Monday, August 24, 2009

From Jerry with Love

Personality is the ultimate key feature in top teachers

Jerry Sibanyoni, South Africa

In a study seeking to find top qualities of a good teacher, personality, leading miles ahead of other qualities, came up tops. The study of twenty nine top teachers from around the world aimed at unraveling the old age mystery about good teachers. Personal interviews on these teachers who come from literally all over the world were conducted in the cities of Baltimore and Washington DC, America.

In a surprising revelation, traditional values we have always associated with the teaching profession, such as appropriate dress code and ability to listen, trailed far behind.

“We are like actors”, offers Zakia Shufani, from Israel. Her words are echoed by Jake Jagos from Philippines, “A teacher should be an actor in class. He should be dynamic and students must find him fascinating and exciting. Don’t lecture; don’t appear ‘dead’ in class.” There is no doubt that a great personality plays a significant role in harnessing good class relations and thus effective teaching takes place.

“A good teacher should have the ability to improvise and should be interesting; a negative teacher yields negative results”, argues Andrea Sulyok from Hungary. Khaled Alhasanat from Palestine further reiterates the importance of good personality as a teacher, “Whether they like it or not, teachers are role models. Students will always imitate you. So, you have no choice, but to maintain a good reputation.”

Furthermore, Laura Bulloch from Scotland heightens the emphasis on personality. She observes that, “A teacher’s relationship with people in general is pivotal. A good teacher should have a positive attitude towards students and co-workers.” Adds Adnan Alawi of Bahrain, “A teacher’s personality can make or break a lesson or a child for that matter. Children should be able to respect you, but not necessarily fear you – there is a definite difference. Respect goes a long way. Teacher personality affects a child’s performance, both academically and in sport.”

Wahida Jafar from Bangladesh notes that teachers should accommodate students. They should stoop to the student’s level in order to bridge the gap that naturally exists between teacher and students. So the teacher’s personality should be of a flexible nature.” From India, Nusrath Sheriff renders, “A good teacher should be presentable, and should be conscious of her body language as this can speak volumes. When you deliver knowledge, do it with enthusiasm in order to be convincing to the learners; do not slump and then come across as a pessimist.”

“An understanding teacher should be able to put himself in the correct learner perspective; a teacher who does not overreact or who is not too sensitive, is a good teacher,” affirms Judith Bulteel of Belgium. These sentiments are also echoed by Lenka Hessova of Czech Republic, “A good teacher is a sociable teacher. A teacher’s personality should be such that she is able to interact with her students and also be sensitive to their needs. Andrea Ma San Myint from Myanmar adds that not only “Patience and understanding, but pure love and genuine care for students” are top qualities of a top quality teacher.

With such conclusive evidence, it makes complete sense to deduce, therefore, that personality is the top quality of a good teacher. How do you possibly separate good teachers from their good personalities? The following comments re-affirm the importance of good personality in being a good teacher, “There is no doubt that a caring and warm personality constitutes a good teacher,” offers Javier Barbero Andres of Spain. “A sense of empathy, coupled with a strong character make a top quality teacher”, Javier explained.

Then Makoto “Mark” Yasui from Japan summed it neatly in, “A teacher’s personality can influence a child into liking or resenting a subject and teachers should be conscious of that fact at all times”.

However, next to personality, yet still trailing behind, is motivation. Superintendent of schools in district 229, in Chicago, Dr Christopher Ward, summed it up when he observed that students become more co-operative and, in fact, more disciplined when they are fully aware that whatever you are doing in or outside class, you are doing it for them. He pointed out that students are most likely to listen to teachers who really care for them than those who don’t. “Caring teachers are more popular with students than those who don’t care. Teachers who show no care and no respect for students often encounter discipline problems,” says Dr Ward.

Offers Blandine Kolago from France, “A good teacher should have the ability to let every student know that he is the centre of the teacher’s attention. A good teacher should also be motivational, inspiring, and optimistic at all times as students need to be exposed to a positive environment with positive people.” Reiterating Blandine’s sentiments, Siri Heide from Norway asserts that a good quality teacher should have, “The ability to inspire confidence in both his strong and weaker students.”

“The student should be the centre of all learning and teaching. The student centered approach should be applied at all times”, says Daouda Traore of Mali. His words are further elaborated by Hamadony Muzafarov from Tajikistan, “Top teachers possess a desire to see their students succeed in the future. Such teachers spend time with students in order to inspire and empower them, by also exposing them to national and international programmes.” In confirming his belief that motivation plays a role in education, Jerry Sibanyoni from South Africa shares his experience, “ Literally every morning I put up a motivational “thought of the day” for my students to analyse and hopefully to get motivated. I have been practicing this culture for a record nine years of my teaching career, and I hope that somewhere, somehow, I managed to motivate a few souls.”

Following after good personality and motivational, patience is rated the third most important quality of a good teacher. In her list of the top five top qualities of a good teacher, Marie Lola Chaverra Cordoba from Colombia rated patience the most important. She asserts that, “If a teacher is impatient with her learners, it will prove to be very difficult for effective learning or teaching to take place.”

To further elaborate on patience as a good quality, Chimge Dugersuren, from Mangolia confirms that, “A good teacher should have the patience in order to be able to listen carefully to his students. A teacher should be able to give advice to his students whenever there is a need to do so.”

Knowledge of subject content and planning were a tie. Mary Moyapi from Zambia asserts that, “Planning is extremely important as a top teacher quality. After all, life is all about planning. A teacher who fails to plan is often the same teacher who is not organized in general, arriving late frequently, failing to mark students’ scripts timeously.” Appearing on Maria (Mary Antoniette) De Vico’s top qualities of a good teacher is knowledge of the subject. “A good teacher should be well trained and highly knowledgeable of her subject. Also, she should be multi-skilled in order to cater for a multi-skilled class. She should be a flexible teacher who adapts to her learners’ rhythm,” says Marie from Italy.

Confirming those sentiments, is Annmarie Ford from Scotland who holds that a top teacher should be an “intelligent” teacher. She elaborates that in being “intelligent” and having knowledge of the subject, the teacher invariably develops confidence in delivering knowledge. A self confident teacher is an effective teacher.”

Also in a tie, at position five, are “a sense of humour” and “ambitious”. “A top teacher should be funny, dynamic, confident and full of energy”, says Joselina Kuan from Nicaragua. She further believes that teachers should have a passion; they should “love what they do” in order to be effective, successful and world class teachers. Offers Gaute Kleiveland from Norway, “Humour is an enormous weapon both inside and outside class since it creates a conducive atmosphere for effective learning to take place. Learners are relaxed and they feel free to also express their opinions. This also allows for a more interactive lesson to prevail in class.”

Yoko Kito from Japan notes that, “In order to deliver an organized, top quality lesson, a teacher should be highly ambitious and should have an unwavering belief that his students can achieve. A good teacher should be flexible and be highly sensitive to various learner needs, thus apply multiple approaches to teaching”. Agrees Carlos Torres Suarez of Venezuela, “An ambitious teacher is a hardworking and committed teacher. This same teacher must also be smart, witty yet open minded and friendly.” From Greece, Lilika Mylona highlights that apart from having a sense of humour, “A teacher should be consistent in her application of discipline and rules. Rules must apply to every child.”

During the interviews there are comments that I found highly enlightening indeed. Jutta Hofer, from Austria reminded all teachers that, “We must all have the awareness of the big responsibility we have on children.” I think this comment transcends all education politics, teacher vanities and egotistic conduct. The comment reminds us all that we are not in a job, but a responsibility. We are not working with paper, computers, money, manufacturing, business etc, but we are working with human minds that need to be nurtured. But these children need to be respected as well as they are the most important forms of existence on earth. This is the type of responsibility where you not only touch the future, but have the tremendous power to shape it too.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Dear SUSI!

We have two family members who are celebrating their birthdays this week. I can't give you the exact date because I don't have them with me.


Greetings from your SUSI FAMILY

Getting to Know Me?

My Family! Jake, Jesuit, Jick Caesar, Nenita (Mom), and Jesus (Dad)

My cubicle in school...It's a bit messy because the school just had the 1st quarter exam.

This is our faculty room here Xavier University High School. Turn left to get to get to my cubicle.

My beloved XUHS Glee Club infront of our school building (High School Campus)

To the right is the gate entrance and the lobby of the school.

All of us gather every 1st day of the week and attend the Monday Morning Assembly. We say our community prayer; we hear some words of encouragement from our principal, notices from different offices, etc.


Here are some pictures I've taken from school today. I hope you get a good feel of it. I'm sure these pictures say a lot about my world here in the Philippines.

Enjoy guys!


Double Entry Jounal


Here's a very effective worksheet you can use in teaching literature to your students. It's a tool supported by the reader-response method.

You can start your literature session with this and then follow it up with a small group sharing, sharing to their classmates what they've written in their journal. Then, finally end it up with a big group sharing or reporting with you as the facilitator.

I personally find doing this exciting. Students are not only talking about the content of the story (which tells me that they've understood the story) but they're also relating this to their own personal views, opinions, and experiences -- not to mention the many words they would use in English just to share what they have in their journal.

In this way, the students are not only learning something meaningful from literature but are also honing their communication skills. The good news is the teacher is able to do this in a non-threatening way which means that the teacher is not putting the student on the spotlight.

Here it is! Enjoy.

Love lots!

Jake Anthony Jagos
SUSI 2009 Philippines

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thank You SUSI

Dear SUSI,

Greetings of love and peace!

Kumusta kayo (How are you?). Words could not exactly express how I miss all of you. If I could only turn back time, I would have done so. There are things that are certainly meant to last. Time might have ended our meeting, but it certainly cannot prevent us from meeting again or from keeping in touch. Hence, I urge all of you to keep on writing. Please tell SUSI about your experiences be it happy or sad, discouraging or uplifting. Whatever you say is welcome. Our blog is waiting for all of you to start writing. Please don't hesitate. Write as many as you can; that's the only way to keep us connected. Some of us are also in facebook; you can find us there if you want. I also strongly suggest that you get a skype account so we can easily talk to each other using videocalls. I certainly believe that seeing each other again through the internet is one great idea.

I am perfectly fine. I understand our beloved Ms Andrea of Myanmar was so worried about the storm experienced by the Philippines. Our place wasn't affected by the storm though. It happened somewhere in Luzon, the northern part of the Philippines. Thanks again Ms Andrea for your concern and prayers. I am happy that you and your kin are safe from the earthquake now. I know that God will always be there to protect you because you are prayerful, kind, caring, and very loving.

I wish to apologize to my sister Yoko for not being able to attend to her request. It was too late when I read your e-mail to me. I'm really sorry. I wish I had read it sooner; I hope I could make it up to you. Thank you sister for everything. I will miss all our escapades.

I have a good news to announce. Our choir, composed of friends from my college days (We are the alumni choir of our University glee club.) has decided to join a choral competition to be held in Japan next year. I am very excited as I will be super close to where our Japanese SUSI friends live. I am praying that I would get a chance to see Yoko and Mark again in July of 2010.

By the way, I told my students already about you guys, and they asked me if I could introduce them to you. I was wondering if you like the idea. Please advice me on this. I told them that I am still asking permission from you, so if you say yes then I would give them your names and your emails. I just want you to know how excited they are to hear from you.

I wish to end this letter by thanking you all for being so nice and fun to be with. I will forever treasure my memories with you.

I wish to thank Blandine as well for the many things she has done for me. She has been so wonderful and truly caring. Your generosity and kindness well forever inspire me and the rest of the SUSI family. Thank you so much for trust in me and your friendship.

I wish to thank as well my mothers in SUSI. Without them, I would have been very home sick during the program. Thank you for allowing me to call you my mommies. You certainly remind me of my very caring, passionate, and loving mother. Thank you Mommy Manton of Italy, Mommy Siri, Mommy Andrea, and Mommy Mary of Zambia.

To Mary Lola, Joselina, Wahida, Jutta, Javier, and Andrea (Hungary), thank you so much for your friendship. I have had special time with you and I truly treasure every minute of it because you are truly wonderful people. THANKS FOR THE SPECIAL MEMORIES.

To my room mates Hamadoni, Carlos, and especially my ever energetic friend Jerry, thank you for being so trustworthy, people whom I can depend on. I had nice exchange of ideas with you, and I will ofcourse remember all the jokes and funfilled moments with you guys and with Adnan. Jerry and Adnan, you amaze me with your very profound ideas. Your students are very lucky to have you.

I must say despite her being infamous at the start, this girl amazed me and made me think of many things. Zakia, thanks for showing us things we will never forget. I am very excited to visit you, if God allows, on your wedding.

Thanks one and all. I know I haven't mentioned everyone's names but I truly want you to know how thankful I am to have lived and studied with you. God is so good to me; He has given me all of you. You are all wonderful people and I deicate one more time this poem to all of you.

The tide recedes, but leaves behind bright seashells in the sand.
The sun goes down, but gentle warmth still lingers in the land.
The music stops, yet it echoes on in sweet refrains.
For every joy that passes, sething beautiful remains.

Ad Majorem dei Gloriam,

Jake Anthony L. Jagos
SUSI 2009, Philippines

Monday, July 20, 2009

What is SUSI?

The Study of the United States Institute for Secondary Educators (SUSI) is an intensive, six-week Institute intended for teachers and scholars who are devoted to learning about and increasing their understanding of U.S. society and culture. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsors the program.
For over fifteen years, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has had the honor of hosting scholars from around the world through this program. At UIC, participants of the SUSI program explore various discipline areas including law, politics and literature with the aim of not only understanding American culture, but also, how the U.S. manages to bring together the diverse groups who inhabit the nation.
Over the fifteen-year life of the Institute, participants from more than 60 countries have asked variations on the same questions: How does America manage to make its various competing interests cohere? What are the institutions, rituals, traditions, laws and artifacts that make e pluribus unum, of this many, one? The Institute will examine these issues in its six-week summer program, offering the materials for a discussion that might lead to the many answers that exist for that two-centuries-old question.
The Institute’s educational program examines the United States through multiple lenses formed by the disciplines of study that have grown up around various parts of American culture: law, politics, art, literature, geography, urbanism, education, sociology and economics. Dividing the four-week residency into three intensive segments – one historical, one thematic and one focused on contemporary life – faculty and participants study specific examples that reveal the larger themes and ideas to provide not just overall insight but a practical body of useful, teachable materials that participants can bring back to their home countries and introduce into the curriculum with immediate and longer-term benefits.
Throughout the Institute, classroom work is divided among lectures, discussions and small-group workshops; classroom work is balanced by field work ranging from tours of farms and suburbs to home visits. Faculty routinely team-teach so that participants encounter a variety of perspectives; this approach also allows for on-the-spot creation of outlines and content that are then honed, corrected and returned to participants at the next session as reinforcement. The classroom pedagogy is enriched when the Institute moves on the road; Director Eric Arnesen and faculty tour participants, Katrin Schultheiss and Peter Hales, provide several lectures and/or discussions each day during the tour, and participants have the opportunity to apply their theoretical and book-learned, in-residence training to a wide variety of specific cases.

The Participants:

Jutta Hofer Austria

Makoto Yasui Japan

Adnan Alawi Abbas Mohammed Bahrain

Daouda Traore Mali

Wahida Jafar Bangladesh

Oyunchmeg Dugersuren Mongolia

Judith Marguerite Lily Bulteel Belgium

Ma San Myint Myanmar

Joselina de Lourdes Gutierrez Kuan Nicaragua

Mary Lola Chaverra-Cordoba Colombia

Siri Therese Heide Norway

Lenka Hessova Czech Republic

Gaute Johan Kleiveland Norway

Blandine Kolago France

Jake Anthony Lucnagan Jagos Philippines

Evangelia Mylona Greece

Jerry Tumelo Sibanyoni South Africa

Andrea Sulyok Hungary

Javier Barbero Andres Spain

Nusrath Fathima Sheriff India

Hamadony Muzafarov Tajikistan

Khaled A.A. Alhassanat Israel

Laura Bulloch United Kingdom

Zakia Shufani Israel

Annmarie Ford United Kingdom

Maria Antonietta DeVico Italy

Carlos Eduardo Torres Suarez Venezuela

Yoko Kita Japan

Mary Omvwunhwa Mayapi Zambia