Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What the Pope Has Shown Me

Back in October 2014, during the Rizal Library's 6th International Conference, Fr. Ben Nebres SJ in his closing keynote challenged the participants of the conference with questions on what libraries can show the world and how librarians are capable of showing it to readers and clients. As I remember it, he talked about technology and our use of a language that is foreign to our context and culture that the purpose and the message for which we create and communicate information becomes unclear. And because he is a Jesuit, he connected this premise to the Papal visit and the current relief operations in Tacloban. It makes a lot of sense but it is difficult to understand everything in one sitting. Just like your typical Jesuit, he left and bestowed points for reflection.

My take away from his closing keynote was, as a librarian, I hold a responsibility to show my community the real and the ideal; that it is my role to help them think through, with care and creativity, which information is worth keeping and worth thrashing away. Isn't this the crux of Information Literacy?

When the Pope spoke about information overload, I connected the dots. Two Jesuits have shown me the way towards my mission as a librarian.

On a personal level, the Pope's visit gave me so much to be grateful for. Once again, I am reminded how important one's personal relationship is with God; that the God we meet in prayer and in the routines of every day is a god who knows how it is to be human. Despite the anit-Pope articles that circulated in social media right after he boarded the plane for Rome, I keep my reverence and respect for Pope Francis because, as I have experienced God in my life, I saw how the Pope would meet his parishioners where they are at. Dissing the prepared speech; being silent and offering one's mere presence; reassuring that Jesus is constant companion in life; embracing the mystery of suffering; falling into vulnerability on questions we could not answer.

So human, yet divine. This is the God I know. This is the God who surprises me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Librarian as Research Supervisor: On the Personal Project

One of the more exciting but challenging task I took on last August, at the start of the school year, was that of a research supervisor. I coordinate the writing of the Extended Essay of the grade 12s and supervise a grade 10 student on his Personal Project.

My supervisee showing his ebook to a guest at the WIP fair.
Yesterday, my grade 10 supervisee participated in the Work In Progress (WIP) Fair of the Personal Project. Like his batch mates, he was well prepared for the occasion. He had his booth set-up a few days before the fair. His posters and iPad were ready. I watched and listened to him speak to guests and school mates as he explained the goals of his project, the status of his project, the difficulties he has experienced and how he was able to overcome these. He looked happy and fulfilled. I expect to see him next week, after the Papal Visit, for a conversation on his experience at the fair.

This is what I enjoy doing the most with my supervisee. The conversations. Listening to him allows me to understand what his process is, how he works his way through the research process and discovering new insights along the way. I am lucky I have a conscientious supervisee. He adheres to the schedule and diligently works on task assigned to him on a regular basis. My role has really been a guide and cheer leader for him as he journey on the path of the Personal Project.

I think whet helped him accomplish a good presentation at the fair, apart from his diligence and discipline, are the following:

a. He picked a topic and project he is genuinely interested in.
b. He has developed a certain level of skill in crafting questions.
c. He listens.
d. He follows through.
e. He reads.

I check his online journal once a month and I am amazed at how honest his insights and reflections are. He still needs to work on his information literacy skills as well as his thinking skills (reasoning, logic, supporting a claim). But this is the point of the whole exercise. This is the reason why, high school students need a research supervisor.

And yet, this experience with my grade 10 student also allows me to grow and learn from him. I am taking a great interest on the iBook authoring app. This April, I dare to present in another international conference. Reading and writing skills need to be modeled. If I want my students to respect me as a research supervisor and EE Coordinator, they must see me walk my talk. I sit back and further reflect on the these things. Yes, competence and cognition are essential to complete a research paper or project. But there is a lot of character building going on in the process.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

#griffinsread: The Library of Unrequited Love

Photo caption: What does unrequited mean?

Friday, January 9, 2015

#griffinsread: Hitler

Student's caption: Some things are better left in the shadows.

Top Ten Borrowed Books of 2014

  • Smile Scholastic / by Telgemeier, Raina.. -- New York Graphix, 2010.  [FIC TEL]
  • Mockingjay / by Collins, Suzanne.. -- New York : Scholastic Press, c2010.  [FIC COL]
  • Catching Fire / by Collins, Suzanne.. -- New York : Scholastic Press, c2009.  [FIC COL]
  • 1984 / by Orwell, George. -- New York : New American Library, 1981.  [FIC ORW]
  • Lara and the gray mare. Vol. 1-4 / by Duey, Kathleen. New York : Dutton Children`s Books, 2005.  [FIC DUE]
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey / by Clarke, Arthur C. (Arthur   Charles),. -- New York : New American Library, c1968. [FIC CLA]
  • Language in thought and action / by Hayakawa, S. I (Samuel Ichiyåe),. -- San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990.  [GC 153.42 HAY]
  • The Perks of being a wallflower / by Chbosky, Stephen New York : Pocket Books, c1999.  [FIC CHB]
  • Feed / by Grant, Mira.. -- New York : Orbit, 2010 [FIC GRA]
  • Saints / by Yang, Gene Luen.. -- New York : First Second, 2013.  [GC 951.035 YAN]

Monday, January 5, 2015

Think Tank Project 2015: Revisiting Goals

Decluttering and decorating helps me think!
This year, I am applying a concept and a process that I have learned in one of our PD (professional development) sessions in school to actual library practice. I am calling this approach as the 2015 Think Tank Project where design thinking is the methodology I will use to plan programs and services for library patrons and users.

Design Thinking is espoused by David and Tom Kelly, authors of the book Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential With In Us All. It is a four cyclical process where participants go through periods of Inspiration, Ideation and Experimentation, Synthesis and Implementation. To strengthen the approach, I am applying Roger von Oech's Creative Whack Pack as strategies to see me through the entire process.

To start, I am looking at the services and programs the library staff has delivered for the first term. Picking out three "take aways" from an informal survey I conducted during in-service training, I will think through and reflect if the "take aways" and the library services and programs agree or adhere to each other. This way, I am able to analyze and explore current practices with insights from library patrons. The patrons I gathered insights from being the teachers.

From here, I write questions to ask myself and my staff. We will do this individually and as a group. These are the questions I have written:

a. How did the library support student research during the 1st term?
b. What helped teachers in facilitating research when they asked assistance from the teacher librarian?
c. What mechanism did the library staff use to inform the community of new resources?
d. How did the community respond to these mechanisms?

This is only the first part, which is Inspiration. Ideas and insight are generated from a context and/or a content. The questions I crafted help me Explore what is current and in front of me. This exploration is like a whack on the head (von Oeck) at seeing what is obvious. Sometimes, we can get answers to questions by looking at the resources we currently have.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Movie Review: English Only, Please

English Only, Please
Director: Dan Villegas
Story and Screenplay: Dan Villegas
Antoinette Jafaone and Anjeli Pessumal

Yes. I jumped on the bandwagon and I was not disappointed at all.

What worked

1. Derek Ramsay and Jennylyn Mercado. It was my first time to see a movie starred by these two actors. I confess, I had no idea how good an actor Jennylyn Mercado is. In the movie, she plays a simple girl but her presence screams star appeal. She lights up the screen like a 24 karat diamond ring. No wonder she's the one chosen as the Starstruck grand winner.

Her portrayal of Tere Madlansacay is very accessible. Tere is your everyday girl and Mercado essayed the role effortlessly. She's your BFF and go-to-girl. She's the loyal and hardworking daughter. She gives, so much, until it hurts.  In the end, she looks at herself and decides she has not given enough. This is her only flaw and one that can be easily forgiven, if not, tolerated at least. I find myself rooting for her to end up with that nice Fil-Am guy, Julian Parker.

Derek Ramsay as Julian Parker, the brooding, angry, broken hearted Fil-Am who went out on a limb to avenge his pride is just WOW. For once, Ramasay's character is not bent on seducing a vulnerable woman. His quiet and tempered portrayal of a man who found love in a hopeless place is way sexier. Like Tere, his only fault is to fall in love and have his heart broken all over again. So I wish the same thing for Julian: to find the girl he deserves.

Since this is a romantic comedy, they did find each other and a chance at happily ever after. Together, Derek and Jennylyn make a formidable couple. So charming is their chemistry that I am praying for a sequel.

EOP FP Page: https://www.facebook.com/englishonlypls/photos_stream
2. The script. I like the slow moments in the movie. Good rom-coms have this element. It allows the viewer to listen to conversations and to look at the non-verbal language that transpire between characters. Luckily, the casting director picked the right actors because, Ramsay and Mercado are opposites who are so good to look at. You put two different characters together and you start to understand what the message of the movie is all about. Language is never a barrier between people who truly love each other. Things may be lost in translation, but it is in speaking the truth from the depths of the heart that we find clarity and freedom. Plus, there is enough external and internal tension between the two that kept me through the finish line. That ending where Julian and Tere jumped into the bus leaving for Manila holds a lot of promise for a part two. How much will they give and go for love? What challenges and conflicts will they face in the next stage of their relationship?

Sadly, one of the producers who happen to be a former co-teacher and FB friend confirmed there won't be any sequel.

3. Love and Language. I enjoyed the movie's play on language and how, in some way, it was like an invisible character that brought Julian and Tere together. The scriptwriters are smart in putting in that vocabulary spiels in between scenes. It was humorous and done with enough wit. No crying spells and dramatics. Humor will always save the day. Just when Cai Cortez was about to cry over Jennilyn's lot, she sucks in juice from her balut and with it is an acceptance of things as they are.

The many forms and ways of loving were also depicted with care and humor. Those numerous "Motmot" scenes, single motherhood, family dynamics are springboard conversations about love, sex and relationships that can be taken up with among young people of today.

What did not work

I just wish there were more scenes that showed Derek Ramsay immersing and appreciating the Filipino culture to fully justify his line: Fil-Am ako (or was it laki ako sa US), pero pusong Filipino.

Overall, English Only, Please is a well thought out film. Its actors were well chosen too. At last, here is a movie in this year's Metro Manila Filmfest that doesn't dumb down its paying audience. Thank you to its producers, scriptwriters and director for empowering us to think, to feel and to laugh with you!