From the Director's Desk

On behalf of my colleagues at NISMED and as 2010 ends, I thank all the good people for inspiring us to perform the best we could and supporting our activities to help raise the quality of science and mathematics education in the Philippines.

Being busy is nothing new to NISMED. But July to December was more challenging than the first half of the year as we implemented the Collaborative Lesson Research and Development, an innovative research cum professional development program and organized the International Conference in Science and Mathematics Education with the theme Assessing Learning: Innovations and Practices. We organized a seminar workshop on Active Learning in Optics and Photonics for physics teachers. We also organized a one week seminar-workshop on Learner-centered Approaches to Teaching Science and Mathematics for Papua New Guinea educators. We finalized the science curriculum framework for basic education based on the philosophy—teach less, learn more. This is accompanied by the framework for science teacher education which contains standards of performance and rubrics. We embarked on a new research cum advocacy project on Fishery and Climate Change. We found time to do individual extension and attend staff development programs. We had an early planning of projects for 2011 so we were able to discuss with the Department of Education the projects that support the strategies to achieve the Millenium Development Goals.

We enjoyed the Office Christmas Party with some children of our staff. Many of us worked overtime to be able to participate in the UP Annual Lantern Parade. Our lantern, made of recycled printing materials, won third prize. Christmas vacation for all UP employees started on December 22. We spent more time with our families and prepared ourselves for the real meaning of Christmas Day.

Reflecting on the meaning of Christmas was the theme of my message to NISMED staff and their families. I focused on metanoia, a call to change our ways and how we look at things—a change of heart, a change of character, a change of mind. We may have experienced negative situations but our attitudes and efforts to rise from such situations ought to define our real life story. In addition, for many of us, what we want are still of this world. We need a change of heart to see what is more important than material things. Christmas is feeling and experiencing God in our lives; seeing the good that God has done for us; realizing that He is at work in each one of us.

Metanoia is about conversion. I read that real conversion is having “sincerity, singularity of heart, simplicity, and solidarity.” This means doing things right even if nobody is watching; being faithful to our commitment as Christians, faithful to our commitment as an Institute—not as individuals but as members of a Team; knowing our priorities and being persistent no matter what the odds are, not ningas cogon. When we are converted, we have inner peace. Being at peace is thinking like a pencil: “everything that we do will always make a mark but we can always correct our mistakes; what is more important is what is inside of us; in life we will undergo painful sharpening which will make us better, but we have to allow ourselves to be held and guided by the hand that holds it.” If we reflect on the meaning of change, we experience inner peace so we appreciate better who we are and why things happen. And being at peace with ourselves radiates love.

Change, conversion, love: all these mean enjoying the best of life. The best expression of love is to give time to our families, to our friends, to our partners. The best time to love is NOW.
A More Productive New Year to all !!!