Archive for the ‘Academics’ Category


The Internet or the World Wide Web began with the ARPANET technology in the 1970s (general knowledge needs no citation).  Through this technology many innovations have sprung, creativity flourished, knowledge expanded and individuals in every part of the world were able to communicate – unrestricted by any legislation in a geopolitical system (blogger’s opinion, check with Turn It In for indicators of plagiariasm).

End-users, producers, web developers and everyone has benefited with technology (blogger’s gut feel, can be substantiated by others’ observation), without a cybercrime law institutionalized. Netizens operate under private individual – private business agreements (check any Wiki if you need citation, this is the blogger’s educated guess). Users were not inhibited to present themselves as private individuals in a public domain.

Domains are owned by the website operators – private companies, organizations and individuals who have business  or public service interests. They depend on the traffic flow which refers to the number of users accessing the sites. From the user’s traffic, they gain profit directly or indirectly through shares and advertisements. The more traffic they get over time, the higher the company’s net worth becomes.

With a cybercrime law in effect (not necessarily in the Philippines, because the law is not limited to this country alone), when the provisions are rather broad and terms are not specific, and when its provisions contradict the basic right to freedom of expression, netizens within a geopolitical system become restrained. They are prevented in one way or another to exercise their right using information communication technology.  That itself interferes in the natural system of communication for digital natives in the virtual world. (the rest of the paragraph are the blogger’s opinion, no malicious intent, but mere critical thinking)

If the latter is an acceptable truth, then the law itself must be punished by its own letters, for it caused system interference. Systems in the virtual world are creations of private individuals, corporations and businesses, worldwide. The system is composed of nodes that communicate freely, and actively. (Check the Internet Traffic for this)  Does a country’s legislative mandate cover the whole world, when it strikes on the World Wide Web? Is there anything higher than the statutory law?  (these are products of the blogger’s critical thinking, like many other political individuals jailed their minds were never imprisoned).

Freedom is essential in a democracy. In a democratic environment where freedom resides, reasoning flourish and the society gains from it. Freedom is not absolute, like one can not steal anything from another. Taking someone’s ideas and making it one’s own is plagiarism, but plagiarism is not like that of stealing . Plagiarism is a rather moral issue, only law of conscientiousness and the value for individual integrity can pacify it. Fact, (general truth) even with Intellectual Property Rights Law, plagiarism has been rampant, not only in the academe, in the business industry, but even in politics.

Thinking again, the blogger of this site could not blog so well (blogger’s opinion, needs no citation), because of the law and not because of his passion to blog. Picture is taken from the net from PIFA which freely gives the rights to anyone to post it and repost it. By the way, the Internet does not only operate with copyright protection, there are many other resources operating on Copyleft system (from IEEE, 2010 conference). The blogger apologizes for the inconvenience of using parenthetical notes, when in fact, mostly everything included in this post were his ideas which are product of critical and free thinking. Should he be in jail for any malicious interpretation of any reader, please visit him sometimes.


Quote“In the new context, organizational leaders are willingly, even enthusiastically, followed not because of unconscious attachments (although these never fully disappear) but because they are good role models who articulate meaningful purpose, are transparent in their communications, encourage dialogue and truth-telling, and treat people as colleagues, collaborators rather than subordinates” (Maccoby, 2007, p. 14).

Leaders are composed of people of character who have influence to motivate other people regardless of ranks or status into action towards the common good. In the organizational hierarchy they sit in established positions that allow them to function with powers to influence others towards the directions the company has to make.  Structurally, as to the authority and function they hold, leaders are identified as the frontline supervisors, middle managers and top executives of the company.

Leadership is a social construct, it is meaningful to people in various ways, as people may differ in their perspective about leadership. However, leadership comes in human form, in the bodies of the leaders who demonstrate significant traits that people in turn attribute to leadership. Character, power, authority, influence, action, following, position, and mind and vision are eight key concepts that most people commonly associate to leadership:

  1. Leaders are people of character – they are persons with individual intricacies, peculiar traits, values and virtues. They are humans as anyone else capable of feeling and expressing their emotions, and they too have inequities. They are creatures of habit, which people identify with aside from what can be perceived from their physical attributes. They operate according to the standards they ascribed to and so weigh things out according to the worth they give them. They are expected to demonstrate positive character according to the norms of social behavior; with integrity, honesty, credibility, trustworthiness, justice and professionalism.
  2. Leaders have power at their disposal– the leaders’ power may be proscribed, ascribed or prescribed. In management, power is the potential to allocate resources and to make and enforce decisions (Harvard Business Essentials, 2005). This potential to manage resources and compel people to action to meet organizational goals is primarily warranted by the authority that goes with the leader’s functions. Such power is prescribed by the policy and the virtue of the position in the organizational hierarchy. The other source of power is ascribed, and this comes from what the followers risk and put at stake and given to their leader. The third source of power is proscribed, and this does not really need authority or position, but it exerts influence over other people because the leader’s virtue, wisdom and personality.
  3. Leaders are figures of authority – leaders are images and they have images to maintain to be functional in their position. People follow and have need for leaders because the images of the parents who keep control and assert authority over their children are transferred on them (Lipman-Blumen, 2005). Followers pattern their behavior as to that of their leaders who become their role models. As figures of authority, with prescribed power, they have control over people under their position. The leaders’ image is reflective of their character, habits and worldviews. Followers configure the image of their leaders as to what the latter demonstrates to them, and with whatever they are knowledgeable of their leaders.
  4. Leaders have influence – leaders work with people whom they need to motivate, and only those who can motivate without coercion have potential influence. Influence is not forced on a group of people, rather the people look up to the leaders as a resource person who value human relationships and add value to their people (Maxwell, 2009). Leaders use their power to change behavior or attitudes, without exerting force, compulsion or direct command; it is a two-way process where the leader allows the influence of others to influence them (Harvard Business Essentials, 2005).  Ideally, leaders with great influence are the types of institutional managers who use power in the most effective and ethical way to achieve organization goals while working well with and charismatically motivating others.
  5. Leaders act and enable others to act – leaders are responsible as sources or agents of something; they have initiative and commitment to act even without the guidance of a superior (Williams, 2005). As catalyst of change, they labor by both thinking and doing to enable others to act. They are role models in their decisions and actions. They lead by example, a good example in their thoughts, words and deeds. To achieve something, they need to do something. Upon taking some time to think, reflect and plan their actions, they roll their sleeves and get things done according to the plans. They don’t stay inert or passive, instead they think proactively by working together with others to achieve their aims.
  6. Leaders are followed by people – Leaders are not leaders at all without followers; that is when they cannot motivate people to act. The subordinates of a leader may do things as expected because of their own commitment to their work functions and positions, but not necessarily because of the influence of the leader. People follow leaders because of transference which is a psychological concept pertaining to the ideation of parental figures and a better character (Maccoby, 2007; Lipman-Blumen, 2005).  When leaders fail to meet the expectations of either of their superior or their subordinates, they lose following.Because people look up to the leaders they follow, leaders should maintain their character and hold responsbility and accountability over their positions.
  7. Leaders function according to their position – in their position, leaders are instruments of power, with authority to use that to achieve organizational goals; they assess situations to resolve existing problems (Williams, 2005).  The power to lead goes with the position, but that power serves the purpose of allocating resources and to enforce decisions, but the success of the leader in his position depends on others (Harvard Business Essentials, 2005).  Positions place managers to lead people, they subscribe to the tasks defined and authorized for them. However, to function effectively in their position they need to develop the right bonds and relationships and to persuade others.
  8. Leaders have both mind and vision – Most successful leaders have inner motivations for growth and development with others in their mind, and power orientation characterized of being fair, just, democratic, yet they see themselves as a source of power – as institutional leaders (Burnham, 2002).  The mind of an institutional leader reflects that of a winner’s mindset, that is putting others in winning position equal to that of the leaders themselves. Leaders are highly effective people who know themselves and see the bigger picture of what they want to achieve, as they begin with the end in mind and seek to inspire others with their voice (Covey, 2004).

Character, power, authority, influence, action, following, and position are key concepts associated with people’s constructs of leadership. But leadership is contextualized, that one leader of a field, department, organization or industry may not be as good as he or she is in another place and time. Michael Maccoby’s assertions on contextualized leadership emphasize the need to reflect on how we come to understand the concept of leadership that influences us to act on our function as a leader and as a follower (2007). That, in the fast moving and dynamic changes in the socio-cultural milieus we experience, we can adapt to the leadership challenge.

 

Readings:

Burnham, D. H. (2002). Inside the Mind of the World Class Leader. Retrieved April 9, 2012, from Burnhamrosen.com: http://www.burnhamrosen.com/articles/Inside_the_Mind.pdf

Covey, S. R. (2004). 8th Habit of Highly Effective People. New York: Free Press.

Harvard Business Essentials. (2005). Power, Influence and Persuasion. Boston: Harvard University.

Lipman-Blumen, J. (2005). The Allure of Toxic Leaders. Oxfor, NY: Oxford University Press.

Maccoby, M. (2007). The leaders we need, and what makes us follow. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Maxwell, J. C. (2009). The Gift of Leadership (Book 2). Manila, Philippines: Salt & Light Ventures Inc.

Williams, D. (2005). Real Leadership: Helping People and Organizations Face their Toughest Challenges. San Francisco, CA: Berret-Koehler Publishers.


The philosopher and pedagogist, John Dewey, once emphasized that for education to be constructive for the society: it must not alienate the student in its processes. That means it must be authentic and grounded on the real-life experiences of the students. Chomsky establishes that language is not limited to the verbal structures, there are other symbolic means to represent the world which has impact into the learning processes of the individuals. Learning is a complex cultural, social, psychological and biological process, and the dominant world language is not the only medium for learning.

Vygotsky defines learning as a permanent behavioral change in an individual and this takes place with the nurturing supervision of a mature adult to scaffold a learner from the current development to a more competent state. Freire argues that genuine education that is emancipatory is grounded in the cultural context – in the lived cultural experiences of individuals in a geopolotical system. Bandura establishes that learning takes place in social interactions – in our connection to the social world and everything in our environment. These philosophical and theoritical assumptions on learning establish the empirical bases to consider that education is adaptive to the social, cultural, psychological and biological nature of the learner, where the language that fits education is not reduced to a single dominant language.

Language is a vehicle of communication. Education which is all about teaching and learning is a communicative process. It is axiomatic that for teaching and learning to take place that language is used in the interaction between the pedagagouge and the learner. But learning is not simply about the interaction of the learner and the teacher. The learner must be engaged with other elements in the process, such as books, realia objects, environment, cultural artifacts, tools and technology. In these interactions, mastery of specific language is required for the learner to have a grasp of the learning concepts.

English is a language, and so are Filipino, French, German, Nihonggo, Mandarin, Latin, Arabic and the many others. The Filipino language which is a cultural artifact does not carry a value higher or lower than any other language, because culture is a rich and neutral matrix of values. Should teaching then be confined to the use of English languge when not every student is adept with it? Or should teaching be more flexible to adapt a language that is understood by most? But, how about the existing social expectations of the larger community about the language of the educated person?

This is a dilemma for a country which operates with a largely Western orientation about education. An effective curriculum should adress, foremost the learning needs, secondly the society’s needs and lastly serve the institutional dictum. When students raise the need for understanding, language must be adjusted to their level so that discursive interaction may take place. When the society and the industry demand for graduates with very high English language proficiency, the curriculum must provide the mechanisms and programs for that. What is the language of business? What degree of proficiency in that language of business is needed? The institution must adjust the curriculum to both the learner’s needs and the society’s needs.

Learning should be authentic, that it should adress societal needs. At least, within a framework of the universty as a manufacturing stage to produce qualified resources for capitalistic labor, higher education should match their graduate attributes to industrial needs to make their products more employable. In culturally-based frameworks of education, Paolo Freire argues that it should be emancipatory. Education must be liberating for the learners, moving the students from ignorance to knowing, from passivity to taking actions to better their causes.

 

A learner’s ineptitude or lack of proficiency in one language can be delibitating. That is true in cases when language is so foreign or alien to the learner. To learn better, the student needs to be more adept with the language. One who is not just good in English will be challenged as they are at risk of not understanding anything in a largely English based curriculum. That learner needs to proficiency in reading and speaking the required language to participate in the active process of academic discourse. But, is English the only medium of instruction? Is English the language of economic production? Is English the only language the industry speaks? Is English the language of liberty and progress? Is it the language of the Filipino’s daily life?

The issue of language in Philippine Education has long been debated upon. There are those who think it should be English. Others think it should be Filipino. Some others think it should be bilingual. There are various perspectives. Theoretically though, there is not one specific language for Education. For if this is so, the world’s education will have common language of instruction. English proficiency is not a language of social status, it is just another language among the many others. The best language of learning is one that changes the behavior of learners, which turns them to become vital contributors to the development of our society.


* A reflective discourse originally presented by the blogger to Dr. R. Guioguio for the requirement in a post-graduate course on Philippine Communication Environment, University of the Philippines-Diliman, 2010. Permission for reprinting is granted as long as proper citation is observed, according to the principle of creative commons’ sharing of online resources.

Climate change is a major environmental problem that represents social and economic threats to everyone in the globe. Risks have become higher as the potential danger of natural disasters looms to almost unmanageable extent – longer periods of rain, harsher storms, prolonged dry spells, extreme heat and cold temperatures, more frequent hot days and nights, flash floods, forest fires, rising sea level, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and the warming global temperature are among the many signs that “mother earth” is now ringing a sick call to all her children.

The peril resulting from climate change is no way particular to creed, wealth, faith, age, gender, race or color. It spares no one. The ecology of all things in the world suggests that every creature will experience the impact of climate change.

Climate change is a global concern, but it has impact which is specific to communities and sectoral groups. The problem is too broad to manage for a sector, yet there are enormous possibilities for a sector to contribute to its resolution; at least for their own adaptation, to mitigate climate change impact and to sustain community-base development. The indigenous are communities of people who contributed the least to the problem of climate change, but they are not spared from its impact. Economically and socially marginalized, the indigenous far greatly suffer from the impact of climate change and to international mitigation measures.

What is the potential impact of climate change to the indigenous people? What are  the existing and needed adaptation means to climate change specific to sustain survival and livelihood of the indigenous? How important is a communication framework in climate change impact mitigation for the indigenous people? These questions call for some reflective thinking.

Impact of Climate Change to the Indigenous People

Climate change has an impact in the culture, communities, resources, knowledge and the livelihood of people.  For the indigenous people contemporary climate change poses great challenges, unlike with that of the climate change that their predecessors have overcome from since prehistory. The alarming impact of climate change is now experienced by these vulnerable people at a global scale, yet scientific data warns of what is worst to come. Officially, the National Commission on Indigenous People of the Philippines (2003) reports that 110 ethnolinguistic groups are to be found in the country and they number to 8,067,100:

Subsistence of the indigenous people is much dependent on the biodiversity and their environment. These make them more vulnerable in light of the impact of climate change in their habitats and to their cultural identity relative to: being dislocated because of the disruption of subsistence; facing threats to their lives, health and properties; declining and losing biodiversity and the confronting environmental forces that damage their crops; having inadequate knowledge about issues on climate change; and being challenged by their limited economic means and the lack of skills for alternative livelihood.

Those five concerns confront the already marginalized IP groups and make them even more vulnerable to the impact of climate change. The indigenous groups comprise a relatively small size of the Philippine population, like 10% or even lesser. The NCIPP 2003 data indicates a disparity in the IP population as compared to its 1998 estimation of the IP population which was around 12 to 15 million.

The issue of climate change has been around since the 1990s. How climate change contributed to this decline of IP population and how it impacts their lives have not been examined empirically. The issues of IP sector has long been a struggle for their rights to habitat and their cultural identity (Molintas, 2004).

 “Vulnerability is the degree to which a system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes. Vulnerability is a function of the character, magnitude, and rate of climate change and variation to which a system is exposed, its sensitivity, and its adaptive capacity” (IPCC, 2007).

The indigenous people comprise the minority of the Philippine population. Perhaps, they are the most vulnerable of all people to the impact of climate change. They belong to a culture – which social and economic subsistence are inextricably and directly linked to the natural environment. Climate change has a direct impact to the biodiversity of their lands and habitats. The Filipino IPs live in the hinterlands, hilltops, mountain tops, by the sea and lake waters and in small islands.

These structures in the ecosystem are vulnerable to climate change. Harsh storms can cause  landslides, severe drought suck up the lake water, change in global temperature affects the biodiversity and even the marine life. Where they dwell are freshwater resources, so prone to vector-borne diseases. These impacts of climate change exacerbate the vulnerability of the indigenous people because they are the inhabitants of marginal ecosystems.

The indigenous people are direct descendants of nature and they have performed so well throughout history as stewards of the environment. Their communion with nature brought them resiliency and adaptive skills. Being residents of a marginal ecosystem, they do not have access to information and education that can equip them with adequate knowledge about the issues of climate change. Economically, they rely on their crops and livestock as for those groups which have advanced their agricultural skills. For those groups which still rely on hunting, the loss of biodiversity or its decline would have impact to their food security and livelihood.

The challenges of climate change are nothing old, that even science which claims to possess the knowledge of nature is baffled by the perplexing magnitude and potential impact of this environmental problem. It has become evident that climate change brought enormous concerns both to the contemporary postmodern world and to the indigenous people. The threats of economic development are becoming more evident in the changes in the world’s climate, leaving the IPs in more danger.

Climate Change Adaptation and Impact Mitigation

Like any group of people, the indigenous are trying to adapt to the impact of climate of change. The way the indigenous adapts to immediate environmental changes based on their culture, traditions and community decisions. To go on with their lives, adaptation is basic in this situation. Some IPs deal with the situation as a community, but others resort to push through with their individual choices by abandoning their culture.

Migration and relocation – There are direct links to connect the migration issues of several indigenous groups in the Philippines to social order and economic situations. Theoretically, in an environment where there is economic sufficiency and social order, people continue to thrive. Livelihood that relies on farming, fishing or hunting is affected by climate change which results to decline in crops, livestock and catches. Hence, it becomes an adaptation option for IPs to migrate or relocate to other areas.

Fajardo (2007) pointed to the loss of livelihood and mining development projects as some of the issues that push IPs to migrate or relocate, and described this diaspora to cause further impact on IPs’ affect. The movement of one community to other locations is a sign of migration and relocation. After the Pinatubo eruption, the Aetas of Zambales have decided to settle in other communities.  However, IP members sometime resort to individual disenfranchisement or abandonment of their community.

Individualism and abandonment – Fajardo (2007) reported on the individual members of IPs forced by poverty to abandon their natural habitation, either as a family or as an individual as they relocate to other places in or outside the country. Since they settle in isolated marginal ecosystems, those community members who are not able to sustain their basic needs in their environment are left to take the option of moving out and integrating to urban areas.

Sporadically, some members of the indigenous community roam the streets of urban cities as beggars and mendicants. Whether their presence in these places is syndicated or not, it can still be understood, that the decision for them to abandon their community for some amount of money was still individual decision. Government efforts in the guise of development had displaced the indigenous from their own land (Molintas, 2004). Given this condition, some indigenous people have no other option but to abandon their culture in exchange for some amount, while others relocate and persist.

Resourcefulness to find alternative livelihood – The indigenous people, dwelling in the rainforest, are more often hunters and gatherers. However, the impact of climate change to the biodiversity of the forest would have an effect on their food subsistence. Most of these hunting and gathering forest people have gradually adapted to an agricultural economy and are becoming semi-sedintary (Macchi, 2008).

Resourcefulness is a must to find an alternative livelihood for their survival and subsistence. Change in climatic conditions allowed for some indigenous to adapt new or alternative techniques (Salick & Byg, 2007). With limited resources, i.e. food catch, crops and hunts, some indigenous resort to making crafts or gathering items from their natural environment to be sold in nearest market.

Traditional wisdom – The traditional knowledge of the indigenous people about the diversity of species, their habitats, behaviors, and their traditional ways of managing and protecting natural resources allow them to have a sustainable relationship with the environment upon which we all ultimately depend for our welfare and survival (Carino, n.d). Their exceptional culture demonstrates the harmonious relationship of the Ivatan people with their environment as a means of surviving and coping with these various ecological stresses (Uy & Shaw, 2000).

Indigenous knowledge about climate change is not parallel to what science has inquired about. There are cases that the indigenous people attribute the changes in climate to something else, like the “wind,” or to modernity and development, or a supernatural force because the land has been violated. This reflects the need for correcting misconceptions about climate change.

Resiliency and concession – in times of crises some IPs obtain food and other necessities from external sources (Salick & Byg, 2007). In this way, the IPs demonstrate resiliency by modes exchange with non-IPs. They do this by trading their surplus products, handicrafts, forest products, wage labor and other goods.   “Indigenous peoples of the Philippines have preserved many of their own customary practices, traditions and livelihood and resource systems, showing great resilience against centuries of foreign domination and their exposures to lowland and market influences” (Rebuelta-Teh, 2004, p.87).

The Ivatans of the Batanes province are an illustration of indigenous resiliency, over harsh weather conditions, by applying traditional knowledge in their architectural landscape and in the sensitivity to weather patterns. The adaptation of the indigenous people does not mean to be all best practices that can help in mitigating the impact of climate change.

The rate of growth in net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is a critical issue in the Philippines, and therefore managing the country’s natural resources wisely to protect their supply and quality and to maintain their diversity is critical for sustained economic growth (USAID, 2008). Since, they are marginalized economically and live in a marginal ecosystem, pressed with land rights issues; they are thinly focused on fulfilling their role as stewards of the environment. Somehow, their mindset is too politicized to pay attention to the issue of climate change, while they crumble to find food.

Climate Change Communication

“While Climate change is a threat to humanity as a whole, the report indicates that it is the poor – a constituency with no responsibility for the ecological debt that the world is running up – who face the most immediate and most severe human costs in climate change” Malayang (2008).

In his view, Manalang  may not represent the academe nor the university where he is the president. This opinion is highly political. Yet it is true, it does not encourage communitarian effort to mitigate the impact of climate change. Instead, such views prevent public participation, reducing the issue of climate change as a political struggle and a diplomatic feat.

This is the very same view that leaders or representatives of IP organizations declare, voicing out that the IPs have not left footprints that adversely affected climate change, yet they suffer from international pressures to reforest their lands with trees not even endemic to their environment. They say that the development f renewable energy resources and planting crops that can be used for making bio-diesel displace them from their land. Such views are critical to a communitarian effort on climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Science and the public do not speak the same language about climate change. This knowledge or information gap is a result of the differences between the ways scientist and non-scientist inquire and communicate about environmental problems. Chalecki believes that “If impact assessments were more closely related to issues of public interest, the links between individual behavior and global changes in the environment might become more apparent, and public frustration over environmental issues might be transformed into environmentally responsible actions(2000, A2-15). In this concern, communication has a role to bridge the gap in knowledge, to translate scientific information into useful knowledge, and to reach the public who will act on the problem.

Human-induced climate change is a product of the cumulative impacts of billions of people going about their daily lives; and the challenges that go by this point to the scale of the issue requiring unprecedented cooperation, while there may be a sense of helplessness for the individuals faced with other important and competing issues (Andrey & Mortsch, 2000). Communicating the climate change issue requires the imparting of information to fulfill three expectations: 1) to raise awareness; 2) to confer understanding; and 3) to motivate action (CCCC, 2000). Communication is essential to facilitate the delivery of climate change communication, reinforce adaptation skills and address mitigation issues.

Climate change communication must be sector-specific, yet still focusing on three key concepts – impact, adaptation and mitigation. It is audience-centered, so it must be contextualized within cultural boundaries of a community or sector. It is not ambitious and it cannot stop global warming. It is neither a panacea to prevailing environmental problems. It has a pivotal role to turn things around particularly in the aspect of correcting wrong perceptions, changing attitudes, creating public awareness, processing knowledge, transforming behavior, developing skills, integrating technology and instituting new practices. It is a vital social action to coordinate individuals and group into cooperative eco-sensitive actions.

Communication Framework to Address the Challenges of Climate Change and Development

Figure 1  illustrates a framework for communicating climate change to the indigenous. It considers a cultural framework in organizing an active network of community members by using the available indigenous cost-efficient resources, integrating knowledge-management strategies, skills development and technology integration. The framework emphasizes social justice in helping IPs adapt and mitigate the impact of climate change while integrating it with a community and sectoral development perspectives.

 

References

Andrey, J., & Mortsch, L. (2000). Communicating About Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities, WP 1-11. In Climate Change Communication Conference. Proceedings of an international conference. June 22-24, 2000. Ontario, Canada.

Chalecky, E. (2000).  Same Planet, Different Worlds: The Climate Change Information Gap. A2 15-22. In Climate Change Communication
Conference. Proceedings of an international conference. June 22-24, 2000. Ontario, Canada.

Climate Change Communication Conference (2000). Message from the organizing committee. In Climate Change Communication Conference. Proceedings of an international conference. June 22-24, 2000. Ontario, Canada.

Fajardo, R. (July 25, 2007) Still strangers in their own land. Posted in I-report Alien Nation. Retrieved on February 28, 2010 from
http://pcij.org/stories/still-strangers-in-their-own-land/

Macchi, M. (2008). Indigenous and traditional peoples and climate change. Issues paper. IUCN.

Malayang, B.S. III. (2008) Quoted in Mitigation and Adaptation recommended to address effects of climate change on human development. Retrieved on March 4, 2010 from http://www.undp.org.ph/?link=news&news_id=128&fa=

Molintas, J.M. (2004). The Philippine indigenous peoples’ struggle for land and life: Challenging legal texts. Arizona Journal of International & Comparative Law 21(1), 269-306.

National Commission on Indigenous People (2003). IP group profiles. Retrieved on March 1, 2010 from http://www.ncip.gov.ph/ethno.php

Rebuelta-Teh, A. (2004). Philippines: Governance and local empowerment in the environment and natural resources sector. Background papers, pp. 85- 92.

Salick, J. & Byg, A. (2007). Indigenous peoples and climate change. Oxford: Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

USAID-Philippines (May, 2008). Global climate change.

Uy, R. & Shaw, R. (2000). Shaped by the winds and typhoon: The indigenous knowledge of the Ivatans, in Batanes Island,
Philippines.
In Indigenous Knowledge for Disaster Risk Reduction: Good practices and lessons learned from experiences in Asia-Pacific Region,  pp.59-62. UN-International Strategy Disaster Reduction.


Spelling errors, problems in choice of words, ineffective styles, wrong use of punctuations, poor coordination of ideas, subject-agreement problems, wrong use of verb tenses… the list of evident problematic language use is a taxonomy of both human inadequacy in the use of langauge and the issues of language curriculum perspectives. There are three dominant concepts in English language instruction that are applied in the teaching of English as Second Language, English as Foreign Language or English to Speakers of Other Languages: prescriptive, restrictive and generative paradigms.

It has been a dominant perspective to teach English with emphasis on the grammatical aspect of the language. This traditional approach has had a rich history in the Western educational paradigm. That students were instructed grammar in order to master the language. The rigid rules of language, its syntax, semantics, diction, and other aspects were like transferred to students through remote memorization and practice into writing. Here, students should be able to demonstrate mastery of the rules evident in their use of the language in speech and writing, and measured through their recall of the rules. The prescriptive paradigm of language teaching and learning emphasizes on the consistency of adherence to the rules in the use of language. Thus, the prescriptive paradigm addresses the need for learning the rules of language and applying them in various communication situations.

The other paradigm emphasises a communicative approach to language teaching and learning. This implies that language is a tool for communication, and communication seeks understanding. When there is understanding between communicating agents, language does not matter much anymore. Because language is generative, changes take place in various contexts. Hence, with a generative paradigm on language teaching, learning is contextualized by exposing students into communicative actions, whole language approaches so students will learn, value and use of language more effectively to achieve understanding.

Both the generative and prescriptive paradigms on language teaching can work interdependently. While it is true that language is generative, it is not static or fixed, in the time continuum and within spatial bounds, language use will be vary. But, even communication theories suggest that there are rules in the discourse processes and there are principles in it. One tension point is using a specific ground or criteria for comparison in use of language. There are englishes and not just English in the world.

Between British and Americans who are native speakers of the language are great differences. Compare these native white speakers to other English-speaking countries in Canada and Australia, differences are still noticeable. Moreso, with those of the African English speaking countries. World Englishes vary and change, and so generative. Thus, there is no one drop rule or prescription of language teaching. Critically, keeping an eye to evaluate one country’s use of English to either of British or that of the American’s is hegemonic.

When students could identify the parts of speech, identify the errors, identify the pattern of the sentence, identify the kinds of sentences and identify whatever should be memorized about language, that is teaching which is paralleled to students’ learning of the language. Paper and pencil tests answerable through multiple choices and fill in the blanks should measure language learning. This perspective can be construed as a restrictive paradigm. It results from the idolatrous tendency of language scholars to mimic language that is not native to other speakers of the language. Instead, of understanding a geopolotical system’s use of English and improve it from there, the generative value of language is degenerated to be a form of deficiency.

Such identification of inequity stereotypes non-native English speakers, and so those who find the mimicking convention way too difficult would just give up on increasing their level of proficiency. While others who show just a little mastery, though still imperfect tend to push the less fluent or struggling learner to the side, and so the latter ignores the value of learning the lingua franca, because they feel more confident to be understand when they don’t use the language at all.

Language is generative, there are historical and anthropological evidences to that. Shakespearan or Victorian English are obsolete in the context of modern day conversation, except for extracting meaning from classical literary texts. There are languages that have been extinguished from the tounges of the people. There are new words being coined and used, and they don’t even follow the orthodoxies of language convention. Should we then stick to the rules of language style from centuries past? How does such intention restrict the process of generating understanding on the generative development of human language?

Prescriptive approach to language teaching, still applies, but such conventions are now being questioned. Whose conventions are these anyway? Whose people are using this language convention? Whose culture and time are they representing? The distance of space and time where those conventions were collected as corpus of language use may not be so proximal after all to the present generation of learners. The gorge to be bridged will really be too wide and greatly impossible to help learners acquire a “perfectly modelled” proficiency as prescribed.

While language is generative, the epistemology of language must also be generative. Prescriptions of language usage need reexamination. But, such effort of examination must be grounded and adapted in contemporary context. The world now with its many englishes dwells in communication network, and the basic rule of this networked world is “understanding”. With this frame of thinking, who is not understanding? Is it the one learned of prescribed conventions or the one learned through the experiences of the generative language?

To illustrate this, one student who is very skillful in the use of computers could submit an original written work that is almost flawless of errors. But, the same student when writing with his hand, without the computer could express the same thoughts as he understood them and what was understood by the reader, enormously gross of spelling errors, punctuation errors and sentence structure errors. While tools are there, they must be used to where they can work best for a learner. The prescribed language conventions are also tools, but they also need upgrading and retuning.

In the illustration, the student’s problem is caused by several factors. The student has dyslexia. The student has spent most of his development years reading texts through the computer screen. The paper and the pen are strange and fragile tools for his fingers so agile clicking on the keyboard. Typing for this student is more of a breeze while his penmanship is hardly legible in its ‘crookedness’. The same student was taught to maximize technology with the many other assignments he had before, yet he is placed in foreignly inconvenient situation of working on paper and pencils without the tool he knows best.

The tool that the student knows has all the function keys to check his spelling errors, to look up the meaning of a word, to find a synonym or antonym for a word, to tell him of the sentence errors and options to correct them. Most of these are what teachers learned from the conventions of prescriptive language approaches have never encountered in their lives. Yet, the same teachers love to read the prints. The students create the prints and they can do that exceedingly well with the tools they grew up with. But, teachers will insist, they have to know and practice language withouth technology.

Again, the conventions of language is but just human technology. The time is here, where the reality of a paperless world is in the picture. But, many particularly those in the field of teaching are afraid to withdraw from. The directions for 21st century education must hold true in teaching the students new skills sets. They grew up with the technology, they know how to use it, and they are eager to discover more of it because it works productively for them. However, the tools that are available are restrictively used in language teaching. Language use is different from language in use, teaching language that used to be may not necessarily adapt to the language in use today.


What hope do we have for these children who will spend 12+ years of education?

While I wrote of the impact of K-12 on tertiary education in the Philippines, it is interesting to reexamine the positions I asserted and the suggestions I gave within the context of postcolonial world order and the promotion of national interest. Over the unnoticed dark cloud of hegemony in global education, Phillippine educators and advocates of nationalistic and culturally relevant education should be able to see the silver lining to provide the utmost quality of education for the Filipino students over the quantity of time spent in it the extended program across curriculum.

First, the Department of Education (DepEd) had made a sound and informed decision to adapt the K+12 program as an effort to align it to global standards. DepEd was able to clarify and justify this principled decision as to its costs and benefits to the government and the public, with a sound framework and rational perspectives. Local education stakeholders, then should commit their support to the program and to guard that its thrusts be realized as formulated. While the program framework guarantees to abide by the constituonal definition of  an educated Filipino, this interest must be strongly promoted and protected since the program is a willful subjection to existing hegemonoy in global education.

I am reading hegemony coming from a strong global emphasis on the number of years on basic education. The trend which resulted from the craftiness of countries of political and economic power imposes submission of other countries to some forms of international accords. In this situation, we have to restructure our educational system without abandoning national interest. Education that is emancipating for the people must be grounded in the context of our culture. Further, it should operate to achieve the ideals of our nation for our promotion and development, beyond that of fulfilling international requirement.

The other hegemony I sense results from ignorance  on such kind of development. Politically, the public has not been made so aware of the costs and benefits of implementing the K12 program. Except of standardization in the context of global competetiveness, nothing more is being communicated to the public. The DepEd is positive in its gradual implementation starting this school year, but teachers have to be made aware of what the curriculum is like. Foremost, this should have been set, but the K12 discussion paper does not tell this. On the first year of its gradual implementation, what is to be expected?

By principle, the K12 program is fine-tuning Philippine basic education. This will be done by declogging the curriculum that it will be made more relevant and authentic to help graduates in their preparation for work integration. Yet, the hegemony of ignorance is causing misunderstanding, lack of confidence and anxiety particularly among college educators. It seems that the idea of gradual implementation is slowing the momentum for education stakeholders to sit and plan the curriculum. Maybe they are doing what they have to do, but it’s just that the curriulum is not ironed out yet.

This hegemony of not being so informed about the K12’s implication to college education manifests in the teacher’s and administrator’s anxiety. The consultative assembly of college education stakeholders, organized by the Commission on Higher Education, has not come up with its analysis or framework for action. One idea is that some  “general education subjects in the college curriculum, may be transferred and integrated to the basic education curriculum”. Another idea is the tantamount consequence of K12 implementation to cause enrollment gap or lag for two years.

To allay the fears of college educators, strategic planning should anticipate and rule out implications as to the very principle of K12. If the program will be strictly implemented, the extended curriculum should not be moving down general education subjects from the higher education curriculum. This move contradicts the concept of “declogging” and “fine tuning”. Doing so is a double jeopardy for college education which in most case has a curriculum that is aligned to existing international standards. K12 challenges the basic education curriculum, but it has implications to college education.

The most obvious consequence would that be of the 2-year lag. I have discussed possible strategies for this in previous post. Before the impact, higher education can initiate offering pre-baccalaureate programs to give chance to those whose number of educational years are short to qualify globally. With such strategy, college education becomes more responsive to the global situation. However, providing pre-baccalaureate program demands a great deal of change in the higher education curriculum.

General education teachers will be affected. In providing pre-baccalaureate program, GenEd subjects will be moved to that. The next thing GenEd faculty should do is to create new program offerings for the revised college curriculum. This action will be for short term. The college general education curriculum may be reverted to its previous program or adapt the revised one. However, the decision should consider several concerns.

What the basic education curriculum, particularly on the last 2 years of high-school education, are comptency-based courses that have practical rather than theoretical context. It is not ideal to move the GenEd subjects in those years because it contradicats the very principle of declogging and fine tuning. The aim of K12 is to develop competent graduates, with skills and knowledge for them to engage in entrepreneurial endeavors or immideately land a job. The idea of having college GenEd subjects does not make sense at all, because GenEd subjects in college are preparatory for college academics reformulated to have value in lifelong learning and industry integration.

Now that K12 will be implimented coming this school year, participation in the decision making and planning must be heightened to include concerned. This is foremost done by breaking the hegemony of ignorance and non-disclosure of vital information. If we were far behind having lesser years of basic education, what then should we do is to look forward and beyond of what we used to give Filipino children and youth, right now for we have done this before.

K12 is a transformative challenge, we should all be accepting this challenge and working for its successful implementation.


What gets in the mouth is good, it is what gets out of it that can be evil.

Politics is a sphere that extends in the social world and which affects the psyche of an individual or groups. While politics is exercised in terms of power relations among individuals or groups, language plays in that communication of power and in the position of individuals in a social relationship.

The nominative function of language gives us an awareness of an existence, identity or attribute of beings in our social world. The performative function of language allows us to share meanings to the language or words that we use to refer to something, but these meanings that we intend to share are not exactly received and constructed by others as we expected them to be.

We understand things through language. We associate meanings to language through language. We add knowledge to the existing known things through language. We define who we are and who others are to us through language. In a system of deferral we create the world we live in and the realities in our lives through language. We are constructed with that system of the very language we use to identify ourselves.

The man-woman question represents the apostasy of humanity to mutually live in harmony. More so is the pejorative use of language to castrate individuals of their right to be identified as they wanted to be. These then puts language use in a political challenge, so we have terms that are politically correct and incorrect.

Language is socially agreed upon and understood by the individuals or groups sharing its use. The words and the meanings that go with every word become part of a culture’s lexicon and so it represents then for others an understanding of the culture of people using that language. As language is finite at a certain time, by deferral one is led to understand the deeper structures of a culture’s mind, wthin its limitations.

But language is generative, there are some terms that people find pejorative to be acceptable later on.  As it is generative, it can also be exclusive or inclusive. To a group of people, a term may be derogatory and so politically incorrect. We fail to understand people and so we subject them to remain powerless when we use pejorative terms that inflicts on thier identity.

For black people, they would not prefer to be called by people of other colors as negroes. The terms carries with it a historical stigma of the slavery and abuse of their rights as human beings.  They may be calling each other nigger or niggah, but that is performing an exclusive function of language that works for them to identify with each other.

Faggot is derogatory for many gays. Homo is not a casual term as well that they would accept. But then it depends on how it is said and said by whom. Between gays they may be using these in casual conversations, but of course they would not expect or prefer others to be yanking that word to their face, if it is coming from a chauvinist pig. Watch this video on how language is socially manipulated to affect power relations and soical interactions between people http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s13e12-the-f-word

In the Filipino language, bading is a more obvious acceptable and preferred term rather than bakla. Binabae which others refer to as iffeminate, suggest a weakness and incompleteness. Other terms that generate and used inclusively are vaklush, badingerzhi, and badaf or badafchina to refer to the same bakla. Girlalu and girlash  are terms interchangeably used to refer to girls and also Filipino gays. Pamin or paminta are terms interchanged with silahis or silahista to refer to discreet gays and self-proclaimed ‘bisexuals’.

The same case of identifying through language is how deaf poeple would like to be called Deaf with a capital D. As they associate with others they approve more of those who prefer to identify them as Deaf. They believe that having that hearing impairment does not make them any one lesser than others, in fact they do more with such inability to hear. Anyone would like to be identiified as a person and not through any disability.

We used to call people with neurological disorders or psychotic illnesses, psycho or pscyhopath, sometimes crazy or weird. The last two are lighter than be branded as pscyho. What is socially acceptable and politically correct is to refer to them as people or person with such illness (person with psychosis and not psychotic, or person with neurosis and not neurotic). A person is always different from his illness.

In the 1990s, Filipinos where outraged by Oxford’s inclusion of the word Filipina to refer to housemaids who migrated from the Philippines. With this attempt was the inclusion of the term imeldific to refer to grandeous and pompous lifestyle. Imelda Marcos approved of the latter as it signfies to her a prestige, but for the Filipinos the reference of the Filipina as a housemaid is a malicious imputation.

Societies demand propriety in using language. It is not to be abused or used wrongly to malign people, put them in bad light bywrongly identifying them with their illnesses, assumed inability, presumed difference from the norm and many other biases that could stereotype anyone. For all we know, we are all different, and the normal thing that we believe is but our construction of a reality that we created through language.

Language use is different from one culture to another. It is always considerable to adapt one’s use of language to the audience or others who are listening or reading one’s use of language. It is ethical to be mindful in using the language and preferring politically correct terms. In this way the speaker or the writer can win others approval.

The use of politically correct terms are not reserved for the political, but is an expected social behavior. People who understand the subtleties, complexities and implication of language use can expect to be always in social accord with anyone or any group. Simply because it is in that proper use of language that one builds social relationships. The latter may not demand to fill the other’s ears with flowery words, because beyond euphemism, consideration and courtesy will be enough.