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Transforming Jingdou: Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement

“How will you paint a transformed Jingdou?”

Mentoring specialist, Dr. Severina Villegas, posted this question to the participants of a Teacher Training Seminar on April 2, 2011, at 10:00 am. 18 teachers and FEEA development staff were gathered together in Jingdou for a special workshop with our invited guest, Dr. Villegas, who came all the way from the Philippines.

Creating a culture of continuous improvement “has its roots in Mentoring and Coaching”, explained Dr. Villegas. She further states that “Mentoring and Coaching are different since the latter is more focused on the coachee's specialization – in the case of Jingdou teachers, it is ESL/EFL teaching. It is also an informal chat that helps the coachee process the theories learned and its applications”. Coaching becomes the springboard for continuous improvement, where a structured way of coaching is the best way to help each one. Although improvement involves the organization, the stakeholders and the society, it always starts with an individual's improvement.

During the first part of the workshop, Dr. Villegas invited the participants to articulate their personal vision within the context of their professional vision as ESL/EFL teachers, leading them to professional development plans. She clarified the inter-relationship between personal and professional vision. For one thing, personal vision gives purpose to why we do things. Without personal vision, there won't be professional vision. Although the participants have their own personal visions and different views, there's a core belief, and this is the moral value of Justice.

"Professional growth helps us (teachers) as well as our students since we can give to our students what they ought to receive – this then is dictated by the sense of Justice”

Personal and professional vision are interactive and the realization of our personal vision is needed for professional development. The cliché, “the more you learn, the more you can serve”, goes into the limelight. One's professionalism is not just for the benefit of oneself and should not be placed in a vacuum but it is something shared with students.

The second part of the workshop was a discussion of the personal vision of the participants in the context of the vision and mission of Jingdou Language Centre. The seamless character between the teacher's personal vision and the school's vision articulates a coherent picture because of a vision that they share. Everyone identified their vision with the vision of Jingdou, where they are committed to high quality language training as well as in the holistic development of persons and making sure that Jingdou has a casual and friendly atmosphere that brings out the best in people.

This shared vision is then the key to transforming Jingdou, where the source is in the continuous improvement of the teachers, who learn to prioritize, clarify and comprehend what students need to know. Multi-tasking, which is also switch-tasking, is a priority paradox since in reality, multi-tasking jeopardizes effectiveness. In conclusion, it is important to focus, i.e. to teach few things but with depth and breadth. Doing this means the teacher is always thinking of the development of the students. As a consequence, one is living up to a useful phrase: help yourself so you can help others.


Dr. Severina Villegas serves as a consultant to the various Values Development Programs of private and public schools in the Philippines. She also conducts seminars to educators on the National Culture of Excellence (NCE), Values Development, Values Integration, Civic Education. Moreover, she participated in conferences & dialogues on Women Issues, Youth Development, Values Development, Teacher Development and related topics in Hong Kong, India, Macao, Malaysia, Nigeria, Rome, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Toronto.

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