ASHS student leaders’ takeaways from int’l symposium on Service-Learning and Socially Responsible Global Leadership

July 27, 2021
By: 
ASHS Sanggunian

Members of Ateneo de Manila Senior High School’s Sanggunian Executive Council for school year 2021-2022 attended an online International Symposium and Expo on Service-Learning and Socially Responsible Global Citizenship. Organized by Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the symposium took place from July 9 to 10, 2021.
Here are our student leaders’ takeaways from the symposium.  

Jian Delos SantosJian Delos Santos, Sanggunian President: The International Symposium focused on a topic that was, in my context, very new. The speakers discussed “Service-Learning” and Professor Harry Lewis described it as “learning human empathy and how to act on it.” This type of learning happens out in the field instead of in the usual academic bubble. In other words, it is a deeper sense of education wherein students aspire to not only have a successful future for themselves but for others. Professor Luke Terra also mentioned the seven elements that Service-Learning consists of: active, collaborative, constructivist, empowering, expands boundaries, personalized, and authentic. On a personal level, I believe that Service-Learning is something that we should implement in our curriculum and, at the same time, apply in our daily lives. With all the atrocities and predicaments that our world is facing, it is about time for us to go beyond that mindset of helping only ourselves as we work our hardest in school and, instead, use building a better world for those in need our motivation and bring this with us as we venture out of the comfort of our classrooms and into the world.

Matthew AlmonteMatthew Almonte, Assembly of Class Officers Vice President: Where there is genuine learning, there exists service. Most of the time, even worsened by the current circumstances, the reason for pursuing education has been selfish, solely for economic advantage. Due to this, a deep insight brought to light was how leaders can ignite learning within students, as it ripples and reaches greater circles and relationships. Such learning in return equips students to confront problems where they are, at the same time acquiring knowledge from and preserving the past, and steadily dreaming deeper for the future. Reimagining education and making it for the people and the world is key. Through these, creating student-centered projects along with real student involvement and compassionate leadership enables us to move forward as a united front, for the betterment of all of humanity.

Sebastian BautistaSebastian Bautista, Athletes’ Council Vice President: During the keynote speech of Professor Harry Lewis, he quoted Francis Bacon when he said, “Men have entered into a desire of learning and knowledge sometimes upon a natural curiosity and inquisitive appetite… and most times for lucre and profession; and seldom sincerely to give true account of the gift of reason to the benefit and use of man.” Afterwards, he connected this to a concept he introduced as service-learning, a style of learning that differs from the conventional classroom-style way of teaching. Through service-learning, education is given a deeper and more meaningful purpose that allows us to see beyond academics and focus on the humanitarian aspect of being in a community. Furthermore, he emphasizes the importance of creating long-term goals instead of short-term solutions by applying the lessons taught to the students through the experiences offered by this type of learning.

Roniel Paningbatan
Roniel Paningbatan, Council of Student Organizations Vice President: Centralizing the impact of service-learning in traditional educational methods, its importance has been highlighted throughout the symposium. Society has set a standard on educating students which revolves around set systems and work-centered ideals rather than a transformative focus through personal and social growth. Of the countless learnings gained, one line by George Santayana struck me: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." With that, we must be reminded to adapt and evolve with the systems that have hindered the formation of servant-leaders in the community. To quench the thirst of humanity to learn, grow, and know more, incorporating depth in purpose and meaning can break barriers in reaching progress.

Nerito Santos IIINerito Santos III, Executive Secretary: Service-learning is a new term in my vocabulary, yet I’ve been experiencing it throughout my stay here in Ateneo. To quote Ms. Janet S. Eyler and Mr. Dwight E. Giles, “It is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.” It is a combination of both personal and social development with academic and cognitive development.
I’ve learned that schools all over the world integrate this concept into their curriculum as it is proven to be beneficial to both students and their surrounding community. Like in our online context, service-learning can be seen through our donation drives like STEM Buds and Bwright Stars, council-wide projects like MakiAlam, organizations and sandigans like Hi-Lites and Mapulon, non-profit organizations like STEMinish PH and AKO.org, and many more! My only hope is that Ateneo Senior High School may further advance service-learning in its curriculum.

Marion LopezMarion Lopez, Council of Student Committees Chairperson: A significant part of the keynote talk with Professor Harry Lewis was when he said, "All aspects of your academic life are in service of the preservation and improvement of education as a whole." From a student leader’s perspective, it’s easy to forget that the progress of your work does not solely rely on the results of a singular project, but rather on what the experience makes out of you and the people you work with on a long-term basis. In contrast to the traditional academic systems, service-learning introduces a progressive relationship between students and learning while acknowledging its impact on education as a whole.

In the nature of my work under the CSC, service-learning pushes me to recognize the impact of the council’s work on the ASHS, especially when dealing with topics surrounding advocacies. How do we, as a community, better understand what we make of education with what we do and what we learn?

Endiraj TapalesEndiraj Tapales, Executive Finance Officer: All learning is a form of service, and competitiveness makes learning different from other service vocations. These contain several properties that create transformational experiences for participating students, teachers, and community partners regardless of setting, situation, subject matter, or societal issue. According to Professor Andrew Furco in "The Transformational Power of Service-Learning: A Global Perspective," we apply a global lens in exploring the particular elements and practices of service-learning, which, when present, create impactfully and broadens the perspectives of the participant's experiences across primary, secondary, and higher education. In this talk, I learned the best practices in service-learning, most especially in the new learning setup from multiple methods. In addition, these applications can be perceived on how service-learning can deepen students' academic engagement across the environment. Furthermore, the talk paved the way to flourishing in the educational phase of life through different approaches to learning.