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Teaching in the 21st century

Getting students ready for future proof jobs in the creative arts

By Lanie C. Rallos

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When I started teaching at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde more than 10 years ago, my teaching style in mind was that of my former teachers. I particularly adopted the style of one of my favorite teachers in college, the late Roberto “Bobby” Mendoza of the Psychology department of De La Salle University (DLSU). During his lectures, he would use humor to make the concepts more relatable. His classes were entertaining yet educational, whether it was a general education or a major course. I realized, however, that my generation’s learning style is quite different from that of my students.’  If my generation could  keep up with a three-hour class of pure lecture, my students just can’t. They just don’t have an attention span long enough to focus on the subject at hand for three hours.

My industry experience in television, film, and video production, including my training from Mowelfund, has paved the way for my teaching career.  As a professional faculty member of the Multimedia Arts (MMA) program in Benilde, one of the challenges is transference of learning.  How do I teach my students what I have learned through industry experience? What teaching tools should I use to make the concepts relatable to different types of learners? How do I ensure that my students learn the necessary skills so they will fair in the industry?

Learner-Centered Education

Prior to teaching at Benilde, I was not familiar with the learner-centered education. Even when I was an undergraduate at DLSU, I don’t remember hearing it from my teachers. But having been at Benilde for more than a decade, I have learned to adapt to this pedagogy. I would say, however, that I am still learning more as I deal with diverse learners every term.

As a facilitator of learning, I encourage my students to think creatively, to be socially responsible citizens, and to develop information, communication, and technology (ICT) skills. This is how I operationally define 21st century learning in the field of MMA. In addition, the learners should understand that it is essential to be collaborative. It is necessary to acknowledge the expertise of others to make a viable multimedia project.

I teach video-related courses such as video pre-production, production, and post-production for MMA students who are in their third year. I also handle courses for the multimedia projects series or the “thesis equivalent” in the program. Students enrolled in the courses mentioned are expected to be competent in conceptualization, content development, multimedia integration, and multimedia marketing, which form part of the curriculum. More than what my students should learn in the courses I teach, in terms of conceptual and technical know-how, it has always been my advocacy that my students understand the frame of mind needed to handle the challenges in the real world. More important, I reiterate the importance of using one’s common sense in doing whatever task is given to them.

The Multimedia Artist

As an industry practitioner, I have worked with both MMA students and graduates.  More than a decade ago, MMA interns worked for me as video editors and production assistants. They assisted me in the production and post-production of various client based-projects. Since MMA Students learn different forms or mediums, some of them would focus on a specific medium.  Around that time, graduates of MMA were hired as graphics artists, illustrators, art directors, photographers, videographers, video editors, animators, game designers, interactive media programmers, and multimedia producers, to name a few.  With the evolution of technology, MMA students also developed ICT skills that allow them to be marketable in the industry. Graduates of MMA at Benilde, however, are not only adept in the use of technology. We also make sure as teachers that they could conceptualize and develop content for the multimedia projects that they create. Our graduates could conceptualize and develop content as motion graphics artists, web designers, mobile app developers, computer graphics (CG), or visual effects artists. With the advent of social media, our graduates could also explore various social media positions such as social media content producer, manager, or administrator, social media community manager, and the like.

The Challenge to Educators

To an educator dealing with Millennials, one of the challenges is how to engage learners who have easy access to information across the globe. How do I make them think critically out of their comfort zones? How do I ensure that they push the envelope and defy mediocrity?  To challenge their own perspective and go beyond what they already know; discern which information is significant and process the information accordingly.

Another challenge would be dealing with helicopter parents. A recent study in the United Sates among college students show that helicopter parenting has indirect effects on anxiety, depression, life satisfaction and physical health through self-efficacy. The study also mentioned that helicopter parenting has been an “increasing concern among college administrators and professors” as it may have an effect on college students’ mental health. Previous study among college students also mentioned that parents who are over-controlling have “significantly higher levels of depression and less satisfaction with life.” Lastly, overparenting is also associated with lower student self-efficacy and students’ difficulty adjusting in a workplace. These studies only support the disadvantages of overparenting, which the educators of today have to face; whether they are in basic education or higher. Administrative support in relation to such challenges, however, could address adverse effects to students.

As a Lasallian-Benildean educator guided by the Lasallian guiding principles, I believe I could face such challenges. Seeing my students succeed in the industry and become better than me is perhaps the greatest gift I can ever have in this lifetime.  This is my vocation and legacy to the future Filipino multimedia artists.

Lanie C. Rallos has been teaching since 2004 in the Multimedia Arts Program of the School of Design and Arts at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. She handles video-related courses and multimedia project series (thesis equivalent in MMA) for the third and fourth year students. Prior to accepting the full-time teaching post in Benilde, she handled video production and post-production courses in the Communication Arts program at De La Salle University (DLSU).  She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from DLSU where she acquired graduate units for Master of Education Major in Educational Leadership and Management. An industry practitioner since 1998, Lanie has done television shows, documentaries, films, music videos, events management, and corporate video projects as a director, director of photography, production manager, and video editor. She’s currently working on her screenplay for a short film which she will co-produce by the end of 2016.