Sunday, October 28, 2018

Author Talk at Domuschola International School

It was a pleasant surprise when Herbel Santiago, Filipino teacher of grades 11-12 in Domuschola, an IB World School, sent me an invitation for an author visit in their school. She used one of my stories, A Tale of Two Dreams (Lampara Books, Gagatiga and Solina-Wolf 2012) as text in her Filipino A class. This means, she made her studens read the story as an exercise in understanding the literary perspectives found in the text. This is a priming technique that teachers use to help students in developing critical analysis and comprehension of multiple viewpoints. And this is where my surprise came from. 

I didn’t expect an IB teacher would choose the story and the book we made! What an honor! Ms. Santiago said in our chat when I asked her
on the choice of story that, “as a teacher,  I value the ability of the book to offer two differing perspectives about various ways to fulfill one's dreams. I think that despite the simplicity of the language,  the message is profound and relevant.”

And so, to complete the learning experience for her students, I went to Domuschola to meet them all in person. My talk was for their MYP and DP students and in one full hour, I shared with them my creative process in writing A Tale of Two Dreams; that book making is an industry; that making books is a collaborative endeavor. I also emphasized the literary troupes, representation of Indigenous Groups, genre and format I considered and used for the story. 

The students were curious and perceptive. The teachers I met that day were young and vibrant. I met Aris Amor, a former student in Xavier School who teaches English and TOK in the MYP and DP. Small world! Aris has grown tall and stocky. He is a very different kid from the time I knew him in Xavier. But, he remains sensitive and insightful.

After my talk, Ms. Santiago showed me the works of her students, particularly an essay that analysed the theme of  ambition in A Tale of Dreams. I was impressed at the way the student handled the language and the analysis on the characters’ pursuancr of their dreams. It is always a humbling experience for me to get responses from readers. Be it positive or negative, I appreciate hearing from my readers.

This visit and talk is a completion of a cycle for me as author, teacher and librarian. It is a wonderful experience to be a part of the learning journey of students. It is a pleasure to partake in conversations with teachers that focus on students’ response to text, media and technology. I am glad to be able to go outside our campus in BiƱan and even more grateful to have the school’s support to continuously grow in my chosen profession.

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