A shift in the Filipino’s interest is gleaned from Nueva Ecija teachers encouraging their elementary students to visit museums to complement school learning.
“We want our students to be better persons when they grow up so we are exposing them to other educational institutions that will help shape their perceptions about themselves and the world,” Dr. Genalyn Tangonan, Principal III of Maligaya Elementary School in Muñoz, said.
Organized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Science City of Muñoz, the recent visit to the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) brought in around 5,000 children, aged 3 to 12 years old.
“With their visit, our students learned that growing rice is not easy for it undergoes processes. They were amazed by the biodiversity in the rice field and they had fun going to the experimental fields, exploring on the different rice varieties,” Tangonan said.
In 2012, Kenneth Esguerra, senior curator and conservation head of the Ayala Museum noted that more Filipinos still prefer visiting malls than museums. However, this year, Isa Lorenzo, Silverlens Galleries founder, remarked that “more Filipinos are lining up at museum and galleries.”
“There are many, many more people (of different ages) interested. They like to ask questions and they are willing to commit to learning,” Lorenzo said.
As preparations for the children’s visit, Diadem Esmero, Rice Science Museum senior curator, said the team developed a program suited for the children’s age.
“The primary audience of our museum is the farmers; but we are expanding our themes and concepts for our young visitors to understand the science, culture, and technology of rice. We identified games and programmed series of story-telling, farm visits, and multi-media shows to encourage the children to finish eating their rice and appreciate farmers’ hard work. More than anything, it is the museum’s role to impart values to the future generation,” Esmero said.
According to children education researchers Jay Greene, Brian Kisida, and Daniel H. Bowen, museum visits are “productive as it exposes students to a diversity of ideas that challenge them with different perspectives on the human condition.”
“Visiting museum exposes students to a diversity of ideas, peoples, places, and time periods, which leads to significant effects on critical thinking, historical empathy, and tolerance. Interestingly, museum visits increased student tolerance by 7%,” the researchers concluded.
The Rice Science Museum of PhilRice, the country’s lead in rice research and development, has regional museums in Batac City, Ilocos Norte and in San Mateo, Isabela. For visits, contact 0908-866-1763 or the PhilRice Text Center at 09209111398.