Seven students from the United Graduate School for Professional Teacher Education participated in field work at G. K. Enchanted Farm, an organization run by an international Philippine NGO, from February 19-23.
G. K. Enchanted Farm is the main facility of the Philippines’ largest international NGO, Gawad Kalinga (GK), an organization dedicated to pulling 5 million families out of poverty by 2024. Covering an area ten times that of Tokyo Dome, the facility is home to a language school, university, cafe, cottages, agricultural areas and a resident community. It receives interns from around the world constantly. On this field work trip, the students learned about the NGO’s strategies for combatting poverty through entrepreneurship and training initiatives that promote a sustainable society. Their goal was to contribute to development of a curriculum to prepare teachers for a global society.
Their first stop was Palette School, a language school run by a Japanese NPO. The school is attended by young people from impoverished areas of the Philippines, who are then hired as instructors. The students studied English and learned about the youth employment support programs. They also met with students from the School for Experiential and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED), who talked about their experience before and after the school.
Next, they attended a lecture on social entrepreneurship by entrepreneurs aimed at solving social problems such as poverty. Entrepreneurs who have started up the cosmetic company Human Nature, the toy company Plush & Play and the foods company Golden Duck talked about the background and the process of developing their startups at the NGO and about their employees. On the fourth day, the students took part with Palette School staff in a discussion and presentation about what the school can do with its resources.
After they returned home, the students presented on their five-day field work experience and project at a university-wide research conference and gave a graduation school presentation, explaining their preparations prior to the trip, how the global teacher training curriculum proposal they were considering before the trip changed due to what they learned from the NGO’s initiatives, and the disorientation and difficulties they experienced in the Philippines.
The students who participated in the field work commented that they “absorbed a lot from the perspective of human resource development” and that they “felt the strong desire to end poverty.” One of the attendees at the presentation stated, “I believe it is a curriculum that will be very important for the society to come.”
Graduate school Associate Professor Makiko Tanaka, who led the field work, said that she hopes to “develop curriculum that includes teaching practice in Philippine schools and ties with Philippine universities.”