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News & Features

Oct 22, 2020

Teachers and Students Join Insular Foundation's Online Forum

Insular Foundation hosted “Alt+Tab: Shifting to the Next Normal” for Gold Eagle scholars, alumni, and teachers. The online learning session was all about distance learning, mental well-being, and post-pandemic career prospects. It was attended by almost 200 participants via Zoom and viewed by 1,300 users on Facebook. 


Dr. Dennis Rebueno, Chief Education Program Specialist of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) - National Capital Region, said new flexible learning modes are in place to ensure quality education during the new normal. He pointed out that education for the youth is not the sole responsibility of the schools, but a shared responsibility of the community. 

“We have to learn as one,” he said.


Ben Ampil, a Neuroscience Coach, pointed out that stress is the number one problem during the pandemic. He explained that from the first level of calm, increasing the stress level also increases the performance level. He added that good stress or “Eustress” optimizes performance but beyond this level comes bad stress, fear or distress.


“If the stressors in life are equal to our life skills or life experiences, then we are on balance. But if the stressors outweigh our life skills, it tilts against our favor. That’s when problems begin to show. And that’s also when we enter the realm of fear and distress, and our performance declines,” he said. 


Coach Ben shared neuroscience findings and practical advise to maintain mental wellness, manage stress, and improve academic or career performance:

• Consider the Pomodoro technique, a time management method which includes breaking the task into 25-minute segments. Work for 25 minutes Fully Focused and then Really Relaxed for 5 minutes.

• Use your brain to your advantage. In ordering food delivery, you type in what you will order. In the same way, you can type “problems in your life” or “things you can be thankful for."

• To develop a habit, either think about getting a reward or avoiding penalty.

• Practice self-care by following the acronym SELFISH. Sleep. Exercise. Laugh. Eat good Food. Invest in learning. Get some Sunlight. Help others.

• Try self-coaching using the Grab app as analogy. Ask yourself four questions: Where are you? Where do you want to go? How do you want to go there? How do you know if you’re there?

• Using Albert Einstein’s E=mc2 in neuroscience: Emotions create Memories that make us do Conscious Choices.

• In order to keep you grounded, do not react emotionally. The emotional brain has 10 second head-start over the intellectual brain.


Licensed psychologist Prof. Mariflor “Yeng” Gatchalian also discussed self-care during uncertain times.


“The best vaccine we can have is mental health. You can make good decisions, solve practical problems,” she said.


Prof. Yeng shared simple tips to main mental health and well-being:

 • Smiling is one of the best self-care. When you smile, you look good and feel good; and you make other people look and feel good.

• Self-care includes time management.

• Always think of the word CARE. Create a routine. Maintain a sense of Awareness of what’s happening. Take Recognition: it is also good to know what’s not good. Express and engage yourself in conversations with the right persons, in the right way, and at the right time.

• Never stop learning.

• Be mindful, be in the present moment. Enjoy, express gratitude, and do not complain all the time.

• Pray. If you have faith, it adds to your confidence, self-esteem, and efficacy or your ability to do things.

• Forgive yourself and others. What you can only control is how you manage your life now.