Chapter 5

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

“Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.”—John Holt

 During the pandemic I had an opportunity to spend time with my nephews. I felt that as we hunkered down together, I would have a chance to spend uninterrupted time with them. I flew to Toronto to spend 2 months working remotely. It was perfect. I would work hard and spend some much needed quality time during my break. Interestingly enough, that wasn’t the case. Expecting the kids to be running around, I was instead met with a surprising silence. As I looked around the house, I realized that like me the kids were focused on working remotely. Remote education was definitely something that wasn’t around when I was a kid. For decades, the concept of kids sitting attentively in class while learning their ABC’s was how we learned. Although homeschooling has been around for some time, the pandemic took it to a new level.

Change is inevitable however there are some sectors, industries and institutions that have been very slow to change. The education system is one of them. In this chapter I discuss how the age-old institution of education was not immune to change and how the pandemic changed this system. What was more rigid in nature is now more than ever catering to the way the individual learns.  

  • Changes in the Education System: Going Online
  • COVID-19 and the New World of Distance Learning
  • Everyone Learns Differently: Styles and Formats
  • How I pivoted: Alicia Siervo, President of Seniors in Action, a non-profit organization
  • How I pivoted: University of Toronto, Filipino Student Association of Scarborough, a non-profit student association
Contributing Author:

Alicia Siervo

President of Seniors in Action

The one quote that has been the motto of Alicia Siervo has been to “aspire to inspire before you expire”. This simply means to positively influence an individual into action so that they fulfill their innermost desires before they die.
Alicia Siervo lives this motto to a tee. As an immigrant from the Philippines, Alicia is a testament of the immigrant story. She dedicated her career in public service and rose through the ranks in multiple ministries within the Canadian Provincial government. Whether it was awards in leadership, creation of protocols for inclusion and diversification or fostering a team based environment, her reach and influences are still felt long after she retired.

Now in retirement, she has dedicated her life to inspiring senior citizens in the latter chapters of life. Age is nothing but a number. Her community experience as the former president of the Filipino Community Association of Highland Creek and the former president of Choro Filipino, can be handy as he helps build Seniors in Action.

What started off as a small group of seniors seeking company and activities, has grown to an organization that provides exercise class, technology class, biography writing classes, singing and daily walks. As an avid reader she was also inspired to create programs to provide ipads so that seniors can read books, connect with family and write their biographies.

Her impact is not only felt within her generation but through several. As a born mentor, she reached out to highschool students and university students to collaborate in joint mentorship programs. High School students could mentor seniors on social media while University students could provide assistance on fundraising and outreach. Seniors in turn would provide years of wisdom to the younger generation. This program allowed the bridging of generations and cultures as seniors and the youth jointly seek purpose.

Filipino Student Association of Scarborough (FSAS)

Hello, we are the Filipino Students Association of Scarborough (FSAS) from the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC). FSAS is a recognized campus organization dedicated to creating an inviting, safe space to connect, celebrate and showcase the Filipino culture and history. The organization’s main goal is to encourage students from different programs, levels of undergraduate study, and cultures to form bonds with each other for a more memorable university experience. Our club was founded in 2018 and has been on the rise of establishment as one of UTSC’s official known campus clubs. Throughout the growing years, FSAS has accomplished and hosted many social events, which was the starting point of our growth to become a recognized and familiar club within the UTSC and Scarborough community. We have also hosted fundraiser initiatives for the people in need in the Philippines, for hospitals needing extra PPE to care for those affected with the ongoing COVID-19 virus, and to the farmers who were affected by the several typhoons.

Instagram: @fsas.utsc

Facebook: fsas.utsc