Welcome to my page!
I am still exploring how to write here at wordpress so please bear with me. 🙂
Let me share you this quote from Robert John Meehan, ‘Teachers who love teaching, teach children to love learning’
Good day to you.
Stop off! Onward to another flight…
So, just like any other courses, this EDS111 course has to end! It is not yet the final destination but I need to stop and assess where I am now into this lifelong journey to learning and teaching. This is now the time to ask myself “What have I learned and why do I have to learn?” To answer it simply, “I want to enter the teaching profession that is why!” You see, I was so excited in studying EDS111 Principles of Teaching together with EDS103 Theories of Learning. It seems to me the perfect combination for a trimester. However, for some personal reasons, I was not able to do my tasks/activities on time, plus I was intimidated by writing journals for each module for both courses. But then again, learning is a journey and I know I can still traverse, slowly but surely. It is not about finishing it fast but more of what I have become every step of the way that matters to me.
Looking back, I think I have learned so much that my view of teaching was transformed (and it will still change along the way). It used to be that teaching is having the content knowledge and using appropriate pedagogy to transfer such knowledge, skills, and/or values to learners. But as it turned out, teaching practice is much more than that. Apparently, teachers have to learn establishing their teaching knowledge bases. That teaching entails a repertoire of teaching styles to effectively facilitate learning for students to optimize their potentials. And the most important take-away for me is the practice of critical reflection. Because of this, I am more conscious and aware about my learning, trying to understand and view things from different perspectives and to hunt for assumptions that can reveal what I truly feel and think about my experiences. As a result, I will always strive to make informed decision (plan action and do it!) in whatever tasks I will be doing or problems I will be dealing with.
Now that I am about to finish my PTC, I am more confident to embark to another goal. My short-term objective is to review for LET and then find employment as professional teacher in one of the local schools. I know that it will not be easy, many challenges will come along the way but I think nothing can prepare us better than having to test theories into practice. With that, I will make sure to engage myself with professional development and professional learning communities to continuously inquire of solutions to problems. That will be my long-term goal.
So long, farewell! To all my classmates, my group mates, and to our Teacher Roja who made an excellent job of facilitating our learning, THANK YOU for this wonderful learning experience. I will always take with me the learning that I gained from this course. Mabuhay!
Teaching in a diverse world
I had the experience of teaching a culturally diverse class of kindergarten. It was in 2014 that I became a pre-school teacher in one of the international schools here in Saudi. Back then, I had informal training of handling young learners through online courses like that of Coursera. I finished three courses and that somehow gave me the confidence to take on a teaching job in school setting.
The first two weeks of handling the class that was consist of boys gave me shocking volts! My goodness, I did not imagine how boys were so energetic and playful that you cannot just confine them inside the classroom and let them do some activities while expecting them to sit still in their place. Add to that, all of my students speak Arabic as their first language and only a handful can converse in English. Furthermore, most of these children are from the Middle East like Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Yemen, and some from India, Pakistan, and Philippines. Language and culture became a barrier for me. All of a sudden, I felt so hopeless because even my assistant teacher barely speaks English too. So it was more of hand signals, demo, use of pictures, videos and anything I can think of just to be able to communicate effectively.
Looking back, that experience made me realize the importance of teaching in a diverse world. Diversity of culture, gender, and language became a hindrance for me when I was starting. I was not prepared then, but what I think made me survive my first year of teaching was the support I got from co-teachers and from our coordinator and principal. They gave me the assurance that I was not alone and that they will help me to become effective in dealing with these learners. Now that I finish module 6, I come to appreciate that indeed diversity is more of a resource rather than a hindrance. I think that because of my experience, it made be more creative in my teaching and be more inquisitive of ways how to teach more effectively. I remember, during Arabic lesson, I usually stay in our classroom just to do some checking and to write on diaries for parents to get updated of their children’s performance. I also took this opportunity to observe the teacher and how the students behave and engage in her class. And after class, whatever were my observations or any questions that I may have, I will talk right away with her and I gained so much learning from that.
I had assumed that it is easy to teach young learners since the lessons are not difficult. But hey, it was not about the lesson after all. It is about being creative in ways that you respect the learners and find ways to connect rather than expecting them to submit to your commands. So, being a teacher does not necessarily mean having the full authority inside the classroom controlling behaviour but more of earning their trust and giving them safe and engaging learning environment. Some students learn fast, some are so slow but we should not take it against those slow learners. What I tried was to partner those students who were more advance in helping those who need more help. Of course I have to be sensitive too that I get to pair those who get along with. I learn that this is effective with some but not for all. I remember having this student who wants everything perfect. Any red mark on his notebook or activity book guarantees a meltdown. Indeed, every individual is unique and everyone deserves quality education. As teacher, let us be aware of differences and learn to capitalize on these rather than limiting our teaching practices.
Another assumption I had was that learning is effective if you achieve the learning outcomes. This may be true but it is not enough to meet your objectives. Instead, teachers must aim at making impact that last for the child to actually put the learning into use. I think creativity really makes a difference. Every time I use a different approach to teaching, like actual experimentation in Science, or games during Math, and group works during English, I got to observe genuine engagement from my pupils, rather than doing the usual workbook activities. Indeed, as teachers we should think of ways to teach our lesson that brings about significant learning and not just accomplish the boring everyday routine. Let us not limit our lesson to academics but more of equipping the whole child. I believe we can achieve more by being creative in our teaching and learning.
Lastly, I had this assumption that teaching involves our individual commitment and dedication alone. As it turned out, this is not the case. We need others for us to improve our practice and to advance our learning. We need feedback from our students to become aware of the situation. We need our colleagues to comment and give suggestions on how we can further improve, and we need guidance and wisdom from those who have been ahead of us in their professional journey. As discussed in this module, the scholarship of teaching and learning (STOL) are important so we can verify the effectiveness and study the impact of our practices. Moreover, it is through STOL that we can find ways to solve problems, issues and challenges that beset us. Therefore, as teacher, we should continuously search for learning that answers to our inquiry, and that involves learning with others like our colleagues or peers.
Now, given the chance to teach again, I will be more intentional of using diversity as a resource for learning, using creativity to further improve my craft, and finally, to continuously inquire of ways to find solutions to problems. Again, I am not alone in this endeavour, I need others to learn some more. J
Is CPD a boon or a bane?
The Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016 or R.A 10912 is now fully implemented as law. Continuing Professional Development or CPD is defined as “the inculcation of advanced knowledge, skills, and ethical values in a post-licensure specialization or in an inter- or multidisciplinary field of study, for assimilation into professional practice, self-directed research and/or lifelong learning”. The CPD programs aim to meet the following goals: 1) Continuously improve the quality of country’s reservoir of registered professionals by updating them on the latest scientific/technological/ethical and other applicable trends in the local and global practice of the professions; 2) Provide support for lifelong learning in the enhancement of competencies of Filipino professionals towards delivery of quality and ethical services both locally and globally ; and 3) Deliver quality CPD activities aligned with the Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) for national relevance and global comparability and competitiveness.
For professional teachers to renew their license, they are required to complete a mandatory 45 credit units. A credit unit refers to the value of an amount of learning that can be transferred to merit qualification. These units can be achieved from formal, informal, and non-formal learning setting. Since license renewal is done every three years, one must earn the minimum required credit units within the 3-year duration. Any excess units will not be credited to the next.
I am grateful that finally, the CPD has been given importance from policy makers. It means that all professionals will have to upgrade their learning and improve their services to the public. However, I have my reservations too. I doubt that the CPD that was mandated to all professionals will serve its ‘purpose’. Based from negative reactions I read from social media, many are not happy. Some even appeals for support to petition the implementation of the said CPD Act.
Honestly, I am also not sold out to the idea of mandated CPD because from my learning in module 5, this approach to professional development is traditional learning approach. It involves a passive mode of learning like transmission from expert to novice. Moreover, the theories of learning employs separate learning for each theory/discipline. Its purpose is to upgrade knowledge and skills, enhance or modify teaching practices; and usually follows a formal learning process that is provided or sponsored.
What is good about this implementation of CPD is the awareness and recognition of its importance to all professionals. Indeed, we cannot argue against the need for continuous inquiry and to upgrade our knowledge and skills in order to keep up with current trends in our chosen field or discipline. What I think is bad regarding the implementation is its political nature. I don’t think this CPD programs are accessible to all. Not everyone will be able to comply with the requirements if registration fee, time and other resources will come from the professional. I don’t think employers will be willing to send their employees for free just so these professionals employed under them will meet the required credits for renewal of license.
CPD for teachers is assumed to be ‘mandatory’ regardless of law that specifically dictate it. Educators are at the forefront of effective teaching and achievement of quality learning outcomes hence they are expected to be lifelong learners. With numerous problems and challenges that the education system faces, it is imperatives that teachers continuously seek and explore various solutions to problems or to make informed decisions. However, teachers lack the time to actually reflect and learn from their own experience. With demanding tasks and often demoralizing salary and compensation, teachers just aim to survive a day. At present, there are many in-service training offered to teachers but not all are able to avail it for reasons that funding is not available. Usually, only those who can afford to attend will do so because of certification or merit. This certificate will serve as proof of competency and will be used in screening for promotion to higher position. Because of this, the gap between those privileged (those with funding/sponsorship) and those who lack the resources becomes wider. Clearly, access to CPD is not the equal. So, if CPD is to be implemented, it should provide equal opportunity for all teachers to have it according to their needs, and necessary funding should be provided for such training
Another assumption is that CPD improve the performance of teachers and as a result, improved the learning outcomes of learners. Indeed, when teachers learn as a result of having CPD, they become more effective in their teaching. However, this is not true for all. If trainings are just implemented for the sake of having training, or if teachers are there for the sake of certification, then the training is just for compliance and waste of resources. For CPD to be effective, the need for it should start from professionals themselves, from the desire to meet the needs of students, and the commitment to render quality service to stakeholders in general. The motivation should also begin with the individual, and then as a collaborative effort united in addressing a specific need of the local community.
As discussed in class, a more effective approach to professional development is the teaching learning orientation (TLO). The conception of professional development calls for continuous professional learning. This is not mandated by law but results from practice of teacher professionalism. The mode of learning employed is active and collaborative. It follows theories of learning that integrates all to develop new theories (holistic approach). Moreover, it is created for the purposes of identifying needs such as learning gaps, and come up with solutions. Lastly, it involves lifelong process, sponsored or not, formal/informal/non-formal.
Both TLA and TLO were created to promote continuous professional development for teachers. However, I think TLO is more compatible to collaborative, democratic, and transformative teacher professionalism. This is because teachers have more autonomy with regards to practice of their profession and how they approach learning. It is no longer about having individual development but having collective professional transformation. Moreover, TLO is more empowering for educational professionals since commitment to the production of knowledge is promoted among teachers.
So, is CPD for teachers a boon or a bane? My answer is both—boon and bane! CPD for teacher is a boon if it approaches to professional development follows the teaching learning orientation as described above. In contrary, CPD becomes a bane if it follows the traditional learning approach. Therefore, the implementation of the CPD law will have differing result, depending on how professionals will approach it. I just hope that the proper implementation of this law will be guided by researched-based principles/theories and that professionals will be open for appropriate adjustment when problems arise. After all, the intention for this CPD is for the benefit of the public.
Professional development is not an individual endeavour but collaborative undertakings of educational leaders and policy makers committed to the best possible conditions and optimal professional development of effective professional learning communities. All stakeholders must actively engage in these learning communities to make changes and transformation that cam impact our educational system. Hence, let us not limit CPD to its traditional approach to learning, rather we take an active stance in participating and contributing to more collaborative, democratic, revitalizing, and re-imaging professional development.
Finally, as a future teacher, I am committed to lifelong learning. Regardless of CPD being mandatory or not, I will try my best to not just comply but will do it according to teaching learning approach that I learned in this module. I will engage myself to professional learning communities, specifically at school or other local setting. If there is not one existing, I will initiate the creation of it through having dialogue with school administrators, colleagues, students, parents, and other stakeholders concern. If training or learning opportunities come, I will grab the opportunity to do so. Otherwise, I will do anything (like distance learning) to always further my education, and to encourage others to do the same. Again, learning is a social thing so I will learn with others to maximize the learning opportunity.
Holistic and active learning
Prior to reading module 4, teaching for me is the facilitation of learning. The teacher helps the learner to attain certain goals or objectives. The teacher will be the one to look for materials or resources that will provide a learning environment where the student get to ‘experience’ things and thereby forms his his/her own understanding. The teacher will also be the one to make assessment of learning. My perception of teaching was already modified when I got to study online. I was so amazed how technology has transformed the traditional classroom learning environment. So naturally, without an actual teacher and a classroom with online classmates, the role of teacher and students indeed changed and so is the teaching and learning dynamics. Of course, the number one factor that influences my perception about teaching and learning is my own autobiography as learner, both in the traditional classroom and in transition as a distant learner now.
After studying resources from this module, my perspective view widens and I got to learn so much more. In particular, with regards to learning, I now embrace the active role of learners. That learning is a social phenomenon, that diversity among student is actually a resource, that teaching should be holistic, and that knowledge is not just about what but also includes the why and how. Knowledge is constructed, not just passed onto students by the teachers. Hence, teaching too has to be modified and necessary adjustment should be incorporated.
Honestly, I am not yet confident whether I can really apply all these learning. I am hesitant as I do not know where to start, who to ask for help and how to deal with upcoming situations. I am more intimidated, rather perplexed at how things get so complicated now. For me, it is more of questioning whether these so called contemporary teaching perspectives and approaches really serve the students. I am more than willing to try but I am also adamant. I am just hoping that my would-be colleague/peers will share the same attitude as mine, an attitude of inquiry and lifelong learning. J
Teaching the whole child is what resonates with me. I am convinced that indeed learning is not just about academics, not about grades, and not about segregating the advanced students from those lagging behind. As a learner myself who has been through that traditional system, I was lucky enough to belong to the ‘cream of the crop’. In high school, I belong to the special science class where we have more subjects and our facilities were better compared with regular classes. Our teachers were also more educated and well trained compared with those teaching regular classes. In short, we were more equipped and have more privileges.
Looking back, I realised that good academic performance does not necessarily leads to success. There are those from regular classes that I think are more successful and more content in their life than those who were grade conscious. I see some of my batchmates who were kulelat then that are doing great now. Also, there are those who have latin honors yet they cannot pass board examinations and fear taking again because they anticipate more failures. These are just some of few examples that academic record does not always define success. With this, I can conclude that indeed, teaching the whole child is the way to go. As teacher, we should provide for opportunities that foster social-emotional learning for all students. I think this is very important to develop a holistic child capable of managing his/her own learning and taking responsibility of achieving goals in life, not just academics.
I think being a critically reflective teacher will make the difference. I know it is easy to say that considering that I do not have teaching experience with older learners (above 7 years old). However, I would like to learn some more by actually teaching so that in the process, I will be putting theories into practice. I will maintain writing a reflective blog to document all my learning, and of course, to inquire with peers/colleagues, and always get feedback from students so I can further improve my craft. Lastly, I am aware that the reflective practice is a never ending process and that teachers should never stop learning too.
The different knowledge bases
I did not know that teaching is this complicated. Imagine the knowledge bases one is to master in order to be a competent teacher. As if mastery of all these knowledge bases guarantee effective teaching practice. My assumption was when you have successfully obtain an academic degree and pass necessary examinations or screening process, then you are good to go. The fact that you have gone through learning process makes you eligible for teaching practice. However, from my experience as learner, I realized that this was not so. I have teachers who were more influential, teachers who were intimidating, and teachers who simply did not care (or so I thought). Looking back, I realized that these teachers have different knowledge bases.
So what are these knowledge bases? According to Shulman, there are seven knowledge base namely: 1) Content knowledge; 2) General Pedagogical knowledge; 3) Pedagogical Content Knowledge; 4) Curriculum knowledge; 5) Knowledge of learners and their characteristics; 6) Knowledge of educational context; and 7) Knowledge of educational ends. In addition is the technological knowledge.
Initially, I think only of content knowledge and curriculum knowledge as something that teachers have to master. I was not even aware of the word pedagogy until recently. I did not know that there is such a way/method/procedure of teaching. For me, pedagogy is something of one’s preference or unique way of teaching, whatever method (sariling diskarte) for as long as it is effective. So it is more of trial and error instruction for as long as you are meeting learning objectives.
Then here is technology! Our lives have been transformed in many ways. In today’s classroom, technology is changing the way we approach learning and teaching. Even the learners themselves (referring to the millennial) have different needs and teachers have to cope up in terms of how to provide stimulating learning environment. Way back my high school days, reports were typewritten. Now, reports are paperless and submitted electronically. Also, access to resources like books, journals, and other information have to be sourced at the library, but now almost everything you need can be search online. Indeed, the learning environment has been altered using advance technologies. The challenges to teachers are overwhelming! Whew, imagine you have to be always updated and well informed in order for you to make decisions in everything you do.
But where do we get this knowledge base? How can we be confident that we have acquired such knowledge? Apparently, there are four sources such as the following: 1) Scholarship content discipline; 2) Educational materials and structure; 3) Formal educational scholarship; and 4) The wisdom of practice. Therefore, it is expected from a teacher to have continuous education or to inquire continually and to gain wisdom from experience/actual teaching. It is through lifelong learning and reflective practice that we may possess all these knowledge. It is not something that we can do instantly, but a tedious process of consciously learning, evaluating, reflecting, and acting on what we think is best.
Shulman, L. (1987). Knowledge and Teaching: Foundations of the New Reforms. https://people.ucsc.edu/~ktellez/shulman.pdf
Mishra and Koehler. (2007). What Is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge? https://citejournal.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/v9i1general1.pdf
Teacher Professionalism: What does it mean?
My uninformed definition: Teacher professionalism means upholding the teaching practice to the highest standard. It means there is a certifying or accrediting body to ensure quality of education and meet certain criteria like licensure examination for teachers.
When I hear the word professionalism, what comes to mind is the practice of a particular profession, having acquired the necessary degree and passing the board examination. So for me, teacher professionalism is having finished education degree (including alternate route like PTC), passed the licensure examination for teachers, and being inducted into the list of professional teachers.
However, as I read the resources in this module 2, I realized that professionalism is more than that. What more? The very definition, conception and perception of the word professionalism vary across time and space. What is professionalism in one part of the world may have different meaning at the other side of the globe.
If I may recall, as a student then, I think we have high regards of our teachers. In the place that I grew up, teachers were the first professionals. That was why they were given utmost respect and they were called Ma’am and Sir by the locals. In our tribe, my parents also set records as being pioneer of their respective professions, my mother as medical technologist and my father as a lawyer. Even before employment in their respective fields, both my parents taught in our local school. To be a teacher then was really something that the community give recognition to.
But as more natives were educated, preference shifted to pursuing medical courses, law, engineering, accounting, and yes the ever reliable choice which is nursing. Soon everyone wants to be a doctor, an attorney, an engineer, and other professions that are in demands abroad. Sadly, teaching profession was looked down because after all, teachers’ career path was no longer attractive. Now, teachers are seen as overworked and underpaid. Those who choose to stay in the teaching profession either do not have other options or they simply treat their profession as their vocation, a noble profession reserve for the patience and kind hearted.
Now that I am into my pre-service, I am honestly reconsidering why I made the decision to enrol in this program. What were my motivations and why did I think of entering the teaching profession? Reading about our current educational system, and the perennial problems that it faces, I am actually dismayed and the prospect of not continuing comes to mind. But then again, I am taking this challenge as one who can contribute in finding solutions to these problems. After all, I am a parent of three and that makes me a ‘valued’ stakeholder to the educational system. That was actually my number one reason for enrolling courses in education, so I can help teach my children more effectively (because I do not trust their teachers and yes even the system). Ooopppssss….Sorry!
So what is teacher professionalism?
Nihan Demirkasımog˘lu, on his article “Defining Teacher Professionalism from different Perspectives” concludes that “teacher professionalism could be interpreted as a professional work field with its sociological, ideological and educational dimensions aims at achieving the highest standards in teaching profession which is based upon the professional formation, knowledge, skill and values.” In addition, “teacher professionalism is associated with improving the quality and standards of teachers’ works and their public image. Multiple approaches are common in the sense that teacher professionalism means meeting certain standards in education and related to proficiency”(Demirkasimog˘lu, 2010).
David provides for definition of teacher professionalism which is accepted as synthesis of views. These are:
(a) Professions provide an important public service;
(b) They involve a theoretically as well as practically grounded expertise;
(c) They have a distinct ethical dimension which calls for expression in a code of practice;
(d) They require organization and regulation for purposes of recruitment and discipline; and
(e) Professional practitioners require a high degree of individual autonomy– independence of judgment- for effective practice. (David, 2000 as cited by Demirkasimog˘lu, 2010 and Quong, 2016).
In Asian Context, particularly in Hong Kong school system which is dominated by Chinese culture, teacher professionalism is associated with strict adherence to stated codes of conduct or the professional code of ethics. Hence, the community expect teachers to act accordingly since children’s education is entrusted to their care. Indeed, teachers are held to high standards (Quong, 2016.
The Four Notions of Teacher Professionalism (Whitty and Wisby, 2006):
- Traditional – marked by the ‘golden age of teacher’s autonomy’ where teacher is in control of their teaching practices without accountability outside the classroom. They develop their own curriculum and implement their own pedagogy. Parents trust the teacher to provide for the best learning opportunities to their children.
- Managerialist – characterized by a system where decisions about what to teach, how to teach and how to assess is made at school and national level rather than the teachers themselves (Furlong 2005). In addition, this prescriptive view tends to go for one-size-fits-all solutions to problems (Dainton 2005). However, managerialist played a powerful role in marginalising rather than amplifying teachers’ voice.
- Collaborative- this view of professionalism involve teachers working with other professionals, para-professionals and non-professionals from various disciplines. These include, among others, health visitors, general practitioners, social workers, education welfare officers, youth and community workers, education psychologists, speech and language therapists, learning mentors, the police and various local authority officers, as well as school support staff (see Reid 2005). In brief, collaborative professionalism equally applies to inter-professional agreements, where professions work with one another, but to the exclusion of other stakeholders.
- Democratic – includes a wider range of stakeholders, some of whose voices have traditionally been silent in education decision making (Apple 1996). It seeks to demystify professional work and build alliances between teachers and excluded constituencies of students, parents and members of the wider community.
So in essence, the definition of teacher professionalism is dynamic and cannot be confined to a place and time. It continually evolves depending on cultural perspective, political agenda, social and economic pressures. Relating to the Philippine educational setting, we have this Teachers Professionalization Act of 1994 (RA 7836) and the Code of Ethics for Professional teachers. RA 7836 state the professional mandate for teachers and the code of ethics state what is expected from teachers. In addition, teachers’ education curriculum has been overhauled as a move to improve teacher quality and presumably improved quality learning for all students. Then there is this National Competency-based Teachers Standard (NCBTS) as guide for teacher professional development. And just recently, the implementation of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) took effect for all professionals. All these factors affect how one views professionalism and how it is being perceived by others not in the profession.
After studying the resources, has your definition of teacher professionalism changed? Why or why not? If yes, how do you define teacher professionalism now and how is it different from your previous definition?
After studying the resources, my definition of teacher professionalism has changed a lot. From my uninformed definition, I can say that the basic theoretical criteria have been met. Only, I failed to consider the power struggle of how the teacher professionalism has been defined and redefined through the years. Now, I can say that I am more informed about how the old notion of professionalism compares with that new notion or otherwise known as transformative professionalism. Hence, this is how I define teacher professionalism as I attempt to incorporate my learning for this module: teacher professionalism is the practice of teaching, having the knowledge, skills and values, duly certified educational attainment (meet all standards), adherence to a code of conduct, and high degree of autonomy. Autonomy has to do with being a reflective teacher, not easily persuaded or to conform without having a personal stance or belief. Hence, teacher professionalism has to do with having personal agency, practice of profession that can withstand pressures, both from within the profession or outside teaching.
What kind of professional teacher/educator would you like to be in the future?
Given the opportunity to formally enter the teaching profession, I would like to be a critically reflective teacher. At this time, there are just so many theories, approaches and best practices but what is important is for me to always inquire for what is appropriate for the given situation. With that, I will commit to lifelong learning, to professional development, and to building a solid foundation of my knowledge bases. Most importantly, I will always strive to render quality service with learners at the heart of my actions, committed to good morals and socially just education.
Remembering and Learning
I remember being always with my grandmother, where ever she goes, I go with her. To the farm, to the mountains, to the river, to the creeks, I am always tagging along with my Lola Bingan. I remember I saw a white dog under our house in the remote barrio of Lubo. I remember my lola telling stories about her dream too, a white large dog. I remember my two elder sisters laughing at me; because I fell down the stairs and my face was swollen you cannot see my eyes. I remember my sisters all running away, my lola following them with a big stick. I remember playing with my brother in our rice field when I fell head-first and was buried into the rice puddy. I remember the birth of my siblings from the 5th to the 10th child. I remember bits and pieces of my misadventures. Whenever we get together and all of us recall such events in the past, I began to put pieces together. I read on my mother’s narrative (read here) and I began to understand why. My remotest childhood memories then were between the ages of 3-4, prior to the birth of my sister in 1985. I was born in Tabuk, Kalinga but because of tribal conflict in August 1982, we left for Lubo, Tanudan. My brother (next to me) was only 10days old and I just turned 1year when we made the sudden departure narrated by my mother.
The events that are told over and over again, recounted by siblings, parents, grandparents and even aunts and uncles, are the ones that I recall readily and become vivid. It is like pieces of a puzzle put together to give a larger picture. To retrieve other details like years, I have to rely on referencing like birthdays, special occasions, and historical events. Thus, for me long term memories comprised the events or experienced that has impact on me. Most of these events are adventures and misadventures, strong emotional situations like feeling in despair, and yes triumphant moment too. I think retrieval of memories is made easy when we use our social relations too.
So what are the implications to learning strategies, teaching practices and instructional designs? Just like remembering events in our life, we can use the same strategy in learning. Elaboration, allocating attention, primary-recency effects, germane cognitive load, dual coding are just some of the theory to employ. First, teachers should provide for meaningful and authentic experiences for students to develop their skills of elaboration. This will help them enhance their learning and cultivate higher-order thinking skills which consequently register into the long term memory. Second, give full attention to important details/concepts/ideas. Learn to focus on things that matters whether in learning or giving instructions. Third, knowing that we have limited working memory, teachers should introduce new concepts or key terms at the start of the lesson or during prime-time, and give seat works or exercises on recency time. Fourth, germane cognitive load is useful for learning since it contributes to schema formation. However, since working memory has limited capacity, cognitive load should have adequate level. Fifth and last, dual coding theory facilitate teaching-learning by creating lessons that contain both text and images to allow learners to have better grasp of the materials presented.
In conclusion, we tend to remember memories that have great impact in our lives, those moments when we have strong feelings and related with other people close to us, like family. Similarly, in learning, we tend to remember things when we elaborate or give full attention to what we are studying. Hence, learning involves our conscious effort to encode, process, and retrieve information that is in our long term memory.