Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Insights From UP FLIPP's New Professionals Series Seminar & Unconfenrence

The young and the restless: UP Flippers, Mdme Salvacion Arlante & me.
I wish to congratulate the officers of UP FLIPP (Future Library and Information Professionals of the Philippines) for a successful LibSpeak 2016. I have had the pleasure of being invited several times over by this vibrant and young group of students. Every engagement is a different experience but laden with learning and insights as always.

This year, LibSpeak 2016 had two simultaneous events, a conference graced by three esteemed UP SLIS alumni and the "first" New Professionals series seminar and unconference. The former follows tradition. Something tried and tested. The later deviates a bit from the path more traveled. That was where I found myself yesterday.

It suited me just fine.

The New Professional Series is meant to foster mentoring, build networks and linkages, and open up opportunities for continuous professional growth and development. Sounds familiar? Same objectives that many professional organizations have. What made this different was the format in which the seminar and "unconference" was conducted. The methodology went like this: a resource speaker gave an input on the theme; two senior colleagues gave a response; a breakout session followed and in each group, a sub-topic that was related to the theme was talked about; next was the feedback and reporting; open forum; and then, a closure. For some, this may look like a small scale PLAI Congress or a format done by organizations off shore in conferences too. Not entirely new, but it was modified to fit a particular context.

What I really liked about the format and method employed by the Flippers was that, it surfaced many voices. Participants were given choices of groups to belong to. Voice and choice. Two important features of instruction that is centered on the learner. The design of the seminar and unconference also lent for discourse, though, this kind of conversation needed refinement of thought and thinking processes.

I think we need meaningful discourse to prepare us for more difficult and challenging cognitive tasks: reading, writing and research.

Joseph Marmol Yap was in top form. The young LIS professional I met in Bacolod in 2012 is not the same man I listened to yesterday. Congratulations to the UP Flippers for a job well done! I am sure your mentors are proud of you. Thank you once again for bringing me along in the journey of the path less traveled by. It was not a lonely walk, but an interesting one where conversing with the future LIS professionals gave me hope to keep on doing what I have considered as my life's mission. It was an inspiring morning!

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