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)

EDS 103 Theories of Learning

Labor my knowledge

lego head

I would love to watch a real classroom scenario wherein vibrant discussions among students are ongoing, wherein students are encouraged to formulate their own thoughts about a certain topic and share their questions, analysis and discoveries with their classmates. I could just imagine the energy each student has that is vibrating within the walls, those bright eyes that eagerly observes what is happening around them and their ears that is so attentive to each other’s comments. These are students who would not accept textbook information as their over-all knowledge, these students would not allow knowledge from teachers to be just injected to them.

how does it workBefore they reached that point of being their own source of knowledge, motivated individuals who are discontent of plain teacher-centered teaching, there were once children who went through different growth levels. As they were growing different pieces of information with the help of their own environment are being added to their existing knowledge. As they were trying to make sense of things in their environment some things are very easy to understand but there so much that they could not easily grasp as well, so they go through assimilation -> disequilibrium then finally, accommodation.

tutoringAs a child continues to grow he or she would need a help to do some tasks or understand some information that is just a little bit advance for him or for her. Now this part is crucial for a learner, remember at the beginning of this journal I was talking about students who are the drivers of their own knowledge, who construct it and not absorbed knowledge from someone else. I believe that we could initiate the mindset of each child to construct their own knowledge from the moment we started assisting them. When the assistance we give encourages the child to think, leads the child to the path of discovery and triggers the mind of a child to analyze images, objects and ideas  then, this is where independent learner starts. At a very young age the child is exposed to the practice of I-will-labor-for-my-own-knowledge and the child will think that my-teacher-is-my-support not my source of knowledge, and if this is continued throughout he or she whole child growth then we all know that he or she will be an independent learner. But if instead of exposing the child to this kind of learning environment, the child is exposed to too much assistance causing the child to observe how tasks should be done and to just passively sit and listen to the teacher now this style creates dependent students. He or she will be feeling lost and frustrated that she could not do things on her own. I believe that the child could still learn but will not reach his or her full potential because of how he or she was exposed to learning.

constructivistMaybe this is something that we could ask ourselves, how were we guided and helped by our parents, siblings and teachers when we were growing up? How did we get our knowledge when we were still in school? How is our mind being shaped now that we are adults?

What we have read about this module is a good knowledge to be added in our minds but, could you say that laboring for your own knowledge is good for you? Or for you it’s better to be fed by textbooks, teachers or whoever you think is credible? I could see the appeal why one person would choose textbooks, teachers and any credible person; it saves time, money and energy, information would more likely be accurate anyway, maybe the person is already contented with his current knowledge or maybe with his or her lifestyle does not need so much information and etc.

We can’t change how we were assisted or how we were taught when we were students, but we can definitely offer something better to our students, something to many of us did not experience, it’s the “sense of being empowered”, when we let students to be laborers and drivers of their knowledge we are empowering them to empower themselves to learn what they need, to maximize their abilities in building up their knowledge. When our assistance is initially based on the child’s ability and guides them to reach their full potential at any given growth level, when we provide activities for kids to challenge what they already know then we know that as teachers we have encouraged and led them to the way of constructing their on knowledge.

References:

UCD Teaching and Learning. Constructivism and Social Constructivism. Retrieved from:

http://www.ucdoer.ie/index.php/Education_Theory/Constructivism_and_Social_Constructivism

Huitt & Hummel (2003). Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development. Retrieved from:

http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/topics/cognition/piaget.html

 

EDS 103 – Theories on Learning

Thoughts on Learning

diverse

As I go through all the readings for Module 1 it occurs to me that there are several explanations of learning that are connected.

I’ll start with Nurture and Non-Formal, both of these have the element of learning with the help of family or anyone who closely live with them.  As a person stays to live closely with these people, for example, the Nurture and Non-Formal learning will continue to cause a permanent change in his behavior which is an indication that he has learned. However, both Nurture and Non-Formal Learning can be also considered external factors, and at some point may also be called as life experiences. In connection with that, this person will have more learned behaviors than unlearned behaviors due to the fact there is much opportunity for him to observe and absorb his environment.

“Learning can be defined as the relatively permanent change in an individual’s behavior or behavior potential (or capability) as a result of experience or practice.” (Huitt, 2011)

“Learning is an enduring change in behavior, or in the capacity to behave in a given fashion, which results from practice or other forms of experience” (Schunk, 2012, p. 3).

Prior to this study, I was not aware that when a person has learned something a change of behavior takes place. I just thought that learning is just acquired facts that a person may or may not need in order to exist and live. All the study, tasks and other activities in school made me overlooked the complexity of learning.

As I write this journal I have come to a realization that learning is also undeviating. Whatever happens, whether the information came through formal education, life experience, maturation and etc. there’ll always be a permanent and life enduring change, therefore a person will always learn however and in whatever way.

Even now as I share my simple thoughts in this journal there is a consciousness in me that I have learned while studying what learning is all about.

Thinking back to the days when I was still a student I believe, that nurture has more effect on me than formal learning. Though there were more materials open for study in the school and teachers are very helpful and accommodating, the lessons would just make complete sense once my mother or my sisters explained it to me. Definitely, their teaching approach is not structured but very effective. I think the reason why parents, siblings and other people who have closely lived with us can be the agent of nurture is because of the bond, feeling of at ease and their natural knowledge of how we understand things.

I believe that is the reason why it’s difficult to be a Sunday School teacher because I’m trying to impart knowledge at the same time practice the concept of nurture to young people because that’s how I learned best (not to mention I don’t have a formal teaching training).  And though this is difficult I still want to continue, I want to be a teacher that they could remember even years after they have graduated from my class. What I teach is a practical application of their personal faith with Jesus Christ. I feel that if I don’t include nurturing in my informal teaching style then they will lose the importance of what I’m teaching.

Now to address the question, why do some people learn better than me and I better than others could be a tricky one. But just to be on the safe side, this is dependent on the combination of nurture, teaching style he or she received in school (is that matching his or her learning style), hereditary factors, life experiences and also one’s willingness and determination to realize his or her full potential.

  1. Reference:
    Huitt, W. (2011) http://www.edpsycinteractive.org/topics/intro/whyedpsy.html

EDS 111 – Principles of Teaching

study habits

Just A Start

 

I have nothing profound to note yet in this journal. What I mostly experienced in the past days were more on self-realization of how average my reading skill is and how I should clearly and quickly comprehend the materials I read.

When I was going through the introduction part of the study, it made me feel a little bit nervous. It has been a long time since I graduated from college and the last time a studied hard was during my training days with my employer. I remembered the study-style I had way back in college then I questioned myself, is that good enough for this study? After that, I remembered that I did well on my last training, considering that it was also designed like an online distant study, with that I felt calm and somehow encouraged.

I know that this type of study requires much from me like time management, study habits, determination and etc. but one thing that I should not forget is to have fun, enjoy what I’m doing. Be an open person to learn different ideas and not be afraid to unlearn unnecessary practice or knowledge,  try new ideas and practice them without hesitations.