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The Current Values of UA&P Students Regarding Moral and Social Issues and Their Attitudes Towards Them

The Current Values of UA&P Students Regarding Moral and Social Issues and Their Attitudes Towards Them

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Published by Robert Z. Cortes
Paper presented at the
UNIV Asia Forum 2011 – 3rd University Congress
Manila (Philippines), January 2011 (1st Prize winner)
and the
UNIV Forum 2012 – 44th University Congress
Rome (Italy), April 2011(1st Prize winner)
Paper presented at the
UNIV Asia Forum 2011 – 3rd University Congress
Manila (Philippines), January 2011 (1st Prize winner)
and the
UNIV Forum 2012 – 44th University Congress
Rome (Italy), April 2011(1st Prize winner)

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Published by: Robert Z. Cortes on Sep 15, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/20/2013

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1
“Living freedom decisively” 
 
Are the present UA&P students ready to be formed infreedom: The current values of UA&P students regardingmoral and social issues and their attitudes towards them
University of Asia and the Pacific (Pasig City, Philippines):
 
Instructor: Mr. Robert Cortes
Lecturer, English Department
 
University of Asia and the Pacific 
 
Anthony Lumicao
 
2nd year College of Arts and Sciences student
University of Asia and the Pacific 
 
Jericho Pascual
 
2nd year College of Arts and Sciences student
University of Asia and the Pacific 
 
Martin Verdejo
 
2
nd
year School of Sciences and Engineering student
University of Asia and the Pacific 
 Lanz Oliveros
 
1
st
year School of Sciences and Engineering student
University of Asia and the Pacific 
 Simon Arciaga
 
1
st
year College of Arts and Sciences student
University of Asia and the Pacific 
 
German dela Paz
 
1
st
year College of Arts and Sciences student
University of Asia and the Pacific 
 
Paper presented at the
 
UNIV Asia Forum 2011
 – 
3
rd
University Congress
 
Manila (Philippines), January 2011 (1
st
Prize winner)and theUNIV Forum 2012
 – 
44
th
University CongressRome (Italy), April 2011(1
st
Prize winner)
 
2
Introduction
The Credo of the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) affirms that this University aspiresto teach its students to live freedom decisively. It states that it wishes to form "individuals whoare professionally competent, creative and enterprising, zealous for the common good, andcapable of making free, morally upright choices, and who can thus act as positive agents of change and service to society." (
“About UA&P,”
2010) The seriousness with which theUniversity is taking this mission of forming individuals who make decisive use of their freedomcan be seen in the number and quality of programs which are implemented to this end. Theseprograms include the academic curriculum itself which "always include courses in social andprofessional ethics," (
“Credo and Hallmarks,” 2010
) and mentoring chats which are "one-on-onesessions between mentor and student (that) aim to bring the integration of knowledge, skills, andvalues down t
o the personal level" (“Mentoring,” n.d.
). It should be noted that the kind of mentoring program which UA&P has is singular to it. It demands a lot of manpower investmentfrom the University, since absolutely everyone in the University - from students to staff member- is assigned a mentor who is to meet with his or her mentees on a regular basis.Moreover, UA&P, through its social development arm implements programs that include "valuesformation, general and technical education, health and nutrition, environmental quality, andcooperativism" seeking to "enable people, particularly the poor and marginalized, to helpthemselves" (
“Credo and Hallmarks,” 2010
). Even research in this university, formerly knownas the "Center f 
or Research and Communication,”
has this same end of forming people in thedecisive use of freedom since it "aims, above all, at a synthesis of humanistic, professional,scientific, and technical knowledge, inspired by a Christian view of man"
(“Credo andHallmarks,” 2010).
Given these facts about the University's mission, vision, and credo, a study
which focuses on students’ current values and attitudes to social and moral issue
seems to bemost germane to UA&P. The University of Asia and the Pacific is clearly one institution, if any,that will most benefit from this study which involve areas that demand the decisive use of freedom.Forming people means teaching them, and in the business of teaching, it is a truism that teachersmust start where the students are (Jackson, 2009). The Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence of the Carnegie Mellon University affirms this principle when it advises educators to acquire
“relevant knowledge about students and using that knowledge to inform
...course designand...teaching." (
“Teaching Principles,” n.d.
). This principle is supported by another principle,this time one of learning, that whatever students know beforehand can either aid or impedelearning. (
“Learning Principles,” n.d.
). Furthermore, Brophy and Wentzel (2010) assert thatstudents are more likely to appreciate what they learn if they know that what they are learning isrelevant to their needs.The two previously mentioned principles imply that if the University is to be successful in itsgoals of "integral formation of the human person, the fullest development of everything that ishuman in the individual," (
“Credo and Hallmarks,” 2010
), it would be most beneficial for it toknow just "where the students are," that is, what their present values and attitudes are towardscertain specific areas that entail the decisive use of freedom. These areas include the veryconcept of freedom itself, sexual morality, authority, civic involvement, etc. While not knowing
 
3
these may not necessarily imply that the University will fail in its endeavor of forming people, itcan be argued that the more the University knows the situation and needs of its target audience(the students), the better they will be able to address them.For example, in mentoring, the mentor does not deliver or share ideas to a mere abstraction; heor she gives advice to a very specific human person. This fact should be very clear to everyUA&P mentor since the very first statement of the University's credo states that for theUniversity, "education is a lifelong process, and its focal point is and should always be theindividual person." (
Credo and H
allmarks,” 2010
) Students come into the University withknowledge, beliefs, values and attitudes picked up from their families, previous schools, andother influences. All of these meld into a myriad of personal characteristics that can be crucial toa student's reception of what is being given as advice or taught in the classroom. When studentsbring all these prior "education" into the University and its formative programs, the way theyfilter and interpret what they learn is ultimately affected. For example, a person's present valueson sexual morality can influence how he or she sees the present Reproductive Health Bill; and aperson's prior knowledge about contraception (whether correct or erroneous) shapes his or herreception of this teaching of the Church as expounded on by his or her mentor or Theologyprofessor. In issues such as these, it is clearly to the University's advantage to know what thestudents already know and believe so that they tailor programs and approaches to be moreappropriate and relevant to the students. Although it may not be possible to adequately knoweverything about everyone along these lines, having a general sense of where the students arecoming from can help the university in determining not only which areas of formation to focuson in terms of individual and collective means, but also the approach to take, so thatimplementing such formation is done in the best and most effective way.The timeliness of knowing the values and attitudes of the present UA&P students as regards theareas mentioned is all the more emphasized in the light of the McCann-Erickson IntergenerationStudy, a study made in 2006 to "provide a holistic understanding of the generations of adult
Filipino consumers through an extensive exploration of the different dimensions of people’s
lives, covering general lifestyle, mindsets, values and belief systems, personality traits andarchetypes." A similar study using the same base-questionnaire design was also done in 1992 and2000 and the results of these studies were then used as comparison to the 2006 study. Forexample, in this study where 501 youth between 12 to 20 years old were surveyed, it was foundout that only 53% of youth live with both parents, although not necessarily because of the motheror father being away but also because of the teens leaving home to attend school. Thisphenomenon of "teen migration" increased from 2000 to 2005 by between 13 - 22%(
 Intergeneration
, 2006). This fact is significant since it is a generally accepted fact that amongFilipinos, parents are a big influence on the children's morality.What is possibly more interesting for this study is that in the McCann-Erickson 2006 study, itwas found out that:
 
across all activities covered in the study, only the use of illegal drugs and, to a certain
extent, cheating on one’s boyfriend or girlfriend are considered outright wrong.
 
 
for many other things, only about 6 out of 10 consider these wrong: taking somethingwithout paying, use of violence, drugs, drunk driving, suicide, marital infidelity, andcasual sex.

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