Educational Philosophy: The PAREF Southridge School Credo

We believe that education is a life-long process, a moral act, and its focal point is and should always be the human person. Its primary purpose is the person’s integral formation, done through close home-school collaboration.

This opening statement expresses some aspects of the school’s convictions about what education is all about. It is a process that will last for the duration of one’s whole life. This belief is the basis for the educational goal of the school to make of its students life-long learners. The aim is to equip them with the skills to be learners for the rest of their lives. Education is not limited to the time the students will spend in the school: even after they have left the school, or even after finishing their university studies, the student will still have to learn many things. The school will have to teach the students good study habits; they will have to bring with them this virtue all their lives.

By saying that education is a moral act, the school believes that the task of education is a fruit of an intentional act of the persons involved, which also engages their freedom and responsibility. It will be an act subject to the principles of morality. As such, it cannot be separated from the moral qualifications of good and evil. High standards of ethics and morals must inform the entire task of education.

The subject of education is the human person and viewed as a person. An anthropology that is personalist is presumed in this task of education. A person is an individual, a unity of soul and body, endowed with intellect and free will. In the Christian perspective, which is adopted by the school, the person is considered to have a sublime origin in his Creator; he is also called to a sublime end, which is eternal life in union with his Creator. He is a subject who has a nature affected by moral evil, sin, but who is also redeemed and saved through the grace of God. He has an inner life governed by his reason and conscience, which is his most sacred inner sanctuary and which must be respected. Because of all these qualities, the person has a dignity that demands that he be respected and he has the rights that are inviolable (Catechism of the catholic Church, 1994).

The primary purpose of education is stated as the person’s integral formation. This means that all aspects of the student’s life: intellectual, volitional, physical, emotional, social, psychological, religious, etc. must be affected and shaped by the process of education; this task must conform to the ideals that are set by right reason and by Christian Revelation. “Integral” also means ‘complete’: the education of the different aspects of the student’s life must be harmonized into a complete organic whole, each aspect affecting and influencing for the good, and complementing the other aspects of life. We do not want isolated compartments in a person’s life; we want to achieve a unity of life (Escriva, 1985).

The manner in which this education will be carried out is specified as “home-school collaboration”. This belief is based on a more primary one which states that the parents are the primary educators of their children. The school does not want to take away from the parents this right and duty of theirs. The school wants to complement the parents’ task. To achieve this, there must be close communication and cooperation between the school and the parents.

We believe that the responsibility for the upbringing and education of children belongs primarily to the parents, with the school as their active partner.

This belief is the basis for the conviction stated earlier that education is to be done through home-school collaboration.

“Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators. This role in education is so important that only with difficulty can it be supplied where it is lacking. Parents are the ones who must create a family atmosphere animated by love and respect for God and man, in which the well-rounded personal and social education of children is fostered. Hence the family is the first school of the social virtues that every society needs” (Vatican Council II, 1965a).

We believe that the school is the entire community of persons composed of parents, teachers, staff, students and alumni that form an ethical community and, as it were, one family.

This belief defines the persons who compose the school: parents, teachers, staff, students and alumni. The school is a community of persons who are bound by a set of common values: these are the ideals and goals, its history and traditions. The school is united through communication: the sharing of goods, ideas, desires, dreams and projects, fraternity and charity. The school is qualified as an ethical community: its members are bound by the strictest and highest standards of ethical and moral norms. The School has been compared to a family: a communion of persons. The atmosphere its members strive to breed in their relationships is one found in a big and united family; at the same time that they strive to follow high standards of professionalism in the school.

We believe that the school must undertake the task of achieving the integral formation of the students; that is, all Southridge activities must contribute to their integral formation.

All the activities undertaken by the school must be in line with this primary goal. The school not only conducts classes, which is the main educational activity undertaken by the school. There are also clubs, outreach projects, theatrical plays, seminars, bands, liturgical celebrations, academic contests, athletics and sports tournaments, etc. All of these activities must push forward the integral development of the students. Approval will only be given to those activities that forward the students’ education.

We believe that to achieve the integral formation of students, the school must likewise give an adequate formation to the parents, teachers, staff and alumni.

“No one can give what he does not have”: a trite statement yet very true. If the parents, teachers, staff and alumni are to perform their task of education effectively, they must teach by word and by example. For this purpose, they too need help in knowing what to teach and how to lead the way through the example of their deeds and lives. Their good spirit needs to be sustained through educational activities designed for them. This conviction will demand a commitment on the part of the school to set up programs and activities addressed to the teachers, staff, parents and alumni for their continuing education. This conviction will also demand a commitment on the part of the teachers, staff, parents and alumni to attend the educational activities the school provides for them.

We believe in fidelity to the principles of the natural law and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church as the foundations of our task of education while respecting delicately at all times the freedom of consciences.

This point expresses the conviction that the educational task undertaken by the school must be in accord with certain truths. Truth is what enlightens the minds and the lives of men. Error brings about confusion and darkness. There are certain truths that can be discovered by the natural light of reason as for example the natural law (John Paul II, 1993). There are, however, some truths that are known to man through God’s Revelation. The authentic interpreter of such Revelation is the Teaching Office of the Catholic Church which is also known as the Magisterium of the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994).

The natural law is the law of right reason that is found in all men. Everyone ought to recognize this law and live according to it. Each man’s conscience, if upright, will demand from him compliance with the tenets of the natural law. Respect for each person requires respect for his conscience. The Church teaches that: “The Christian faithful, in common with all other men, possess the civil right not to be hindered in leading their lives in accordance with their consciences. Therefore, a harmony exists between the freedom of the Church and the religious freedom which is to be recognized as the right of all men and communities and sanctioned by constitutional law” (Vatican Council II, 1965). The freedom of consciences referred to here means respect for the religious freedom of individuals. The truths of Revelation are proposed to man; they cannot be imposed. The School is free and duty bound to teach the truths of Divine Revelation while at the same time respecting the religious freedom of each person, the freedom of consciences.

We believe that the learner is fundamentally a person, created in the image and likeness of God, with a spiritual and immortal soul, endowed with intelligence and free will, and destined to God as his ultimate end.

The human person cannot be understood adequately without reference to God, whose image he is. The human person has an inner principle of life -- his soul. It not only is the principle of his life but it is also the seat of his intellect and free will and it is immortal. No other class of creatures on earth has these same qualities. His most sublime calling is to be united to God in a life that will never end.

This conviction leads all educators involved in the school to give respect to the learner and to uphold his personal dignity and his rights.

We believe that work well-done is a proof of the primacy of the person over material things and is a means of developing one’s personality and obtaining his own personal good and that of others.

This conviction expresses the value the school gives to work well done. The School wishes for each student to develop his personality to the full: this will happen when he acquires and develops human virtues. Many human virtues, both personal and social, can be developed through work well done. It is through work that each person realizes the dominion the Lord God gave to man over all creation. Consequently, the School will demand from everyone: students, teachers, staff, parents and alumni, the highest standards of professionalism in whatever work or task at hand.

We believe that freedom and responsibility must go hand in hand in a life of dedicated service to God and others, especially the needy, for the common good of society in general, and Filipino society in particular.

Commitment and dedication are the highest expressions of the use of personal freedom and responsibility. The School wants her students to be men capable of making commitments and persevering in them. A life becomes useful and worth living when it is lived in the service of God and fellow men. The School wants her students to be patriotic: that they love their country, the Philippines. They should maintain an outlook where they are convinced that they owe much of their lives to their country and they should make returns through service, solving the problems that confront Filipino society and working hard to bring it forward to true development. At the same time her students must be open to the entire world: they are educated such that wherever they may be in the world, they will work for the common good of the society of which they form part.

We believe that our best contribution to the community, to the nation, and to the world is the gift of well-formed and principled people.

This last statement expresses a hope about how the School helps communities (families, companies, enterprises, neighborhoods), the nation and world: coming out with students, teachers, parents, staff and alumni who are educated totally and holistically: persons who have principles and values in their minds and hearts with a strong will backed by solid virtues to stand by their principles through the challenges and difficulties of life.

Institutional Goals for Students

For our graduates to become MEN OF INTEGRITY, the school must develop in them…

Intellectual/Cognitive

  1. Mastery of the core content, skills and values essential to the different learning disciplines
  2. The ability to identify, define, and solve problems independently
  3. The ability to form judgments based in universal truths
  4. Intellectual humility to withhold judgment when evidence and reasons are insufficient
  5. Habit of reading critically using morally sound criteria
  6. The ability to write clearly and confidently with substance and organization in various styles
  7. A sense of wonder, being open-minded, and intellectually curious that leads them to become life-long learners and self-determined thinkers

Spiritual/Moral

  1. Respect for the dignity of the human person
  2. Discernment of the good and the ability to direct themselves freely towards its fulfillment
  3. A deep spiritual life so that they be men of faith
  4. The zeal to employ their gifts and talents to the service of God

Socio-Cultural

  1. The ability to speak clearly and competently, engage in meaningful dialogue
  2. The ability to respond to communications by asking questions and defining terms
  3. The ability to adapt to any given situation and be able to express ideas effectively and appropriately
  4. Desire to help the needy
  5. Compassion for others
  6. Responsibility for and the care of their environment
  7. Genuine concern for their community’s problems and its sustainable development which should progress to concern for society in general
  8. Live for one’s country’s culture and heritage
  9. Appreciation, empathy, and understanding of a range of cultures and religions, beginning with one’s own, guided by values of truth, honesty, fairness, equality, and integrity

Psychological/Emotional

  1. Sensitivity to feedback
  2. Objectivity and empathy in listening to others
  3. A sporting spirit which will make them flexible to various situations and resilient in the face of failures and difficulties as well as learning from his mistakes

Vocational/Occupational

  1. Recognize that their studies are an important contribution to society and try to work with the greatest possible human perfection
  2. Choose a career with a sense of social responsibility, attuned to the real needs of the country
  3. Recognize one’s gifts and aptitudes to help them choose their future career responsibly

Physiological

  1. A sense of wellness and concern for their health and physical fitness as a form of respect for God’s gift
  2. The prudent use of leisure time and healthy forms of entertainment

The Benefits of All-Boys and All-Girls Schools: Q&A on What the Best Research Says

by Dr. Raul Antonio A. Nidoy

Are there benefits to single-sex schooling?

The best research on this topic was done by the U.S. government in 2005. The research demonstrated “a single-sex school advantage by far” over coed schools.

Do those results refer to academics?

Yes, they found better results in math, science and English achievement. But advantages extend to social and emotional development of the kids too.

But isn’t this just one study?

The U.S. study covered 2,221 studies worldwide. Then they culled the 40 best. And they concluded that the systematic review of research “finds positive results are three to four times more likely to be found for single sex schools than for coeducational schools in the same study for both academic achievement and socio-emotional development.”

That’s quite impressive. Do they explain why girls’ schools and boys’ schools are better?

There are more than a dozen reasons! For one, teachers observe that there are less distractions. Children as it is are prone to distractions. What more when they are with the opposite sex who have different ways from themselves.

Also, in single-sex schools, children compete on fairer grounds. Girls develop much faster than boys, and boys can easily get discouraged when faced with such competition. The boys can pull down the rest of the class, meaning the girls.

But aren’t the kids helped by the presence of the opposite sex to better behave?

Not in the majority of cases. Based on studies, when kids of the same sex are together, they give themselves more mutual support, a sense of community and confidence. Thus, they participate more and are more engaged.

Won’t coed schools make children more well-rounded?

The opposite is true. Coed schools tend to perpetuate stereotypes of girls as good in creative arts and boys as strong in math, science and leadership. In single-sex schools, teachers can address the unique learning styles, interests and needs of the students, making the students strong in areas where they are usually weak. This is another explanation why students in single-sex schools perform better in academics.

Let’s not forget too that children don’t want to appear having some of the good habits of the other sex, lest they be teased as being girlish or boyish.

But isn’t it that kids get inspired by the opposite sex to study harder?

Again, you are talking about exceptions. In most cases, based on recent findings, the effect of the interaction between the two sexes means less homework done, less employment of school, lower reading and math scores.

You mentioned earlier that there are social and emotional advantages.

The U.S. government research points to less sexual harassment, less delinquency and other student behavior problems, higher career aspirations, more leadership opportunities, more community involvement, and more positive self-concept among children from single-sex schools. These schools also allow for more opportunities for social and moral guidance.

I am concerned that my high schooler will not learn how to deal with the opposite sex.

As you might already have observed, the alumni of the top single-sex schools of this country are very capable of dealing with the other sex, and in fact they are known to have an edge on the basis of their culture and manners. Boys’ schools and girls’ schools have the privileged condition of providing age and gender-appropriate guidance on social skills training to their students.

One of my concerns is that my children go to the best colleges.

Your child will have better chances to achieve that through a single-sex school. There was a randomized experiment done on this in Korea, published in 2009. A randomized experiment is the most reliable evidence in all research, since it eliminates bias and pre-selection. The study found that 45% of boys from single-sex schools entered college compared with only 39% of the boys from coed schools. For the girls, it’s 44% of girls from all-girls schools and 40% of girls from coed schools.

But if all of this is true, why isn’t single-sex schooling the mainstream of educating the kids?

The news has not yet spread. That’s the reason behind this Q & A! And for your information, there is a revival of single-sex schools even in the public schools in the U.S. From only 4 single-sex public schools in 1998, there were already 540 such schools by 2010. Experts say that “21st Century education will be single-sex schooling.”