teams.

A team each from Cebu Eastern College, Childlink Learning Center, Marie Ernestine School and St. Paul Learning Center also made it to the finals.

Each team has three students. The eliminations for the secondary division will be held today, Sept. 17 at the second floor lobby of the BTC main building.

While 11 schools competed in the elementary division, 10 schools have registered teams to compete from first to fourth year levels.

Other than the schools mentioned, the Don Bosco Technology Center and Harvest Christian School also competed in the high school division.

Jiggy Junior of Y101-FM is quiz master. Now in its second year, the Knowledge Challenge is in collaboration with the Department of Education that reviewed the quiz items and provided the judges.

The winners will receive golden BTC medals and gifts from BTC tenants, while the school with the most number of winning teams will get a trophy as overall champion.

Published in the Inquirer News on September 17, 2011.

PAREF junior gets in national debate team

RICO Rey Francis Holganza, a 16-year-old junior, made it to the Philippine national secondary debate team after a weekend of gruelling tryouts.

The Team Philippines: World Schools Debate Championships committee came to Cebu last Dec. 18 and 19 and hosted a tryouts session at the University of the Philippines Cebu College campus.

Holganza, or Ribo as his friends call him, was chosen by Kip Oebanda and James Soriano, head coaches of the team, after several rounds of debate where six other Springdale students participated.

He will be sent to Dundee, Scotland, on August and to Cape Town, South Africa, on February to compete in two editions of World Schools Debate Championships.

Four of six slots in the team have been taken by Holganza, Joaquin Escaño from PAREF Southridge School, Sanjeev Parmanand from the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Akshar Bonu and Mariella Salazar from the International School of Manila.

Practice was intense because it would last until four in the morning, but it was all worthwhile,? Holganza said.

The team has been competing regularly for the past few years, but this is the first time the committee hosted tryouts outside of Metro Manila, making Holganza's accomplishment an even bigger one.

Published in the Inquirer Global Nation on March 29, 2011.

 

Stepping into the Classrooms of the Future

By Andre Miko Alazas
Photo by Enrique Benedicto

The 24th of June 2011 marked PAREF Springdale School’s launching of the Genyo e-learning system, a Singapore-based online learning management system.

Handled by Diwa Learning Systems, Inc., the ground-breaking learning system aims to extend learning beyond the four walls of the classroom and to make everything easier for students, teachers, and parents.

With its newly created Genyo Computer Lab, PAREF Springdale can boast of being one of the first institutions in the Visayas to implement the said e-learning program.

“We want to promote self-directed learning through technology in a highly competitive 21st century environment,” says PAREF Springdale Academic Director Dr. Renante Payod.

The ribbon-cutting, which was done by Dr. Payod and Diwang Learning Systems Executive Director Gina Limstrom, was immediately followed by the elections of the Student Body Organization' s EXECOM members.

This is the first time the Commission on Elections of the school used an online voting system as opposed to its outdated counterpart – manual elections. The tally of votes was easily seen at the end of the day.

With this, PAREF Springdale hopes not only to intensify its curricular standards, but to enhance its student’s attitude towards learning.

Single-gender Schooling

The comparative benefits of single-sex and coeducational schooling have been much debated over the past 50 years. The proponents of single-sex education argue that boys and girls have differing needs and that their styles of learning are different. They point to data demonstrating the comparative under-performance of both boys and girls in co-ed classrooms. Proponents of coeducation argue that mixed education is more in keeping with the mores of modern Western society, and that children from co-ed schools are better adjusted. Both contend that their own approach is truly holistic.

The debate has a social component as well. Coeducation is sometimes regarded as a solution to the failure of the modern family to provide sufficiently for the effective socialization and moral development of children. The financial savings of using shared facilities have led governments to amalgamate formerly single-sex schools and open new co-ed schools, both public and private. In some countries governments have told independent schools to embrace coeducation or forfeit public funding.

A new element in the debate is widespread agreement that somehow education is failing boys. Boys are generally outperformed by girls; statistics of self harm and depression amongst boys are alarming; there seems to be a growing alienation of boys from their parents and fathers in particular. Psychologists write of the “father hunger” of boys who grow up without sufficient input from their natural father.

As Western society strives for gender equality, everyone has become more alert to the unfairness of discrimination on the basis of sex. This argument is used by both sides. Proponents of single-sex education argue that only through single-sex education are the specific needs of boys and girls met. Proponents of coeducation argue that coeducation ensures equity of access to educational facilities and courses. Single-sex education supporters reply that equality of the sexes does not necessitate identical provision for males and females, and that the best way of attending to the needs of boys and girls is to offer them facilities and courses that satisfy their unique requirements.

The advantages of single-sex education

Boys and girls are wired to learn in different ways
It seems beyond dispute that boys and girls learn at different paces and in different ways. This is not a matter of gender bias, but of experience verified time and again by psychological research. The view from the 1970s that gender traits are mere cultural constructs has been discredited. Cross-cultural studies over the past 30 years reveal that gender differences across the wide variety of cultures are remarkably constant1.

Here are some relevant differences. According to a 2001 study2, women use the right and left hemispheres of the brain to process language; men use only the left hemisphere. In general men are more likely to use one area of the brain for a given activity; women are more likely to use more of the brain. Studies show that women respond to directions that include data about what they will see and hear; men prefer abstract directions3 . Girls’ brains develop through adolescence so that girls are better able to discuss their feelings; boys’ brains do not. Research is revealing major physiological differences in the brains of even pre-adolescent boys and girls 4 . For example, seven-year-old girls hear better than boys 5.

These physical differences lead to differences in the way boys and girls learn. Teachers need to encourage girls, while boys need a reality check. Direct challenging works well with boys and they tend to respond to clear boundaries. Emotional activity is processed in a completely different part of the brain in older girls compared with older boys. It has been suggested that girls respond more innately to literature and that they more easily make links between ideas and emotions. In stories, girls tend to respond to nuances of character, boys to action 6. Role-playing exercises allowing a student to explore character work particularly well for girls. Inductive exercises allowing girls to act hypothetically also work well. There is evidence that boys respond more to structured lessons, finite tasks, and perhaps to the more abstract. Girls tend to respond more readily to group work and team work. One fascinating study suggests that under certain circumstances stress has a beneficial effect on male learning, but that it can impair the learning of a female, and that this characteristic is wired in the male brain from before birth7.

Most children learn better in a single-sex environment
On average, children in single-sex education outperform children of comparative ability in co-ed contexts. In a 20-year Australian study of 270,000 students, Ken Rowe found that both boys and girls performed between 15 and 22 percentile points higher on standardised tests when they attended single-sex schools.8  The National Foundation for Educational Research in England9  found that, even after controlling for student ability and other background factors, boys and girls performed significantly better academically in single-sex schools than in co-ed schools. Students in Jamaica attending single-sex schools outperformed students in co-ed schools in almost every subject tested.10  A 1997 study by Jean and Geoffrey Underwood showed that girl-girl pairings performed best on tasks, and that girl-boy pairings tended to depress the achievement of the girls involved.11 

Boys and girls experience the benefits of schooling in different ways. British studies suggest that females more than males benefit academically from single-sex education: they participate more in class, develop higher self esteem, score higher in aptitude tests, are more likely to choose sciences and other male domains at tertiary level, and are more successful in careers. Research suggests that boys dominate the classroom in a co-ed environment. Boys can behave more loudly. Some research has shown that girls receive fewer encouraging comments than boys in co-ed environments. Studies by Cornelius Riordan suggest that children from underprivileged backgrounds are the greatest beneficiaries of single-sex schooling.12  The message of all this research is simple: there are no differences in what girls and boys can learn, but here are big differences in the best way to teach them.

Single-sex education meets the needs of boys better
Boys and girls have different needs and education which respects personal differences must take this into account. On a practical level, the intuitively directed and affectively oriented styles of learning which suit most girls are not always compatible with the more structured and practical approaches which appeal to boys. Single-sex schooling allows teachers to tailor their teaching style to the boys and facilitates a more rounded educational experience. In a co-ed school, boys can opt out of curriculum areas where they would be out-performed.

Furthermore, there is evidence that mixed classrooms can discriminate against either boys and girls depending on the subject, the gender of the teacher, the teacher’s methodologies, and the prevailing culture in the school. Some schools have now started running single-sex classrooms in English and other humanities subjects to improve the performance of boys. The pilot study that demonstrated improved performance of boys in this context has been known as the Cotswold Experiment.13 

Single-sex education meets the needs of girls better
Single-sex education has clear benefits for girls. In the first place, it often gives them expanded educational opportunities by allowing them to pursue non-traditional disciplines for girls such as mathematics or science. Single-sex schooling also offers more opportunities to girls to exercise leadership. When girls and boys are in the same classroom, the boys tend to dominate and overshadow equally talented girls.

On an emotional level, single-sex education puts less pressure on girls, especially in adolescence. At that age, girls are more prone than boys to suffer from low self esteem. It is difficult to manage this issue in a co-ed climate when boys dominate in the classroom and when they receive more recognition, allowance for misbehaviour and encouragement.

Single-sex education makes greater provision for gender role modeling
The shortage of male teachers in the primary classroom is a concern in many countries. In the first six years of school, many boys in co-ed schools seldom encounter a male teacher. Because children imitate those they admire, it is common sense to ensure that boys and girls find in their teachers truly admirable role models. The example of professionalism, values and consistently positive behaviour is most important. But there are other aspects of example that are gender-specific. A boy learns what it means to be a man from his father, but this is reinforced if there are other admirable men in his life. This is also true for girls and their female teachers.

Single-sex schooling allows boys and girls to mature at their own pace
Girls mature earlier than boys: they are better behaved, more diligent and more sensible and they find it easier to relate to the adult world. For all these reasons, it is often argued that girls exert a civilising influence on boys. Whilst this may be true in some situation, the converse is also true: boys can uncivilise girls. When adolescent girls and boys study together, there is much evidence that a proportion will end up distracted from their work.

Single-sex schooling is often criticised for reinforcing negative images of masculinity. Unfortunately this can even happen in co-ed schools. The problem is not solved by bringing girls and boys together, but by vigilantly managing the culture in a school and sub-groups in the school.

Single-sex schooling does not handicap children socially
There is no evidence that children who have attended co-ed schools enter adult relationships that are more stable or fulfilling with the opposite sex. Assertions that children from co-ed backgrounds are better prepared for adult life seem to be flawed. There is a higher rate of unplanned pregnancies (and by implication, of terminated pregnancies) for girls in co-ed schools. One study has shown that students from single-sex schooling are not noticeably thwarted in the development of relationships with the opposite sex either at school or later at university.14

Coeducation can allow socialising to complicate intellectual development. Of course a positive school culture and the superior training of teachers can work against this. But it is difficult to protect impressionable young people from the images of precocious intimacy that saturate the media. Since emotional attraction and physical attraction works first of all at the level of physical proximity, there seems a strong argument to separate a teenager’s academic world from his or her social world. In a coeducational secondary classroom the lines between social life and school can become blurred. Single-sex education allows children to think about things “other than their hormones”.

Single-sex schooling makes it easier to be a good parent
Single-sex schools also provide parents with an opportunity to manage more effectively the social development of their children, particularly in the early years. It makes it easier for them to impart education about sexual matters in a way consistent with their values. Of course when parents choose to send their children to single-sex schools they will need to have much more initiative in providing for the social development of their children. They should set up many opportunities for boys to mix with girls in a family setting during childhood, well before they turn 14 or 15. It is very late to be starting to talk with a child about these issues once he or she has reached mid secondary school.

An undeniable problem for all families is the gulf between home life and a teenager’s social world. Children must feel they can bring their friends home. Coeducational schooling does little to help because it creates a social environment which is totally beyond the parents’ knowledge and largely outside their control. Unhappily when youth culture becomes divorced from family life, a certain percentage of children are sure to end up badly damaged.

Even if single-sex schooling is better for children, it demands more of their parents because they have to take responsibility for helping their children acquire mature social skills. It is easier for parents who send their children to co-ed schools to shirk this responsibility, even though this is not a task which can be delegated to anyone else. Indeed, the notion that parents can wash their hands of the problems of teenage social life may account for some of the popularity of co-ed education. But although relinquishing their leadership role might make parents’ lives easier, the children often suffer from their neglect. 

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