Steve Jobs said something so profound that I thought it is appropriate to make the connection. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward,” he said. So when I first featured Martine de Luna, I had no idea it would lead to the next featured person, Missy Castro. And now, it is with great pleasure that I introduce Pia Morato.

Before we get started. Let me ask you something. What is it that is more important to the future of a country other than education?

Succession is one of the key responsibilities of leadership. – Max de Pree

I believe the key to a better future is in giving the future generation proper education. And it’s not only in academics but also in all aspects of life. Without a foundation to build upon, how then could the future generation progress?

Being a college dropout, I am not an authority. God did bless me with the opportunity to meet a new friend. When it comes to education, Pia Morato is an authority.

Pia Morato on Education

Pia Morato was a vice-president of the prestigious Linden Tree Institute. Besides the administrative tasks, she also taught English and Spanish language.

Furthermore, Pia became a consultant for the government including:

  • Department of Education
  • Early Childhood Care and Development Council of the Office of the President
  • House of Representatives
  • Senate of the Philippines

Pia Morato is also the liaison officer between Spain and the Philippines.

Picking Pia Morato’s Brain

Defining Success

How do you define success and can you share how your upbringing contributed to your success?

“Hi, Robert! Thank you for taking the time to feature me. At most, as I always say, it never is about me but rather, my advocacy which is education as I myself am a teacher.”

“Life has taught me so many valuable lessons through the years. So the meaning of success for me goes beyond the material or societal accomplishments. To me, success is about staying focused on your goal no matter how many times you fall. In my own life, I have learned and still, continue to learn that failure is just a part of the process. Learning and staying committed to your journey, along with all the ups and downs, is what makes us successful in the end.”

“My parents always made sure that my siblings and I grew up understanding that every single person in this life has value. And they always say, ‘It’s not all about us.’ We grew up learning how to always put ourselves in other people’s shoes. It was in being able to do this that we learned to appreciate different perspectives. In understanding this, we learned to be compassionate to others, as well as appreciate our own individual talents and skills.”

“Since this was the value in our home, I believe it was also what helped my siblings and I strive to achieve our goals.”

Evolution of the System of Education

Pia, what was it like when you first started teaching and how have the methods of teaching changed?

“In my first few years as a teacher, I went out of my way to help students love my subject. I taught Spanish and understood that it was a language they did not speak at home. So I placed the challenge on myself, rather than on my students. I made sure I explored creative ways to make them love learning Spanish.”

“I made all sorts of review papers, which in the eyes of others, was tantamount to spoiling. In my mind, I believed my approach had to be different since my students never spoke the language at home.”

“In those days, I already felt that we needed to adjust our educational system and make it learner based. Looking back, it makes me smile a bit to think how others considered my teaching style unusual. Fast-forwarding to the present, a more learner-based approach is proving to be so much more effective. I think the restricted attitude towards learning is more common in traditional setups. It is a system more or fewer people became accustomed to through the years.”

Parents’ Role in Child Education

Children’s education is not limited to the school. It seemed to me that parents’ perception of education varies.

What are your thoughts on the role and mindset of parents when it comes to children’s education?

“Robert, I agree with you when you say that parents can do a better job by guiding and educating their children at home. This is where the thrust of early childhood education takes place. I remember having limited means as a young mother. But I was determined to mold my children as best as I could even before their formal schooling.”

“Being parents also mean being our children’s first educators (primary educators). We do have the responsibility to begin their education with us at home. By doing this, we empower our children as they begin formal schooling. Furthermore, we empower their teachers by providing them with the basic skills their teachers could build upon.”

“I can honestly tell you that I have been on both sides – as a parent and as a teacher. As both parent and teacher, I maintained the same approach. I did my best to work together with my children’s teachers from the standpoint of a parent. And I did the same as a teacher towards the parents of my students.”

“I aimed not only to encourage my children to excel in academics. I also committed myself to help ensure, as a team, to see to it while in school, side by side with my own personal upbringing, my children or my students for that matter will not only do well in their subjects but most of all, grow up to be a whole person.”

Pia Morato on the Spanish Language

I grew up learning 4 languages including Mandarin, a language I never used after high school.

It was not until a few years ago on a series of trips to China when I realized how important the language was. It would have made transacting business easier if I could still speak Mandarin.

How important is it to learn Spanish and is our educational system adapting to the necessity?

“I often tell my students to practice speaking in Spanish because I was certain that they would use it one day. I got a teaching job because of my knowledge of another language. Even then, I wanted to open the eyes of my learners and try to envision their future.”

“I believe that so much has been done to further encourage and promote the learning of the Spanish language. The Department of Education has answered the call to what was named as the ‘Renaissance of the Spanish Language’. Once upon a time, Spanish was in our school curriculum. And so it was but fitting to have this wonderful revival of learning.”

“In my opinion, it is no longer a luxury to learn a foreign language but rather a necessity, especially in the 21st century. K-12, which has been implemented into law includes, as I understand, fluency in a second language.”

“What is wonderful to note is that most especially in the case of the Spanish language, it is so ingrained in our heritage. In fact, about eleven thousand words in the Filipino language is derived from Spanish. Putting together now our heritage and the economic value of ‘re-learning’ Spanish further puts us at par in the global market and not to mention, protects our own national identity, since our national archives were written in Spanish.”

Unknown Filipino Heritage

You’re right, Pia. It’s hard to have a national identity if we could not know much about our history.

Are there still tons of materials in the national archive that historians have yet to translate?

“I believe that it could be true Robert. Knowing this should further hasten the Filipino spirit, especially the youth, as they are the future protectors of our nation. More so, it would be a shame on our part to have to one day rely on foreign professionals to help us translate our OWN archives because no Filipino could.”

Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makakarating sa paroroonan. – Jose Rizal

The Changing System of Education

On education, what are the immediate issues today and where do you see our educational system ten years from now?

“Oh, that is a good question. I can only answer this with a heart full of hope that one day, we, as a people, can unite to resolve the many issues in education. The Department of Education cannot solve such issues on their own. It entails everyone’s contribution.”

“We are talking about years and years of what should have and could improve and moving on to more years of building and re-building. We need to work together.”

“I have been so blessed to have EDUCATION RADIO as it has helped us connect with one another to help so many others.”

“I have had secretaries of Education and assistant secretaries allotting time to reach out to our people on updates and issues. I’ve had diplomats, performing artists, educators, filmmakers, historians, financial experts and so much more, all in their own fields, dedicated to improving the state of our educational system through the airwaves.”

“All I can say is that even if there is so much more that needs to be done, I am fueled not only by my passion but by the hearts of all those who sincerely want to help.”

“Ten years from now, if we just continue on with the proper mindset, I am hopeful that the state of our educational system will change for the better. It’s simple Robert. All we have to do is adopt an attitude of life-long learning. This is the mindset. It is a humble one but surely effective. If we truly understand this, surely we will ALL succeed.”

Recommended Books

Not everyone is into basketball, but the name Kobe Bryant should be recognizable. He is one of the greatest basketball players in history and one of the keys to his success is his never-ending quest for excellence.

More than the skills and talent, Kobe was a student of the game.

Early on in his professional career, Kobe had the opportunity to meet then US president Bill Clinton at the White House. One of the things Kobe did was to ask the president what books he read that contributed to his success as a politician and leader.

I am a big fan of personal development, and this is something I have stated again and again. The world’s most successful and influential people always tell us to read.

Pia, what books do you recommend to our readers and why?

“When it comes to books, I am a great fan of the classics such as Pride and Prejudice, Anne: The Green Gables Collection, Sense and Sensibility, Little Women and The Count of Monte Cristo. All of which have taught me about simplicity in life, kindness, courage, wit, authenticity, and forgiveness.”

Inspiration from Pia Morato

Pia, before I let you go. One of the things I always ask is for final words of motivation for our readers.

Any words for our wonderful visitors and readers on this blog?

“Being a humanities graduate, culture, arts, and language has always been my biggest interest. I’ve always felt that there’s so much to discover still about the world … more so, about each other hence why I truly believe in cultivating the attitude of lifelong learning in all of us.”

“Much, in my opinion, of the sadness that is brought upon this world is really a result of pride. People should learn to open up and truly understand what it means to relate to one another.”

“The simple practice of give and take is sadly taken for granted … even while driving on the road do we see how this act could easily resolve traffic issues and avoid accidents.”

“We all have our contributions to make and now is the time for all of us to get our acts together. We can no longer afford the delays as our society continues to bear the cudgels of the results in our conduct. In my humble opinion, education is the antidote to so many of our woes. It is just a matter of learning and continuing to learn, and looking at this process as a beautiful and life changing one.”

Pia Morato Invites You

“Please tune-in to EDUCATION Radio. Our show is evolving and I am pleased to announce that I have a new co-host with me on board – one of my oldest friends who is also a teacher herself, Missy Castro. EDUCATION RADIO airs every Saturday from 9-10am on DZRJ 810 AM, the Voice of the Philippines, the historical Radyo Bandido.”

Final Thoughts

When I wrote Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace), I said, “What you are today is the result of the choices you made in the past.”

Think about this. Without proper education, how could children today make better decisions that will shape their life in the future? If we could not take education to the next level, how could children today be the best versions of themselves someday?

Our appreciation of educators and advocates of education is one thing. What have we done to raise the standards of our educational system?

It begins at home with our own children.

How do you educate and prepare them for the future?

Thanks for reading and I hope you learned as much as I did. Thanks, Pia Morato.