Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Democratic Activism

The event on "Online Memory Bank" project by the AFT and PSLINK proved to be very inspiring especially for a former teacher like me. It started with a short film on student activism in Iran, South Africa, Burma and China. I was awakened by the convictions of the young speakers on why they dedicated themselves into student activism. The next speaker talked "democratic classrooms". I believed I was applying those principles when I was a teacher way back in the late 90's. But what inspired me most was the sharing of a student leader who is now holding a key post in a political party. He said he was inspired by a poem written by another fellow student and his mentor for 30 years was his grade school teacher who was present in this gathering. What a very inspiring relationship between teacher and student!

Another inspiring moment in this activity was when an indigenous leader talked about how IPs view nature as very nurturing similar to what our modern day hospitals, markets among other services which cater to the needs of the people. He said his activism emerged from that love of nature which bless them with all the bounties of life. And he was wondering how come leaders believe that they have the right to appropriate those blessings for themselves.

The wisdom imparted by another speaker affirmed my convictions about education. That genuine education is life-giving. The world is our classroom and all experiences emanating from life should be discussed from different points of view so that learning and insights can be maximized to serve as guideposts for a better world. He view life and learning as "tensions between honesty and hope" and that democratization can be a spectrum of resistance, of participation and democratic ways of doing things. The project on "Online Memory Bank" aim to capture all those experiences and insights in a democracy by using internet technology. What a bounty!

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