EDS 103 – Theories of Learning

No easy road nor shortcuts in true learning

long road

I could not say I have epistemological belief prior to this study. The term itself is very new to me. What I remember to do when studying, was I need to get to a certain level of understanding wherein I could teach what I have read and understood and the approach transfer of knowledge is simplest form if possible. Whenever I it assures me that I was able study well what was given to me.

I would say I’m guilty of doing quick reading especially when there is limited time, when it’s cramming time there are still too many things to do and so little time left, I’m just too conscious of time I’m spending on to understand certain topic. I can attest to the truthfulness of the effect that, understanding is very shallow when there is a need to demonstrate understanding difficulty arises. Yes it’s also true that quickness to give a list of things that has been understood but there are just bits and piece of the whole information or knowledge offered in the topic.

As a result I aim to give more time and pleasure in reading and pausing to mull over the material on the on the coming semester. Now that I exactly know the load of reading and various activities I have to accomplish. I’m more prepared for the coming semester to do my part and gain more knowledge that what I was able to gain here.

 

EDS 111 – Principles of Teaching

Further Thoughts on the Course

thought buble

 

What I only knew before about teaching is the direct traditional teaching of teacher’s knowledge if the teacher does not have good knowledge of the subject then woe to the students and to the parents who are paying for their kids’ education. I know that teachers have different styles of teaching which may match or not match the students way of learning, since my time as a student was more than a decade ago I didn’t think much of the necessity to incorporate technology in teaching what I thought was it’s an open option, like, if I’ll be a teacher in a prestige school like a friend of mine who is a teacher in the Internal School of Manila I thought for her technology is mandatory but for simple private and public school I thought it was just an open option, it’s the teachers’ prerogative.

Just like professional improvement, I know teachers need to keep on studying but a requirement from each school for teachers to attend in-house training, 3rd party/external trainings is something new, even the part that teachers need to collaborate with others share best practices and encourage teachers for opportunities maybe the reason why I did not even venture to think that these activities are happening was due to lack of obvious impact and result to teachers content knowledge and teaching styles when I was still a student.

Only when I studied professionalism in this course was exposed to the fact that not all countries would have high regard to their teachers to consider them as professionals. For me then, other stakeholders of education stepped in to contribute to what should students learn nowadays to make learning relevant but not because, they are stepping in due of lack of trust in teachers, and that they don’t see that teachers are competent enough to teach young learners.

I enjoyed answering, thinking and completing the task for Teacher Nina, I don’t have formal teaching experience, to imagine what she is going through (they she may just be a fiction) is very daunting for me same feeling I felt when answering all the FD’s in this course. Questions would always make me think deep about what a read and several times I would feel that answering FD questions would have been a lot easier if I only have formal teaching experience just like many of my classmates. Teacher’s Nina and FD questions gave me a glance of what would be like when I become a teacher, this may not comprise it all but at least I’m not joining the profession empty-handed. I plan to talk about teaching experiences with my teacher friends and watch more real life uploaded videos to have more ideas on teaching. I still want to continue tutoring my Chinese students and some high school girls (until I can take the licensure exam and practice this profession) in our church as my way of applying specific topics like; reflective teaching, diversity and creativity. I think among many topics of this course these are the one with much relevance to tutoring Chinese for English language and teaching in Sunday School and Discipleship in our church.

The friend that I mentioned earlier invited me to be her assistant teacher in her classes this will give more opportunity to have firsthand experience of the concept and principles in this course as well as apply more topics into practice with the guide and mentorship of a veteran pre-school teacher.

EDS 103 – Theories of Learning

Challenge Faced

index

I have always had a hard time expressing my thoughts and feeling in words. To demonstrate my knowledge of this course through words was such an ordeal for me just like any other activities that involved writing in this course. I hope through the completion of these tasks I was able to improve my writing skills and at some point overcome difficulty of expressing my thoughts and emotions in words.

As much as it was a challenge it was also a fun experience to be able to recount my understanding how understood them in my own words using some experiences. My target is really to apply constructing my own knowledge, this is truly something new to me since I was exposed to traditional teaching method in school.

Due to the short period of time I would have wanted the course not to be so jam-packed. Since it’s not possible to have the traditional classmate engagement I wanted to read my classmates thoughts and have more conversations with them, with so many individual tasks that I have to do (ejournal, reading, researching, answering TID questions) I had to put it aside. I hope next time that you’ll take this in consideration. I understand that all topics were considered due to high relevance and importance because I don’t have any formal background in teaching I was hoping to have time to mull over on principles of each topic but could not do so. It felt like there’s just too much to finish and I have to continue moving forward no time to stop and pause to digest.

Thank you so much for all your efforts, guidance on our learning, for your patience and accommodations to all our good and crazy questions. I genuinely enjoyed completing your course though I had mountains of challenge answering your TIDs I still want you to be my teacher/instructor on the next courses.

EDS 111 – Principles of Education

Reflections Through Learning

 

 

While going through the material regarding diversity I was thinking of myself while I’m tutoring my Chinese students, and the time when I first started tutoring them. It was a shock for me to experience teaching a language to students who unlike me or unlike many Filipinos can construct simple sentences in English. Ages of my students ranges from 5 years old to 34 years old. The first month was the most difficult one because I have let go of my impatience and accept that they don’t respond to me not because they have low intelligence but because they do not understand the language they have to use to communicate to me. Just like what it said in the material I have to accept every student’s similarities and differences not just for other students but also for me. The role to be culturally responsive is heavier on the teachers part, when I continued to think the way I thought like, they should be understanding me since they wanted to learn English, require better effort on learning how to respond in English and to expect them to formulate their thoughts initially in English I have failed as a culturally responsive teacher. I have failed to demonstrate respect, consideration, tolerance in those moments, I did not meet my student where they were, though I was aware of their struggles and how they wanted to learn I did not give them patience and sincerity that I would want my teacher to give me if I am the student. I have often thought that as a person I value equity, I practice fairness not until this module did I realize that there is double standard in my thinking and preferences.colorful faces

I think I have expected it from myself to be tolerant of differences since I live in the Philippines, here we are exposed to Chinese, Koreans, Taiwanese who stays temporarily to study, western films are very much supported but little did I know that what I thought natural of me is something that I have to consciously work hard to display. This is not going to be a quick fix, I have to continuously expose myself to materials that would correct my attitude and practices to be a tutor that displays real concern and respect.

I told you before, I occasionally teach in our Sunday School and facilitate discipleship classes with the same group because of that I bought several card games and board games to entice them to attend and when our sessions are nearing their exams or just right after exams then instead of traditional discussion we’ll have games. That is already my attempt on incorporating fun in my teaching, as a person I’m really not artistic whatever I lack in the “naturally creative” department I try to offset with games that I could buy.

 

So this went on for years, several students have graduated from my class and when we would have time to get together they would still look for the games they have used when they were my students. All along I was thinking that I did well since they learned and had good memories with me. It would have been better had I known how to incorporate creativity early own.

I have a girl friend that also goes to the same church I go, she handles the college class as I handle the high school class. Recently we would have discipleship classes on the same afternoon, every time this happen I would hear sounds of cheers and laughter coming from her room, every topic to discuss she’ll have group activities for icebreaker and games for application. I would often think that I could never teach like that, it will be a challenge to get their attention to focus back to the topic if they will always laugh and pause for a games. Also how could I have creative ideas on how my students could apply what I thought from the Bible, shouldn’t we just have to wait for a situation wherein they could apply the Bible principles to their lives?creative thinking My initial reaction was, I guess for her it’s just so easy, she’s musically incline person so her brain is much creatively wired than mine.

But then again this module corrected by thinking, creativity is not just about art, it’s not about people who are creatively wired.  It’s about expressing one’s own ideas in many different ways, it’s being innovative on how a teacher could present information in ways that students will understand considering the differences on personality and capabilities of students, it’s allowing students to find multiple solutions to a problem. One more thing, I should have not limited myself into thinking that games are there to engage them to think practical applications it could be as simple as, freedom for kids to demonstrate what they have learned. Lastly, my discipleship class need to be always be serious to assure me that they are learning.

 

Since this semester is about to end, I’m thinking of having the kids come over to my place for another discipleship class. I don’t have much ideas yet but I’ll start with a movie, color pens and colored papers. I don’t have yet the complete picture in mind but I’ve got to start somewhere right?

 

Resources:

American Psychological Association (2016). Creativity in the classroom. Retrieved from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQqFFaJJ8gc

Dr. Sherri (2014). Strategies for Teaching Culturally Diverse Students. Retrieved from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPutaPc9gB8

EDS 103 – Theories of Learning

Unguided Thought on Critical Thinking

I’ve seen several photos of my parents, even photos of their parents while they were engaged in different community activities (nothing serious though) and then there were movies shown decades ago both here in the Philippines and in United States that I have watched several times; these images were full of simplicity, directness, there is also a sense to those images and films of being open – people seems to be approachable and trusting.

close mindedAs I spent time with my friends and talked with some acquaintances and even being around my colleagues’ I noticed that sarcasm has always been a part of our response regardless of what or who is the topic.  People would often tell me that I sounded defensive and close-minded at times that I should learn to compromise my thoughts and beliefs, learn to see situations through the eyes of other people. The prevalence of argumentative responses and arrogance in our statements whether we are aware or of it or not, whether we believe this or not can be ignored but cannot be denied.

How did we jump from being simple, approachable, trusting and spontaneous people to being skeptic, standoffish and cynical people?  What had triggered us to be so different from those people who lived generations before us? Could this be brought by our attempt to be prudent on the things that are happening around us? I’m really at loss here so please be patient to me while a try to make sense of my own thought bubble.

thoughts and wordsAt the moment I could only surmise one thing… we wanted to be better thinkers, we don’t want to be easily swayed by some opinions, we wanted to check and compare their thoughts with our own thoughts that were shaped by different factors before we could believe them. This innate reaction may not be noticeable to many and may be it is the imperfection in us that instead of demonstrating positive effects of being critical minded people we are showing the unguided effects of it.

“Everyone thinks; it is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or down-right prejudiced. Yet the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated. (The Critical Thinking Community. Defining Critical Thinking .” Retrieved from: http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766)

Above quote corrects my assumption that it’s not natural of human being to be practicing critical thinking, every person has their own preconceived inaccurate ideas of what is happening around us. Thinking about this more, it is safe to say that it’s common for anyone to have unguarded opinions and thoughts that are not shaped by facts however, when we respond to conversations or reacts to any statement it’s as if we are very knowledge credible discerning person.

Reactions I mentioned early are not even about unguided effects of critical thinking. To exhibit critical thinking on any given topic or conversations is a laborious intentional deliberation conscious act of one person to direct his mind into having higher information by scrutinizing his own thoughts, carefully looking for mistake and constructing better knowledge. Asking or questioning something or someone are not enough to say a person is critically thinking. Just like how it was sent in the below quote,

“Critical thinking is that mode of thinking — about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.” . (The Critical Thinking Community. Defining Critical Thinking .” Retrieved from: http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/411)

“Critical thinking varies according to the motivation underlying it. When grounded in selfish motives, it is often manifested in the skillful manipulation of ideas in service of one’s own, or one’s groups’, vested interest. As such it is typically intellectually flawed…” (The Critical Thinking Community. Defining Critical Thinking .” Retrieved from: http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766)

buddiesThough critical thinking per se is not perfect and it has it’s own weakness depending on why it is being used, knowing how to practice it is very influential we should not use this as way to dominate a conversation or to act, speak or think, highly of ourselves and think to less of other people when we engage in a conversation or when just merely responding to a statement.

References:
Foundation for Critical Thinking. Retrieved from:

http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/766

http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/defining-critical-thinking/411)