Some 1400 participants filled the Waterfront Hotel Pacific Ballroom on March 2 during the International Conference with renowned author and teacher Dr. Hal Urban. The conference entitled “Life’s Greatest Lessons: Better Character for a Better Quality of Life” drew crowds from different walks of life including teachers, parents, industry partners, and students.
The success of the event was largely credited to the sponsors whose support and advocacy for character education have made the event a resounding success: Juanito I. King Foundation, Inc., Sunstar Daily, Tsuneishi Technical Services Philippines, Inc., Cebu Landmasters Inc., TMX Philippines, HDP Printing, HPOI, Cereli Electrical Services, PLC Systems Technik, Inc. Serviam Professionals, Douglas Omayan Video Coverage, Security Systems and Monitoring, Inc., Corbox Corporation, and Javders Projector and Projector Screen Rental.
The morning session talked about the 20 greatest lessons from the classroom particularly 20 practices that good teachers do. The afternoon session was about positive words getting positive results and making the right choice.
Among other things, Dr. Hal emphasized that good teachers/parents:
1. develop both intelligence and character of their students/children
2. protect children from toxic words
3. teach the Golden Rule; and
4. help students discover students/children the power of choice.
Dr. Hal emphasized that there is a decline of civility in the classroom reflecting from what is going on around them in the adult world and that rude children acting out of ignorance. Dealing with these rude behaviors must be taken with utmost care and urgency. A proactive approach suggested by Dr. Hal was to deal with the children on the first day of the school by creating an atmosphere of kindness, consideration, and courtesy in the classroom.
Most of the Dr. Hal’s talk centered on kindness. He made mention of a close friend who never spoke harsh words to anyone. “How we treat each other defines us”, said he. “The kinder we are, the higher will be our quality of life”, he added. He also quoted Mother Teresa who said: “Kind words are short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
The international conference sent a message that much has still to be done to ingrain character education in our schools. It is not only the job of the teachers, but also the parents and those who have direct contact with the children and students. Most specifically, teachers now don’t need to worry about the “content” of their lessons. They are required to do more than that. Teachers must embody positive values and goals not just to educate but shape the future citizen of the country into men and women of character.
The event was capped by a book signing for his other books, “Lessons from the Classroom”, “Positive Words, Positive Results”, and “20 Gifts of Life”.