Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mentoring women - building trust is key

In my younger years till now, most of what I learned were through experience and books read. When your reality is shaped by experience, there are a lot of biases developed in the process. One thing I am not comfortable with is talking to someone about things I went through or thoughts in my mind at present. When you get betrayed or let down by people you trusted or what you shared is used against you, one tends to clam up. Keeping thoughts, happiness, pain, depression, fear, mistakes, and joys to yourself. This is also the reason why I don't ask questions. It is not the lack of interest but to avoid the conversation from getting too personal.

It has made me stronger indeed. When I see young individuals with potential and going through troubled times, I reach out subtly just to let them know that they will be able to get through. Give advise if sought.



Last March 12, I got the benefit of visiting an all girls school in Alabang known as PAREF Woodrose. The nearly 35-year old school is proud of its quality of education. It adopts modern teaching techniques such as Singapore Mathematics curriculum for grade school. Its Christian education is inspired by the teaching of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, founder of Opus Dei.
What struck me is the school is also known for pioneering home-school learning collaboration and mentoring system (formerly referred as tutorial system) in Philippine education.

The program, as early as grade school includes mentoring students - working together with the parents. For Woodrose, a mentor is a life coach who converse with the students and parents regularly discussing studies, personal, emotional, social, and spiritual development concerns. The mentor gives a shoulder to lean on where issues that bother the student can be discussed with confidentiality.
Of course, this can only work if the mentor is able to build enough rapport and mutual trust with the student. Mentor Elinor Diokno (grade school department coordinator for personal formation) shared that this also takes a little bit of time. But once achieved, it benefits the student the most as they will receive sound advice that they can think about - decide if worth doing or not.

I enjoyed the sharing of experience by blogger Leah Puyat (a Woodrose alumnae) on the mentoring system effectiveness. She shared her difficulty in math brought upon by her own personal pressure - comparing own math grade performance to her sister.

Leah's mentor then said that she is actually good in Math and suggested steps to lessen the pressure. She followed the suggestions (such as not looking and competing with her sister's Math grade) and began reaping the results.

There are also concerns where a mentor can be caught in the middle if the student and parents have problems. However, a skilled mentor can ask the right questions and give suggestions that will allow them to start discussing issues without necessarily violating a confidentiality promise.

Being an educational institution, Woodrose has set sound moral principles and passion for excellence as primary requirements for being a mentor. They currently maintain a ratio of 1 mentor for every 10 students. The school has a total of 106 mentors as of this writing.



The school also has a lot of academic and curricular activities for the students to provide a well-rounded education. Based on stories shared by its graduates and observations from those who had college classmates graduate from the school, they "wing it" with ease (on subject projects).

Parents and students wanting to study in PAREF Woodrose need to note the following admission requirements:
The Admission Procedure
1. Submission of all required documents
  • Accomplished Parents' Information Sheet
  • NSO Certified Parents' Marriage Contract *
  • NSO Certified Student's Birth Certificate *
  • Original and photocopy of Student's Baptismal Certificate
  • Report Card
  • 2 x 2 pictures (2 copies)
  • Recommendation form accomplished by the Guidance and Testing Office of the previous school
  • Recommendation form accomplished by the Class Adviser and Registrar of the previous school
* For foreign documents, Original and Photocopy of the Marriage Contract of the Parents / Original and Photocopy of the Student’s Birth Certificate. Original Documents will be returned to the Parents.
2. Parental Attendance at the Orientation for Parents
3. Interviews and Testing
  • Parents are interviewed by a PAREF representative
  • Student takes an assessment test
  • Student is interviewed by the Level Coordinator
4. It is following this procedure that a Letter of Notice is prepared and mailed to the parents
For more information, please contact the School Registrar, Mrs. Rose Dumlao at 850-6380 to 83 local 111.
I wish there were schools in my youngers days, nearby, that espoused the mentoring system. Who knows? Maybe I could have done even better if I had access to one in my critical development years then.