Sunday, April 24, 2016

Reconnecting with PASLI: Learning with Colleagues

With young school librarians who asked for an autograph
My last speaking engagement with PASLI was in 2013 in Baguio City. Three years after, I was back to reconnect with colleagues in PASLI as facilitator for two sessions during the 38th National Conference and General Assembly in Iloilo City. This reconnection with my PASLI friends is one for the books.

To briefly share with you, I had a medical crisis a day before the PASLI Conference. I thought I was going to be admitted to the hospital, but my urologist cleared me safe to travel. I had to rest the following day to prepare for the flight on Wednesday morning. PASLI Officers Rhodora Espiritu and Gemma Murillo-Cuna did everything so I can come and deliver my seminar-workshop at the conference. It was bad enough that I missed the PLAI Congress due to a medical crisis (again). I know I had to do the PASLI Conference.

And so, with God's grace, I came. I delivered. I did my job.

What joy! While participants posted their photos on FB showing the fun they had during my sessions, I admit that I learned from them. This is what I always look forward to in speaking engagements: the insights and learning experience I derive from interacting with delegates and colleagues.

I realized that there are school librarians who have shown leadership in their learning communities. Their stories of best practices must be heard. This implies the changing role of PASLI. Apart from the conduct of conferences, perhaps, it will help Filipino school librarians to see and hear more stories about best practices from colleagues. PASLI can be a platform for them. So, PASLI is taking on a mentoring role to its members, peers and colleagues.

With delegates and PASLI Officers
The program boasted of esteemed speakers from the academic libraries. Their presentations are products of research and scientific study of LIS. I imagine now a PASLI Conference, where papers, thesis and research are presented alongside best practices. This can firm up the practice of school librarianship as well as discover topics for further study that will enrich the LIS literature in the country.

In my session, I discovered the possibility of doing a research on professional competencies and continuing professional development of school librarians. During the session, I posed a challenge to the delegates to look at the extent of impact a Personal Learning Network can do to a school librarian and its effects on the school library he/she works in. We have always talked about improving our school libraries. It is time to focus on personal and professional development because, school libraries will not grow if school librarians are not growing.

Ready for a workout?!
I also noticed the number of young school librarians in attendance. I wondered how many of them will stay as school librarians in the next ten years. Because, I have seen good school librarians quit the profession due to varied reasons. Again, this is an avenue for research. Oh! If only I have the time! Lastly, being with colleagues last week made me see hope. Hope for the profession. Hope for Philippine School Librarianship.

I am grateful to my own learning community, The Beacon Academy, for allowing me to be involved in my professional community. I am thankful for PASLI for sending me the invitation as early as February and assigning a topic they know I can handle well. In the middle of the three day conference, I asked myself why, despite the infection and stones, I continue to do this. Many reasons surface. But this one, I will say it here: I do it because it is my way of giving back to the profession who has given me so much!

Photo source: Thanks to Mae Pagatpatan Diesta and Rhodora Espiritu for the photos

Friday, April 22, 2016

PASLI 38th National Conference: Creating Professional Learning Network

PASLI 38th National Conference: Work Life Balance

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balance pasli38" target="_blank">Worklife balance pasli38 from <strong>Zarah Gagatiga

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Filipino Librarians: The BSE Library Science Majors of PNU Batch 1994 (Part 1)

I graduated with a bachelors degree in Secondary Education at the Philippine Normal University in 1994. I majored in Library Science and picked as many English courses as my electives. Thanks to the big change. 

It was in the first semester of my sophomore year when the big change happened. From a state college, PNC transformed into a state university. I didn't feel and witness any educational reform or changes within the university except for a slight increase in tuition and matriculation fees. I remember paying 500 Php for my tuition and matriculation fees during the second semester that year until the scholarship came in junior year. Other than this, it was the individual enlistment ala-UP that was the most memorable.  

We are missing nine classmates here: Andrea Arcilla De Guzman, Helen Aripol Advincula, Galddys Addatu Florendo, Rowena Domingo, Myraflor Mayo Velasquez, Elvira de Luna Regio, Abigail Calinisan, Lourdes Barros and Nelson Immaculata 

I had classes with my co-majors and got mixed with other education majors in my batch. Needless to say, the BSE Library Science majors of my batch remained a tight group and we got to know other education majors in the batch. Class discussions on the GE subjects were more exciting. Major subjects were intense and focused. I had time for curricular activities and college organizations. I had a love life.

What didn't change was the way our LS professors taught us. They were punctual and persevering; patient and committed. Despite budget cuts and limited resources, they tried and strived to give their best. 

Early on we all knew our LS group was a minority. But, we also knew that a job awaited us after graduation. I am proud to say that my batch had two honor students and all fifteen of us have kept jobs to this day.
May nagbago ba?
When six of us met for a mini-reunion, it was just like college. Some things never change. People don't really change. I have not seen my batch mates in years. But when we met last week, time and distance didn't matter. It was like we have seen each other the previous week!

Amabel Sibug is our moral compass. She is based in Jordan, working in the Pontifical Library there, and thanks to social media, she manages to keep in touch. As a Teresiana, we get to be prayed over by her every night. No wonder we all turned up well despite ourselves. Loy Danila, our class cum laude, has been steady and stable all these years. She is working in the records department of one of the top companies in Makati. Malou Banlaygas remains to be a student of life. After years of working in a university library, she is still learning so much about life and love. 

Maji Dizon Dalisay, after her stint as university librarian in one of the top universities in Pampanga decided to become a full time mom. She is raising three lovely daughters and keeping home with her husband. That's a full time job to reckon. The choice of family life is worth it. Mean Jimenez Salvador is now pursuing a PhD and is continuing what her artist husband, Lirio Salvador, has started, a museum and art center in Cavite.

A journey is more meaningful with friends whom you can walk beside with.
As for me, well, here I am. Still telling stories.

Our mini-reunion was punctuated with a trekking expedition to Banal na Bundok, near the foot of Mt. Arayat. I don't know about them, but to me, it was an experience of going full circle. Was it only yesterday when we journeyed together in PNU? What were our battles then? How did college change us? How has life treated us? How did we respond? What are we now? Who are we? Who am I among my peers and friends?

I am proud to have walked with these wonderful people in my younger years. Now that we have achieved a little bit of something for ourselves, not just the job or the degree, but the knowledge that there exists goodness in the universe, I can say that I have never been alone. I have always belonged.

I went home that night feeling so blessed. I have nothing else to give the profession who made me who I am today but myself.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

MUNPARLAS: On Mentoring and Being Mentored

With Ann Grace Bansig and Marivic Silence
I have to hand it to MUNPARLAS, the little library organisation that could, and can! It has once again successfully concluded a summer conference in Capas, Tarlac last April 7-8, 2016. The Mt. Pinatubo trekking did not push through, but participants and its officers went home happy, energised with the friendships they have forged with old and new ones, inspired to carry on despite the challenges that face Filipino Librarians today.

This is not the first time that MUNPARLAS has invited me to give a talk and workshop. Back in 2012, I gave a talk on reading promotions and from then on, they have "patronised" me. For the past five years, I think I have done, four or five talks, lectures and workshops with them on K-12, Information Literacy, Objectives Based Education, Bibliotherapy and the recent one which is the Library Customer Journey Map. Always, they are grateful for my presence and for my participation as resource speaker and workshop facilitator. I am humbled by this.

I am just as grateful -- and more!

The recent MUNPARLAS Conference focused on the themes of mentoring and coaching and the challenges that LIS professionals face in this day and age. While I was "packaged" and promoted as a mentor to younger LIS professionals and as a coach to colleagues, I have to admit that MUNPARLAS is one of the many associations in Philippine Librarianship today who continuously mentors me. The officers of MUNPARLAS have given me topics I am very confident in doing and comfortable enough to explore on. I feel the organisation's respect in me and their belief that I can develop new ideas and content. In fact, I am going to apply the topic I presented at the conference in my school library. It is an exciting endeavour! What an amazing way to grow professionally!

Another good thing that I noticed is the continued nurturing of its members and the setting up pathways for them to become the next leaders of MUNPARLAS. The current set of officers is very promising. From the looks of it, they are ready to take MUNPARLAS to the next level, if not, probably deeper into developing skills, talents and collegial relationships among its officers, advisers and members.

Participants, mentors and coaches of the 2016 MUNPARLAS Conference
Congratulations to Ann Grace Bansig for a job well done being its President for the past three years! To Marivic Selencio, who will be leading MUNPARLAS into greater heights and exciting adventures, you have my support. To its committed officers, good luck and more power!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Teaching Teens Research: Research as Thinking and Visualizing Information

My rough draft of the Hourglass framework
I like converting information and concepts into visuals. Big ideas can be understood better when presented and communicated into shapes, images and graphics. Also, I find the whole exercise of conversion as highly creative. It's fun.

My last two posts on the research model shows it as an hourglass. The first visual  shows the idea that research is a process. The second one has the Facets of Research by Wilison and O'Regan (2007). Both visuals represent the idea that research is thinking. A thought process.

The kind of thinking that comes into play in research is similar to an hourglass where the researcher begins with macro thinking. Looking at broader concepts and then, narrowing into specifics to tighten ideas that answer the research question and leading to an agreement, an amplification of the thesis statement, if not, then an application of findings into global and real world examples. For high school students, their first foray into research can be an overwhelming experience. Research is, after all, made up of global and unitary skills. It's complicated. 

What teachers and school librarians can do to help teenagers is to pare the global skills into sub-units and put together the units into one big, global thought process. School librarians who are not as involved as teachers in teaching and instruction still have a role to contribute by suggesting and recommending websites and resources in designing visuals and infographic and customizing graphic organizers. So, I am sharing what I discovered online. Here are web apps for designing texts into easy to understand visuals and sites where teachers and students can make amazing infographics.

I will start with my favorites. For infographics, head on to and Infogram. For e-posters, look at Canva and Thinglink for interactive boards using photos as platform or information base. I have used Thinglink several times in book promotions and library campaigns.

Here are the new ones I discovered along the way. Haiku Deck is a presentation app like Prezi, except for the magnifying feature of the latter. For the use of graphic organizers to visualize ideas, head on to Creately.

Visualizing texts and ideas can be a lot of fun. Indirectly, when done on a regular basis, it is a study skill that promotes critical thinking, creativity and metacognition. With the use of web apps, technology has upped the notch of developing the said skills.  
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