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EDS 103

Entry 9: Hooray for the Finals!

Ah! Here it is! The final examinations! Last push for the last hurdle! For most students, the final examinations are the most dreaded and at the same time most anticipated event for any course or subject. It is dreaded because students expects the teachers to give a comprehensive type of exam (covering all the topics from the beginning of the class), or would include very tough and difficult questions, or both. It is also anticipated because this marks the end of classes, and for some this means moving-on with their academic journey or with their lives.

I share these expectations, until I saw the instructions for this final exam. First time— first time to encounter such type of final examinations. Imagine, you provide your questions, formulate objectives and write your own answers. It is more difficult than any student can think. It required me to think a lot, synthesize what I learned from all of the modules in 2-3 pages only! Wheeeew!

The final examination is a challenge, a challenge for me to think and to think more deeply. It made me analyze what I learned for the past several months. I have to go back and review my lessons. It forced me to read more and research more. Honestly, there are a lot of new terms to me this term since we talked about learning, knowledge, theories and epistemological beliefs. I had difficulty comprehending. A good preparation for this examination is the assignment that we did per group. It made me grasp more about the theories.

I chose the preschool application as it is close to my heart. My only child is currently in preschool and I am his after school teacher at home. I supplement the teaching done in school and of course practice what I learn in UPOU’s PTC program.

I am uncertain whether my final examination meets the requirement of our professor. I am not sure if it is something that proves what I have learned so far in EDS 103 or even in my three terms in PTC. But I am hopeful.

I felt a relief doing the final examinations even if it being difficult as I have mentioned. I consider this as a relief because finally the term has come to an end and I have finished another course in PTC. At the start of the term I almost gave up, I saw the requirements in the course and I thought I could not handle given my work and household obligations. But I did survive!

This is it. The last push for the last hurdle. I have crossed the finish line and it is done. The only thing left to do is to wait for the score cards. I am relieved, contented, and moving-on to the next.

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EDS 103

Entry 8: Epistemological belief

Epistemological belief –being a non teacher by profession, this term is something new and alien to me. Based on my understanding of the module, epistemological beliefs are the “beliefs about the nature of knowledge.” That being said, epistemological beliefs may vary from one individual to another and maybe across industries and even discipline.

When I was an elementary student, I was amazed by one of my classmate’s ability to memorize. Almost every subject she would memorize her notebook which is just a copy of what the teacher is writing in the black board. At a very young age I would consider her smart just because of her ability to memorize just about anything and the effect is that, she was able to.

However, when I reached college, when the teacher hardly write anything in the blackboard and when I don’t carry as much notebooks as I used to, I realized that memorization is important but will not save your college life. The professors will discuss ideas and It is up to you to link it to the lessons and topics at hand. Suddenly your notebooks are not helpful anymore. The professor hardly write anything; just the topic for the day. It is impossible to memorize the book, and the professor uses multiple references. You will therefore have to rely on your own understanding of the lessons based on your readings, the lecture and cross-references.

Just like my peers back then, I thought learning is all about knowing the “who, what, where, when”. Now that I am much older, factual details are still important but learning for me is to understand and to be able to share what I learned.

Based on our EDS 103 Module, there are four dimensions of epistemological belief. This includes control, speed of learning, organization of knowledge and certainty of knowledge. Control in a sense that one person can control its ability to learn for instance, a student may focus to study. Speed of learning on the other hand believes that learning is correlated with the amount time invested in learning. Organization of knowledge on the other hand refers to how individuals organized bits and pieces of information and integrates these into understanding something more complex. Certainty of knowledge is understanding the clarity of knowledge and not subject to interpretation.

As in my epistemological belief illustrated above—I think it varies depending on your age level. Does it become sophisticated as you get more education or as you get older?   Probably yes, probably no. Let me know your thoughts…

EDS 103

Entry 7: Successful Learning

Reminiscing my days back in school, remembering what it was like in grade school, high school, college and masters. I would recall back in high school, after a long day of lectures and class activities, I was thinking if all these lessons are any useful in real life like in the workplace. Then I would reply to my own thought bubble that, well, if I’m going to be the lecturer of this boring class then I ought to know these things.

Then it hit me: if I cannot use all of these lessons and apply it in my own life, have I really learned?

As I go through life after college, I found the immediate need for my lessons back then – when I started working. My line of work is finance related so I employ all the knowledge I can muster from my courses in college. I thought that was it: all the years toiling through college and all I can use are my finance and economics related subjects. Apparently that’s not the case. As I move forward in my life I found other lessons in high school useful in my daily life, especially when I got my own family. Having my own family forced me to relive all my home economics class for managing the house like cooking, sewing, basic repair and so on. Actually, when you have a child, you are going to relive your preschool days as you try to teach your kids and help them with their homework. I expect this to continue as I help my child in his schooling moving forward.

So when do we say that we reached the level of successful learning? My layman’s view point is that successful learning is when I can use the knowledge I gained in school in my daily life, and to share this knowledge to someone else, most especially to your child and your students.

As future teachers, our goal is to ensure successful learning whatever the school level the student is; kinder, high school or even college. Successful learning occurs when students have deep understanding of the subject mater. Specifically, it is when students relate these ideas to previously known ideas, relate and apply the concepts to everyday experience. Also, successful learning would bring out the creativity in the individual whatever the field of study it is. Creativity does not only apply to music and the arts but also to other fields like business, in the sense of coming up with new ideas to promote a product or to strategize. In addition, successful learning occurs when students are motivated to learn more or motivated because they know their purpose. They have understanding of themselves and what they can do.

So teachers, let’s make sure our students will have deep understanding of their lessons, promote creative and critical thinking and motivate our students.  Let them feel that, they can chase their dreams and they can be bigger than they can imagine.

EDS 103

Entry 6: Piaget’s theory and lessons to kids’ first teachers

According to Piaget, knowledge is organized into different schemas, or sets of mental representations about the environment. When a new object or situation is encountered, it will either be: 1) consistent with the schema, or 2) inconsistent with the schema. If it’s no. 1, then it will be assimilated to an existing schema. If it’s no. 2, then it will be accommodated by changing an existing schema. This process goes on and on as we develop our intellect[1].

According to Piaget’s theory, there are four main stages of cognitive development:

  1. Sensorimotor with age from birth to 2 years – The mental structures are mainly concerned with the mastery of concrete objects.
  2. Preoperational with age from 2 years to 7 years – The mastery of symbols takes place.
  3. Concrete with age from 7 years to 11 years – Children learn mastery of classes, relations, and numbers and how to reason.
  4. Formal Operation with age from 11 years and up – The last stage deals with the mastery of thought.

I want to focus our discussion on Sensorimotor stage. This stage is characterized by the child experiencing their world through movement and senses. The child’s world is in the here and now, because it cannot yet be represented mentally. In a very literal sense, objects only exist when the child can actually sense them and interact with them. When objects are not being sensed, then they cease to exist to the child. This shows the idea of object permanence; a realization of the permanence of objects. The sensorimotor stage ends when a child acquires language, usually around age two[2].

Piaget’s theory has had a major impact on the theory and practice of education. It has helped to create a view where the focus of attention is on the idea of developmentally appropriate education where environments, curriculum, materials and instruction are consistent with student’s physical and cognitive abilities as well as their social and emotional needs[3].

The educational implication of Piaget’s theory is the adaptation of instruction to the learner’s development level, and the teachers’ job is the facilitation of learning by providing various experiences for the students[4].

For the Sensorimotor stage, remember that the following are the characteristics of this stage that we need to work with (especially as parents and as first teachers): lack of language and internal representation, focus on the reflexes that the child is born with such as sucking, reaching and grasping. In this stage of development the child eventually develops primary circular reactions, which are activities centered on the child’s body and repetitious in nature. To cater to this stage of cognitive development, here are some ideas for learning[5]:

  • Provide a rich stimulating environment. Stimulation through rattling sounds, variation of colors, differences in textures that the child can grab and touch provides the child a better understanding of the world around him.
  • Allow the child to experience cause-and-effect relationships. Playing with toys that squeak when squeezed (e.g., rubber ducky), or a toy rattle shows the child that certain actions has effects. At first when the child squeezes the toy, they will be surprised by the sound and why it happened. However, after some time the child will realize that by squeezing the toy they are the one causing the noise: if I squeeze the duck, it will squeak. Same goes for the toy rattle as the child will realize that the rattling sound will only be produced when shaken.
  • Playing peek-a-boo. This is a good way to practice object permanence. When the child cannot see you by covering your face with your hands, he will think you are gone, but then you appear again and the child has this bewilderment on his face. Do it again and again and the child will eventually grab your hand to uncover your face.

 

Sources:

http://piaget.weebly.com/educational-implications–activities.html

http://www.psychologyinaction.org/2013/04/21/piagets-stages-of-cognitive-development/

[1] Christina Schonberg. “Psychology Classics: Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development” http://www.psychologyinaction.org/2013/04/21/piagets-stages-of-cognitive-development/

[2] Stages of Cognitive Development. http://piaget.weebly.com/educational-implications–activities.html

[3] Ibid.,

[4] Ibid.,

[5] http://piaget.weebly.com/educational-implications–activities.html

EDS 103

Entry 5: My First Teacher, puto-seko and more memories

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My mother is my first teacher, I would recall her teaching me how to write and read as early as four years old. My first formal schooling was Preparatory and I was six years old then.

Let me tell you about my homeschooling experience with my mother. My mother is a housewife, she finished her college degree but decided to stay at home with us her children. I would recall that she bought me for a start; a colored green chalkboard, chalk with different colors, eraser, pad paper, pencils and sharpener.

I would recall that my mother will ask me to write a specific alphabet and to finish it from back to back of a paper. My only request is for her to buy me the colorful puto seko as a prize for completing the tasks. She taught me to spell three letter words like zoo, two, owl and many more.

I vividly recall these memories, I may have forgotten some portion of my teenage years and even from these recent years, but I do not forget these childhood memories. It came to me in an instant and no need for me to think deeply to recall.

The memory of my childhood maybe categorized as a long term memory and is also classified as declarative and procedural memory. Declarative memory is the part where I was able to recall my past experiences i.e., my mother as my first teacher. On the other hand, I knew how to read and write through that past experience and it was stored as a procedural memory, something that I use day-to-day.

From the personal experience that I shared, we can derive several implications to teaching practice and learning strategies as follows:

  1. Declarative and procedural knowledge caters to long-term memory. As we have seen, I was able to remember childhood memories that goes way back. This means that these type of memories are very useful for foundational knowledge like alphabet, basic counting, and so on, as memory retention is long and these fundamental lessons will help kids go through academic life by frequently retrieving these knowledge.
  2. Quality information is important. Imagine trying to teach a kindergarten false information. This information, if stored in long-term memory, shall be carried by the child until he grows up. Maybe later in life the student will learn that the information is incorrect, but the student will still remember it nonetheless. “I remember being taught that the sun sleeps behind the mountains at night, only to learn basic astronomy in school.” That is why it is important to teach quality information to kids and avoid pranking them with false information (even in a joking manner) as they will remember these for the rest of their lives.
  3. Declarative and procedural knowledge goes hand in hand. While it is important for students to be able to retrieve quality information from Declarative memory, the Procedural memory enables the student to remember faster. The sensation brought about by colorful school materials and the reward for accomplishing the task enables the student to recall three-letter words like zoo, two, owl and many more. At first, it may seem that declarative and procedural knowledge are used for two different purpose, but with the experience I shared, we can see that procedural memories was able to reinforce declarative knowledge.
  4. Make memory pleasant. Remember a terror teacher and your favorite teacher in school. Try to remember the lessons they taught you. Most likely, you will remember actual lessons from your favorite teacher, while you only remember the things your terror teacher do. Your favorite teacher is enough motivation to go to school and study his/her lessons, while you dread attending the class of your terror teacher and you wish every time that the class should be shortened or cancelled. Motivation plays an important part of memory retention, so teachers especially for pre-school, should check their attitude towards class.

The thing about long-term memories is that you also tend to associate the knowledge with the person who taught you. Because my mother is special to me, it makes me easier to remember the things she taught me even when I was a little girl.

Picture from https://theboylostinthecity.blogspot.com/2015/04/

Source:

Module 5. Cognitive Theories of Learning. EDS_103_3T_2016-17-Theories of Learning

EDS 103

Entry 4: Distance Learning and Self-Efficacy

In a distance learning class, there are few instances when we interact with our classmates and even with our teachers physically, but through the use of latest technology we can have virtual classrooms and reach out with teachers and other students through online chat. However, Bandura’s social learning theories are hinged through physical interaction. Thus, I think the most important behavior for learners to acquire is self-efficacy.

As defined, self-efficacy is “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations.” Distance learning provides flexibility in time so that the student can also pursue other activities, but it also entails fewer classroom interaction where we can pattern our behaviors or actions. Thus, it is important to establish a strong sense of self-efficacy for ourselves, believing that we can finish the course in our own time. To enhance our self-efficacy, we can go back to the four major sources of self-efficacy and see which areas we can improve on:

  1. Mastery experiences. Some of you might have taken Psychology class already so the lessons would be easier to understand. But for someone who is new in this field, it would take more work to build self-confidence in this area. As an example, the best way to deal with this is be prepared by reading more books on Psychology.
  2. Social modeling. It would be nice to talk to someone who did the same program before and learn their strategies or words of wisdom in dealing with the nuances of distance learning and choose which strategy is applicable. By knowing that this has been done before by someone with the same background will give you enough motivation to pursue and finish the course.
  3. Social persuasion. It would also be good to hear words of encouragement from your loved ones in order to get that moral boost to finish the course. Having your loved ones understand you and support you in this endeavor will give you the comfort of knowing that you are on the right track and eases your mind of worries, thus would focus your attention on finishing the course. My husband encourages me that I can finish this course! (wink)
  4. Psychological responses. Moods, emotional states, physical reactions, and stress levels can all impact how a person feels about their personal abilities in a particular situation. Sometimes we find it hard to finish assignments due to stress from work, or sometimes we find it hard to start an e-Journal because the mood is not right. It is important to acknowledge these factors as they affect the outcome of your work. Relaxing a bit or playing soothing music to relax your mind can help you focus and finish the school work at hand.

Studying in a distance learning course can provide the tremendous benefit of flexibility but also falls short in face to face interaction. Thus, in order to survive distance learning, improvements in self-efficacy is a must.

Source:

Cherry, Kendra. “Self Efficacy: Why Believing in Yourself Matters” 22 June 2016, https://www.verywell.com/what-is-self-efficacy-2795954

EDS 103

Entry 3: First day jitters in kindergartens and Classical Conditioning

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For our generation (born during the 80’s), looking back at our kindergarten years also marked the first time we step foot inside a school. It would be the first time to attend a formal class, first time to have friends as classmates, and first time to listen to a teacher. This is a totally different set-up when you used to pretend that your hour house is the school, your cousins as your friends, and your mother as your teacher. Some kids can take this change easily, while most children would demand that they see their guardians through the jalousies of the classroom window while the class is on-going.

While kids now are exposed to earlier forms of schooling like playschools (My son had this!), their experience to a formal educational institution is no different. Young students also face immense adjustments as the lessons becomes graded and subjects become structured, which used to be just activities or games in playschool. The challenge now is how to make these children at ease and smoothen the transition from playschool to formal school. We can use classical conditioning in order to address this issue.

According to Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov[1], classical conditioning is a learning process that occurs through associations between an environmental stimulus and a naturally occurring stimulus. It works by forming an association between two stimuli resulting in a learned response.

The key for a child to adopt well to the new environment is through manipulation of these stimuli. Children may associate school from being away from their comfort zones, which is their house or their room, thus can result to an anxiety response. But if the classroom gives a feeling of joy, then this anxiety may diminish and eventually be gone. In this regard, teachers may incorporate games and singing songs in their lessons to set the mood for the children. This is probably the reason why my teacher back then would start the class by enjoining everyone to sing nursery rhymes before we start the class.

Kids also respond to strangers negatively, especially if they see their teachers and their classmates for the first time, but if there is a repetitive interaction with teacher and classmates then that kind of stigma disappears. Teachers may start the school year with activities involving the names of the students and the teacher to elicit familiarity with one another and breakdown the wall of anonymity. Group activities and games will also provide avenue for familiarization as it cultivates deeper bond among group members.

Thus, to make children at ease, it is important to provide positive stimulus in order to generate a positive response from kids. In turn, children who are getting positive experience out of this new environment, will provide positive response by wanting to go to school more, crying less, less anxiety, and more opportunities for learning.

[1] Taken from https://www.verywell.com/classical-conditioning-2794859