The Teacher’s Gallery, together with SMX Convention Center Manila, and SM Cares Foundation, organized the First International Leadership Summit and Seminar in Inclusive Education. This three-day event is being held on February 22-24, 2017 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. With the theme, “I AM YOU: Opening Minds, Opening Hearts,” the summit is a one-of-a-kind gathering of educators, legislators, local government officials, parents and students that advocate inclusive education.
Pocholo “The VoiceMaster” Gonzales was invited to host the first day of the summit, together with Ada Cuaresma, one of Pochology Academy’s trainers and speakers. Together with Biboy, a 4th-year PWD student from Centro Escolar University, they led the audience through a day of fun and learning about inclusive education.
The day started with a doxology and the singing of the Philippine National Anthem, led by the Philippine School for the Blind and the School for the Deaf. Soon after, Pocholo, Ada and Biboy started the program with high energy as they welcome the participants. The opening remarks was delivered by Engr. Bien C. Mateo, Vice President for Operations and Director of SM Cares Program on Persons with Disability.
There were three speakers during the morning session. The keynote speaker was Professor Tony Booth from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Tony is the author of “Index for Inclusion: A guide to school development led by inclusive values”. He shared his 30 years of experience in researching, teaching and writing about inclusive education.
After Professor Booth’s talk, the VoiceMaster came back onstage to energize the audience with an icebreaker. He also introduced the art of voice acting to the teachers, and emphasized the importance of using the voice effectively in teaching especially persons with disability in class. He also amazed the audience with his voice acting prowess by performing a one-man radio drama onstage.
Mr. Erick Marco Ramos was the next speaker, who shared his success story of thriving despite disability. Erick is the first blind person to qualify for the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program administered by the US Fullbright Commission. He talked about his experiences and the lessons he learned along the way.
The last speaker in the morning was Dr. Stella Manalo, head of the Center for Developmental Pediatrics of The Medical City. She shared her experiences in handling young PWD patients, and shared valuable insights to parents and teachers on how to do their part in developing these children.
After lunch, there were several parallel sessions for paper presentations and mini-seminars on inclusive education.