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Outstanding teachers also provide lessons for peers


(First of two parts)

On Sept. 5, 10 outstanding teachers (four from the elementary level, four secondary and two tertiary) will be awarded at Metrobank Plaza for their dedication to instruction, research and service.

I chaired this year’s board of judges in the college semifinal round of Metrobank Foundation’s Search for Outstanding Teachers that included former officer in charge of the Department of Education (DepEd) Fe Hidalgo and De La Salle University-Manila (DLSU-M) literature professor and poet Marjorie Evasco.

I was impressed by the quality of the candidates.

We chose four semifinalists, from whom the final two winners were chosen:  one from La Salle, the other from Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU).

La Salle

Alfredo C. Robles Jr. of DLSU-M has been teaching international relations for 22 years.  Because of his extensive international exposure, Robles not only updates his students and peers on the latest global events but also analyzes these issues from various perspectives.

Robles has published books in the United Kingdom and has been a visiting professor in the United States, France, Spain, Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia. He has written several international scholarly papers and has trained civil servants in Vietnam and Laos.

A polyglot, he has served as a simultaneous Spanish and French interpreter for nongovernment and international groups. He has received accolades from abroad and applies whatever he learns to the local context to ensure that fruitful learning takes place.

As chair of the DLSU political science department, Robles has designed the first-ever graduate program in the country that combines international relations and European studies.  He is proud of the fact that he has trained younger teachers in the field, nine of whom have taught in his department.

During the semifinals interview, Robles regaled us with observations and insights on the European Union, the Spratly conflict and the German world view. It was probably the most intellectually stimulating 20 minutes I have ever had with a candidate in all the years of judging the Metrobank Search.


Emelyn Q. Espiritu of ADMU has been teaching environmental science for 30 years.  Espiritu does not just write textbooks about the environment but also continues to research on environmental management, toxicology and solid waste management, among others.

Espiritu has gone beyond the walls of the classroom, sharing her expertise with the World Bank, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the DepEd and the Commission on Higher Education.

Espiritu has served as a program evaluator of Belgium’s University of Gent’s master’s program in environmental sanitation and academic adviser of Ford Foundation’s International Fellowships program.

Under Espiritu’s gentle and motherly demeanor is a determined soul.  In the interview, she quietly but firmly emphasized the importance of clean potable water in our lives and detailed the challenges involved in ensuring a continuous supply for the nation and the world.


Espiritu is the only awardee this year to specialize in science.  Most of the winners hail from the arts, especially English.  We will look at the humanities awardees next week.

Right now, let us look at two awardees in social studies, one teaching in elementary, the other in high school.

Rodel C. Sampang of Pedro Guevarra Elementary School in San Nicolas, Manila, has been teaching Hekasi (heograpiya, kasaysayan at sibika, or geography, history and civics) for 17 years.

He has also served as a curriculum writer and national trainer for social studies in the DepEd’s K to 12 basic education curriculum.

In the DepEd division of Manila, Sampang is also an adviser of the Supreme Pupil Government and the principal author of the division’s bylaws and constitution, which govern the more than 70 elementary schools in the city.

As chair of the Teachers Professional Development Program for Makabayan and Hekasi in the Manila DepEd division, he has also initiated various training programs for teachers.

Sampang has studied the effectiveness of the Makabayan and Hekasi Teachers’ Development and Learning Community program vis-à-vis the traditional School Learning Action Cell.

Sampang is also a commissioner of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines chapter in District 3-B Manila Council and project coordinator of Sagip-Estero de Binondo.

Social studies

Dominique J. Maquiran of the University of the Philippines High School-Iloilo has been teaching social studies for 20 years.  His seminar-workshop on “Equity in Diversity:  The Anti-Oppressive Pedagogy” trains teachers to be advocates of peace education, particularly in light of the problems of bullying, abuse and discrimination in some schools today.

Maquiran has also trained teachers on the art of questioning, as well as ways to motivate students and manage the classroom. He has trained students for various national and international competitions.

To stimulate student analytical and creative thinking skills, Maquiran encourages students to do innovative activities, such as conceptualizing themes for film festivals, producing documentaries, designing comic strips and performing poetry-in-motion.

Active in the community, Maquiran has organized close to a hundred outreach programs and finds fulfillment when he sees peers and students uphold the values of intellectual curiosity, moral integrity, service and respect for human rights.

(To be continued next week)

E-mail the author at blessbook@yahoo.com.

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Tags: column , Learning , metrobank foundation , outstanding teachers , queena n. lee-chua

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