Educators: Children’s resilience vs depression should be looked into
Rainier Allan Ronda (Pilipino Star Ngayon) - May 2, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Educators and academicians noted a need to look into and address the apparent lack of resilience against depression among the Filipino children belonging to “Generation Z”.

In a round table discussion on “Educating the Alpha Generation” of educators, academicians and scientists gathered yesterday by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) at the Hyatt Hotel Manila, the recent string of incidence of suicide among school children supposedly mainly due to financial difficulties in the family, was also seen as an indication of a lack of resilience among young Filipino children.

Dr. Queena Lee-Chua, an associate professor of the Ateneo de Manila University Department of Psychology, in her talk on “Gen (Generation) Z from a Psych (Psychology) Perspective,” said that the parents of Generation Z which covers those born from the mid-1990s to the present day should be more conscious of their role in building the character of their children.

The NAST organized the round table discussion among educators as it recognized the need for educators, academicians and scientists to identify policy recommendations to support paradigm shifts in teaching and learning that needs to be done to address the unique needs of the younger generation or children aged 6 years to 16 years.

Chua said that the ADMU had recognized the need to look into the issue of depression among children way back in 2003, and had even conducted a “resilience study” in 2004.

“We found that parenting plays such a huge role,” Chua said on the matter of depression among school children.

Suicide, she said, was linked to many factors but children will resort to it if there was a confluence of mainly three precipitating factors namely underlying family problems which may cover finances, romantic problems with their girlfriends and/or boyfriends, and low grades.

“It’s not just tuition and the lack of money,” Chua said.

Chua said that there was a need to develop resilience among children today and that parents play a huge role in this. “We need to develop them (resilient children) today,” Chua said.

To do this, Chua said that parents should assume the job of motivating their children and teaching them to handle failure early in life, as well as set beliefs about success.

Chua said that children need at least one positive role model. Children, she said should also be challenged to meet high expectations but should also be guided by their parents in the effort. 

In setting beliefs about success, parents should said this was attainable by maximizing potentials.

“Praise effort, not ability,” Chua advised.

Chua said that parents should mind that “parents are parents, not barkada”. In the conference, educators recognized the need for paradigm shifts in teaching and learning considering the exposure of the Gen Z children to the Internet which they can easily access through the latest hi-tech gadgets such as tablet computers and smartphones.

Professor Alleli Ester C. Domingo, deputy director of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Physics of UP Los Banos, said that educators should take on the challenge to adopt teaching techniques to hold the short attention span caused by the distractions of television and the Internet, as well as computer games.

“One of the greatest challenges facing educators today is how to engage a generation of learners who grew up playing computer games and who spend a great deal of time texting, social networking via Facebook or Twitter and watching TV,” Domingo said.

Domingo said that at the UPLB, they were developing learning modules that exploit the positive values promoted by the current popular massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPG) such as Defense of the Ancients more popularly known as DOTA.

She said that the game was seen to promote problem solving skills, decision making under uncertainty, and competitiveness.

“Games can be harnessed for good, actually,” Domingo said.

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