An Educator and a Global Citizen
Herbert S. Corpuz considers himself to be a global citizen, so when he learned about the United Board Visiting Lecturers Program (VLP), he seized the chance to spend a few months at Kachin Theological College and Seminary in Myanmar. “It has always been my dream to learn about the cultures of different people through actual immersion in their community while serving them through sharing my expertise,” he says. Mr. Corpuz has an abundance of experience to share with students and faculty at his host institution: as the director of community extension services and a faculty member of the School of Education, Arts, and Sciences at the University of St. Louis in the Philippines, he teaches courses to students who aspire to be educators and he is deeply involved in USL’s community outreach, advocacy, and service-learning programs.
“Teaching here in Myanmar allows me to demonstrate or even enhance my skills as a teacher, leader, service-provider, and trainer, while learning to live with people of a unique culture,” he finds. Mr. Corpuz sees that his students are full of creative ideas, yet “what impedes them in sharing these ideas [internationally] is their ability to communicate in the English language.” He is teaching classes in English academic writing, designed to help his students improve their usage of grammar and expand their vocabulary. He also leads a teaching methodology class, which prepares students for their summer service-learning program, when they will be teaching English to young language learners.
Despite his busy schedule, Mr. Corpuz has found time to reflect on the similarities and differences between his home and host institutions. “Both schools provide opportunities for their students to be honed holistically, with programs that are directed toward students’ spiritual, moral, physical, intellectual, and social development.” At the same time, the two institutions follow different paths to common goals, particularly in terms of their teaching and learning approaches. “USL has fully integrated, across all courses, the significance of research to advance learning, while at KTCS, research is a course requirement for students only in the final year,” he reports. Meanwhile, “KTCS has started integrating strict service-learning into its curriculum, while USL has integrated it into its curriculum for four years now.”
Mr. Corpuz sees the value of whole person education for students; his VLP experience shows him it has benefits for educators as well. “The whole person approach helps build a borderless world,” he says. “It allows educational institutions to work with synergy while building a professional learning community where each appreciates the other’s milestones, learns from each other’s unique practices, and journeys together toward shaping intellectual, spiritual, and moral global citizens.”
This article first appeared in the June 2016 issue of Horizons.