SLT- Schools of Living Traditions

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SLT- Schools of Living Traditions Empty SLT- Schools of Living Traditions

Post by yang-ew on Wed Aug 05, 2009 8:30 pm

SLT: Bridging the School Curriculum and Culture

By Lesio Mhar P. Gao-ay
Teacher, San Alfonso High School
Sabangan, Mountain Province, CAR

The Schools of Living Tradition (SLT) trademark remains in the identity of the private schools in Mountain Province as the bearer of the living culture, interfacing the school’s curriculum with the traditional and indigenous processes.
SLT teaches skills and techniques in doing a traditional art or craft. Initially, the mode of SLT teaching was non-formal, oral, and with practical demonstrations. But the SLT was reinvented and re-defined by the mission schools in the Bontoc-Lagawe Vicariate. This re-invention deeply integrated culture in the academic curricula.

In line with the UNESCO’s call for the preservation of cultural heritage, some mission schools in the vicariate has fashioned its academic curriculum in order to align some areas of disciplines with culture – taking culture itself as tool in realizing learning goals in the four corners of learning. Through SLT, culture is learned and preserved. The traditions and culture is passed on to the next generations and are practiced and applied in everyday life.

One of the major points in integrating culture in the curriculum is to promote the identity and uniqueness of Igorots in this province. This is anchored on the government’s mandate to “preserve and uphold the nation’s historical and cultural legacy by encouraging and supporting the study, recognition and preservation of human cultural resources such as weavers, chanters, dancers, as well as conservation and development of such artistic, linguistic and occupational skills that are threatened with extinction.”

The successful conduct of the first and the second SLT Conventions that were held in Bauko Catholic School and Saint Vincent’s School in 2007 are proof that the various traditions and creative expressions of the Igorots are truly a dynamic part of the province’s way of life and cultural identity. The SLT conventions showcased the authentic traditional practices in areas such as Tadian, Bauko, Sabangan, Bontoc, Banaue, and Lagawe. Such traditional practices were featured and performed in the schools’ various extra-curricular activities.

To further develop SLT and study the role of culture in the academe, teachers in Mt. Province have designed learning packages vis-à-vis the standard learning objectives of the Department of Education. Some of the studies made were: “Customs and Traditions of Western Mountain Province Necessary in the Peacemaking Process” by the teachers of San Alfonso High School, Bauko Catholic School, and Holy Rosary High School; “The Relevance of the Og-Ogfu as Practiced in Bontoc ILI” by the teachers of Saint Vincent’s School; and “The Traditional Practice of the Bogwa” by the teachers of Saint Joseph School of Kiangan.

These studies stirred new concepts in teaching strategies: Why not make use of the “tapis” and other indigenous materials to study lesson in Mathematics such as perimeter, area, or volume? Why prioritize the study of the history of the United States when there are hundreds of unsung Igorot heroes in the land? Why not study Igorot poetry as well instead of just focusing on the English language?

Through their collaboration, the schools realized that there are other ways in which students can realize the concept and value of SLT. Aside from teaching Igorot dances, or playing indigenous musical instruments and sports such as “kadangkadang,” “inagto,” “inetaan,” “sanggol,” “bawwet,” or “ap-appayek,” students can also learn traditional cooking other traditional arts and crafts.

Indeed, the Schools of Living Tradition identify the aspects or components of our traditional culture that are considered important to our cultural community and should be imparted to the youth so these values and traditions can be perpetuated.

To some, culture may be hindering factor to development – the process of preserving the culture and adhering to the usual practice may crash with the rising technologies and scientific advancements. The role of the Schools of Living Tradition is to merge culture with progress, embracing traditional practices while investing on advancements as well. The SLT’s learning goals include revitalization and reinvention of the customs and traditions which are culturally rooted yet globally competitive.

(Published 05 May 2008, Smart Schools Program)

Last edited by yang-ew on Wed Aug 05, 2009 10:26 pm; edited 2 times in total
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SLT- Schools of Living Traditions Empty Re: SLT- Schools of Living Traditions

Post by yang-ew on Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:59 pm

Aware of our identity in a global world
The images that Bishop Francisco Claver remembers from when he
was growing up in Bontoc, Mountain Province, connect the land,
the population growth through the years, and where the landscape
changed from the shift s in land use and the movement of people.
Quoting from an earlier paper
1 of his, the crucial part that “culture plays
in any scheme of social change” is also envisaged as he related aspects of
the Cordillera. Bontoc, his cultural origins, and how the other cultures
of the region increasingly live and struggle with the present state of the
lands, the water, and the forests in a global world.

“The entire Mountain Province and the whole land (Cordillera) had a
population of around 300,000-400,000. Now over a million people live

in the Cordillera. In 1904, the population census in Bontoc registered
about 4,000; now the population is 10,000. The population of the entire
country was 6 million then, now it’s 80 million. If Bontoc followed the
national rate of growth, there should be around 60,000 people, but
Bontoc can’t support such a population. The carrying capacity is really
only 4,000. Baguio City, pre-war, had a population of 20,000, and it’s
now 400,000.

“Traveling between Bontoc and Baguio, there were no towns then
between Sabangan (the town after Bontoc) and La Trinidad (the town
before Baguio), a distance of over 140 kilometers. There were just forests,
big pine forests. All the towns that are there now are all new, and that
means these areas were forests before. The roads were exuding moisture,
with many brooklets along the way as you travelled. Approaching Baguio
from the lowlands, what struck the traveler then was the smell of pine
trees. The traveler now will be welcomed by the smell of gas fumes.”

Further describing the landscape, Bishop Claver shares that “the
vegetable farms that you see now as you travel the stretch of Benguet
were started in the 1950s and the farmers came from Western
Bontoc, not from Benguet. The original people had to move out, as
the place cannot support them. But what was good for farming was
bad for the rivers as these decreased in time. The water levels of the
Agno and Chico Rivers drastically went down between 1995 and
2005. How do you restore all these water sources? I don’t know.

“Yes, from a distance, I can still see there are still forests, but the
valleys are all cleared and converted, full of vegetable farms. When
I was still with the Apostolic Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe, we
wanted to plant trees. But then came the ancestral land concept
through the IPRA (Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act) that defined
the ancestral land in the concept of private property. In this I
cannot see now where the real sense of preserving the forest is. One
of the problems with reforestation is that it now encourages the
privatization of ancestral lands. Those who grew up with a sense of
private property are transferring this concept to ancestral land as
the IPRA is implemented. For example, after IPRA, people started
to subdivide the riverbanks, and many people who know how to
use the law are now staking their claims as the owners. Before, it was
easy to get stones from the river to use for
tuping (stonewalling) as
there was a sense of the
taian (common resource). Now you have
to ask permission or pay up. If you are from Bontoc, they would be
ashamed to charge; if you are a foreigner (not from Bontoc), the
attitude of charging for the stones evokes no cultural hesitation.”

Bishop Claver, however, believes that IPRA contributed to stopping
the mining, in the sense that the government generally assumes
people’s ready acceptance and acquiescence. “But in Benguet, where
most of the mining went on and is still going on, people were weak.
In the Mountain Province there is gold, but there is no mining. I
remember an event that I always shared with people. In the 1930s,
there were prospectors doing the surveying, and people were mad
and wanted to attack them. The women said ‘No, don’t do that,
we’ll handle this our way.’ One day, the women came down from
the ridge above the campsite where the prospectors were, yelling
and screaming while taking off all their clothes. All the campers
fled never to return.”

The observation is that when the Cordillera says “no,” the
government listens. Bishop Claver explains that “this is so because
people in government who are from the Cordillera understand
and know the power of the people and the protests. The Chico
River Dam protests sprung from this land. But as this government
becomes weaned from the culture, it becomes manipulative. Native
people still have that sense of community and right.”
He views the efforts in “saving” the
payeo (rice terraces) as futile,
when these are all done for tourism purposes. Keep the people poor
and you will keep the terraces; they are too much hard work and
people would rather leave. “The educated Igorots have no more
concern in terms of what’s happening in the ricefields, because they
know it’s the end. Educated people, like me, are the ones interested
in doing tourism. It is the educated who have gone out and seen
the potential of mining that invest in it. Then, once people develop
skin diseases in the rivers below, the response is to sue people in the
upper areas where the mining is taking place.”

He also points out the impact of class distinctions in the relationship
with the land. “In Ifugao, there are more tenants in the field than
in Bontoc. There is a class of tenants and this class distinction is
stronger in Ifugao than in Bontoc. In Bontoc, people have their
own fields. In Ifugao, they are more class-conscious.”
Patterns of settlements within a community and the type of
leadership contribute to how changes in the social landscape can
occur. “In Kalinga, the notion of a
pangat (headman) continues to
prevail. In Ifugao, the pattern of settlements is family clan clusters
set apart so it is the headman or head family that is of importance.

In the Mountain Province, houses are clustered more as a village

with less distinction of class and the ato (elders) or dap-ay (group
of elders) traditionally lead. It is observed that it is easier to form
BECs (Basic Ecclesial Communities) in the Mountain Province,
while the charismatic movement can take an easier hold in Ifugao.
But definitely, the Ifugaos are more artistic,” the Bishop from Bontoc

With the revival of autonomy discussions for the Cordillera region as a
development vehicle, his view is that “if the Cordillera is autonomous,
IPRA can be better implemented. But I am not supportive of this
move, as I would prefer federations and keeping the Cordillera as
one. The LGUs are wary of Cordillera governance, because of loss of
contact with the people on the ground. This is so because the context
of the ‘autonomy’ being discussed is that of the national government,
which is just a huge milking cow. Federations will also allow senators
to come from the regions, not just from Manila.”

Bishop Claver values the establishment of Schools of Living Traditions
2 in Mountain Province schools, because even if the students
graduate as professionals, their sense of roots and of the environment
are retained.

Please read complete story, click

Most Reverend
San Jose Major Seminary
Ateneo Campus, Loyola Heights
1108 Quezon City
Tel. 426-6091 to 94
Fax: 426-5936
Mobile: (0918) 568-9567

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