Okay, trimester is over and here I am still trying to finish tasks. I look at how many more unfinished tasks and I get so overwhelm! I have been in prayerful mode for the past days. Lord, help me! Grant me the strength and wisdom to accomplish all these. I am not giving up. Failure is not an option (Thanks teacher for that encouragement, it sure helps). Yes, I can do this! Hep hep hooray!
I think the most important behaviour a learner must acquire to thrive in a distance learning environment is having a positive attitude. It is crucial that we maintain positive outlook especially when we are experiencing difficulties in our studies. This is also related to having high self-efficacy. Self-efficacy according to Bandura is “the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations.” Simply, self-efficacy is a person’s belief in his/her ability to achieve a goal. This belief determines how a person thinks, behave, and feel. Therefore, it is important that a student has high sense of self-efficacy because s/he is more likely to get intrinsically motivated and will be more optimistic to face difficult task or challenges.
In module 4, we learn about self-efficacy. It has four sources and teachers can use various strategies to help student build their self-efficacy.
- 1) Mastery experience. Students’ successful experience boosts self-efficacy while failures erode it. Teachers can help by providing challenging yet attainable objectives for all tasks/activities.
- 2) Vicarious experience. Students’ strengthen their beliefs in their own abilities when they observe peers succeeding in doing task. Teachers can help by providing cooperating learning structures in which students work together and help one another. This strategy promotes more positive self-evaluations of capability and higher academic attainments.
- 3) Verbal persuasion. Giving praise and positive feedback surely boost self-efficacy. Teachers can help by providing credible communication and timely feedback to guide the student through the task or motivate them to make their best effort.
- 4) Emotional state. Positive attitude lifts up self-efficacy while anxiety can demoralise it. Teachers can help stabilize emotion by providing a reasonable level of stimulation that creates energizing feelings rather than causing stress by giving too many exams or reports. J
As one who is into distance learning, I can help others acquire positive attitude by giving encouragement to my peers/classmates/groupmates. In particular, encouraging those who are also lagging behind but are determine to finish the course. Being positive myself, I can influence others to do the same. On a practical level, giving comments and feedback to input of my group mate is a way of showing support, like saying that I actually read and is thankful for the sharing because you learn from it. Personally, I am grateful for those who sincerely give comments and feedback to my work too. It gives me the impression that I am actually contributing something worthwhile. This boosts my self-efficacy and consequently, maintain positive attitude that I am going to achieve my goal—slowly but surely! 🙂
Behaviourism in the Classroom
I remember the first time I taught in kindergarten. This I guess was the most challenging and traumatic experience I ever had. The former teacher had to exit (back to their home country) and I was the one who took over the second semester. We have 33 pupils (24 boys, 9 girls) ages 4-6. Prior to her leaving the class, I was with her for 1 week observing the lessons. Under her advisory, the children already have established their routine—from their sitting arrangement, placement of diary, notebooks, and books, their arts supplies and how to go to canteen, to the bathroom, etc. In short, everything was orderly and I saw that it was going so smoothly. What I just noticed was that, the moment teacher leaves the classroom; all these children go wild as if they have been freed from prison. So by the time I finally took over the class, I found it difficult to put the class in order. The children don’t seem to recognize my authority. They don’t take me seriously. What used to be an ideal teaching ‘moment’ (pupils listen intently to their teacher) was replaced by chaos. Soon everyone wants to talk freely to her classmates, doing things that they like such as drawing and some even fights over things they don’t agree with. I do not like shouting, I do not have a loud voice, and I don’t want to use a stick, much more bang the board or table with it. Sadly, this was the practice used such that children will ‘behave’ properly. I want to establish my own system of discipline or classroom management but I had hard time implementing it. It was indeed frustrating on my part.
Now that I can look back, and after studying behaviourism, I can learn so much from my experience and from literatures. Basically, the behavioural theory view knowledge as a repertoire of behaviours. According to behaviourist, one is born with a blank slate (tabula rasa). In order for a person to learn, he/she must acquire new behaviour through conditioning. These conditioning can be in the form of classical and operant (Pavlov); and reinforcement and punishment (Skinner). In short, people learn by responding to certain stimulus. Thus, teaching and learning practices capitalize on behavioural management to provide for positive stimulating learning environment.
The use of skill-and –drill, question (stimulus) and answer (response), guided practice, and regular reviews of material are just some of the ways behavioural theories facilitate learning. Learners will continue to modify their environment, until they receive positive reinforcement. Reinforcement like verbal praise, good grades and prizes give students the emotional motivation to learn and strive harder. However, the use of negative reinforcement can hurt learner and can have adverse effect on their learning.
Below is some of the learning that I will be using when I will be given the opportunity to handle a class.
First, I will demonstrate certain behaviours that I want the children to learn. Example: the use of polite expressions. I will say Thank You, Please, You are Welcome, I am sorry, etc. to my class; and if I hear them saying these words/phrases, I will reinforce that behaviour by praising their effort. I will be consistent and always follow it up.
Second, if I want to encourage students to answer questions during class discussion, I should praise them for every attempt that they make, regardless if their answer is incorrect. Then gradually, I will just praise students when their answer is correct and over time, assuming that students are engaging in discussion, I will just praise exceptional answers.
Third, unwanted behaviour such as tardiness and dominating class discussion can be extinguished by being ignored rather than being reinforced by having attention drawn to them.
Fourth, I will vary the reinforcement that I give to my students so that good behaviour will be maintained. I know this is not easy task but with patience and perseverance, I will be successful.
Fifth and last, I will not use punishment (any form of punishment) both at school or at home. The word punishment has a strong negative connotation and I am not in favour of using it to manage behaviour. According to research, there are many problems with using punishment, such as:
- Punished behaviour is not forgotten, it’s suppressed – behaviour returns when punishment is no longer present.
- Causes increased aggression – shows that aggression is a way to cope with problems.
- Creates fear that can generalize to undesirable behaviours, e.g., fear of school.
- Does not necessarily guide toward desired behaviour – reinforcement tells you what to do, punishment only tells you what not to do.
I remember using collective punishment by making the whole class stand when someone defiantly does bad behaviour. My intention was for the pupils to realize that they are accountable to their peers. However, I quickly learn that the person who is mischievous is dislike by his/her classmates. As a consequence, instead of doing better, that person becomes more defiant and prone to bullying. I learned my lesson the hard way, so I commit to not imposing punishment. Even as a student, I hated punishment. It is demeaning and will not do any good.
In conclusion, behaviourism is use in shaping classroom behaviour. The desired behaviours are given positive reinforcement so that the student will behave accordingly. However, reinforcement needs consistency and continuity for the preferred behaviour to persist. Otherwise, such behaviour will just be forgotten or ignored.
McLeod, S. A. (2015). Skinner – Operant Conditioning. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/operant-conditioning.html
Of Intelligence and Success
“Eh ano ngaun kung UNO ka, Engg ka ba?” says one of UP Yabang shirt. I was riding a jeep on my way to class and I happen to read such a ‘strong’ statement. It brings back memories of the time I was struggling as an engineering student. We have this dreaded subjects that to get a grade of 3.0 makes you the above average student. To get a higher grade means you are ‘out of this world’ and to fail is just normal. Looking back, I realized that it is not all about grades. What actually matter is the ‘better’ person that you have become as a result of your learning experience. Surely, grades will give you an advantage, but it will not define your success forever! J
So we ask, what is intelligence? What abilities constitute it and how is it acquired? Many authors tried to define intelligence but I come to an agreement with the composite definition from Perkins. He says that intelligence is a combination of the ability to 1) learn, 2) pose problems, and 3) solve problems. Moreover, he argues that each of us can become more intelligent through study and practise, through the use of appropriate tools, and through learning to make effective use of these tools.
We can say that a person is intelligent when he is able to use his brain while learning from experience, education, and training. I do think that to recognize problem situation indicates higher intelligence as concepts or knowledge are transformed into meaningful relations. To integrate all these learning and come up with a ‘product’ or solving difficult problems will again indicate high(est) intelligence. However, I am not yet convince that one can measure intelligence accurately. A high IQ test result does not necessarily mean high intelligence but only an indicator of academic success.
I too believe that intelligence is acquired from both hereditary genes and environmental factors. The debate on nature versus nurture is still on-going. But for me, I say that gene (nature) plays a role in determining intelligence up to a certain level. The remaining influence will have to be that of the environment (nurture). Like I said, I agree with Perkins that one can enhance intelligence, and that is through having favourable environment for learning. A nurturing environment would mean having the resources to have quality education, loving and caring family, well provided needs and even wants, healthy lifestyle, to name a few.
How do theoretical perspectives on intelligence vary?
Binet and Spearman were among the first to develop mechanism for testing intelligence. They believe that a person’s intelligence can be measured. Hence, Binet introduced the concept of mental age that was used in evaluating children that were in need of academic assistance; while Spearman used factor analysis to examine mental aptitude test. He found out that people who perform well on one cognitive test tended to perform well on other tests. Hence he concluded that intelligence is a general cognitive ability that could be measured and numerically expressed as a single factor, a.k.a g factor.
On one hand, both Thorndike and Stenberg associate intelligence with adaptation or our ability to change in response to our environment. For Thorndike, he suggested that behavioural associations (connections) could be predicted by that he describe as the Law of effect and Law of exercise. These laws basically talks about behavioural responses a result of a stimulus applied. As for Sternberg, he also defined intelligence as a form of purposive adaptation to real-world environment. Moreover, he proposed that three different factors make up what he calls ‘successful intelligence’. These factors are: 1) analytical intelligence, 2) creative intelligence, and 3) practical intelligence. The last factor refers to the ability to adapt to changing environment.
On the other hand, there are those who proposed that intelligence cannot be expressed as single factor but there is actually different (distinct) form of intelligence. Among those were Stenberg (successful intelligence, 3 factors), Perkins (IQ has 3 dimensions), Gardner (multiple intelligence, 8 distinct), and Goleman (emotional intelligence).
Now, here is what I have to say. I agree with the importance of devising a test that can give measurement of certain abilities like that of IQ and g factor. The intension (to help identify those who need extra assistance, or to evaluate mental development) of such test is noble. However, test result should only serve its purpose and not be misused.
Among these theories, I am inclining to follow and support Perkins. I also believe that our intelligence is made up of three components namely 1) neural, 2) experiential, and 3) reflective intelligence. I like how he mentioned that our neural intelligence is affected while in the womb (pre-natal care). And that experiential intelligence is the accumulation of one’s expertise. He said that people who live in nurturing environment have higher intelligence. And lastly, reflective intelligence makes effective use of both the neural and experiential intelligence. I think this reflective intelligence is the most important because a person can actually develop a habit of mind. What more? It can be learned and be improved. I think this is what we call critically reflective practice that is useful for both learning and teaching.
How do different theoretical views about intelligence affect the ways we teach or learn? As a learner, our views and beliefs about intelligence affect the way we approach learning. If we believe that through disciplined study and rigorous practice, and the use of appropriate tools and different learning strategies, we can do better at understanding concepts and enhancing our knowledge, skills, and aptitudes. Similarly, as a teacher, our belief that intelligence can be enhance will make us more creative and innovative in finding ways and means to provide for a nurturing learning environment for our students to optimize their learning experience.
Eh ano ngayon kung matalino ka, maligaya ka ba? This question I think is more appropriate for me. Intelligence is important in our learning journey but it should not define our level of success. Instead, we always strive to do better every time we study or seek to learn. This brings more joy and contentment as we continue to embark on our learning expedition. 🙂
Module 1 has been a challenge for me. I thought I have been reflective in both my learning and teaching. As a student, I was good at taking notes and I study my notes many times in order for me to learn whatever lesson I was into. Usually, I gave myself time and space and be away from distractions for me to focus on my studies. I would internalize on the things that I have learned, trying to understand difficult concepts, and finally integrating entire lesson. With regards to my teaching experience, reflective teaching practice for me was about being aware of different strategies and putting them on record (journal). This will then serve as basis in evaluating what practices need improvement or what needs to change. However, this module made me realize that I had a myopic view of what critically reflective teacher is. Allow me then to communicate what I learned using the reflective cycle by Gibbs.
Description (What happened?)
This module taught me about reflective practise, how it is done, and how it can help educators improve their teaching practices. Also, I learned how to differentiate reflection from critical reflection. What I realized was that my view of reflection was so narrow that I have to think real hard and try to understand all the concepts presented in the first module. Honestly, I am still trying to purposely apply all the learning that I have (most especially the use of four lenses namely autobiographies as learner/teacher, students, colleagues, and theoretical literatures), hence this explain my attempts at writing this journal following Gibb’s reflective cycle. I still have difficulty understanding concepts such as those categories of assumptions. To hunt for assumptions was already a struggle; much more pressing was to classify them into categories such as paradigmatic, prescriptive, and causal assumptions.
Feelings (What were you thinking and feeling?)
I was thinking that critical reflection was done alone but was surprised to learn that it should involve other people’s perspective as well as from theoretical literature. I thought the process of reflection was that simple only to be overwhelmed by the depth and processes one needs to undergo (Gibb’s cycle).I felt sad that I was not reflective during my college days. I regret not learning this earlier. But now, I am excited to learn about critical reflection to improve my learning and teaching.
Evaluation (What was good and bad about the experience?)
Looking back, my struggles (focus, discipline, time management) and failures (yes I have failing grades) will now serve as lessons learned. It may be seen as bad experience but I cannot do anything now, except to strive harder and not repeat the same mistakes or bad habits. What is good about it is that I am now committed to doing the right way, which is to be critically reflective.
Analysis (What sense can you make of the situation?)
If I am to hunt for assumptions regarding my learning, I would say that all my actions came from what I think I know. My assumptions were based on what I experienced and what I observed from others. Say for example, if I spent more time in studying a subject, I will get high grades. To me, more time spent means more knowledge and understanding gained. As it turned out, more time does necessarily mean ‘productive’ study. Even if you study for short time, for as long as your mind is receptive then study time is effective. The key here is to study reflectively. Another assumption was that reflection is done alone, on a solitary place, where one can spend time thinking about an event that took place. To me, reflection is a way to rewind happenings and to finally let go of whatever feelings you are harbouring. Be it frustrations, regret, or positive vibes (just to feel good). But then again, critical reflection involves other’s input like that of peers, teachers/students, and literatures. It was never an ‘alone’ activity, nor does it stop when you feel good or to let go of bad feelings. Instead, critical reflection likewise covers your plan of action. Furthermore, it is not a one way process but a cycle. Last example I can think of was the assumption that an excellent student (with honours) makes an excellent teacher. Of course I learned this earlier in my university days that it was not so. Teaching is more than the possession of knowledge or critical thinking. Teaching involves not just the transmission of whatever knowledge, skills, or behaviour to students, but more of finding ways how to facilitate learning, providing for nurturing environment that maximizes both learning and teaching.
Conclusion (What else could you have done?)
I therefore conclude that reflective teaching practice is the process of deliberate and systematic application of critical reflection. Teacher benefit from critical reflection as they will learn how to become lifelong learners, understand how they learn so they can articulate their learning to others, and to keep records of development to further hone their teaching skills/instruction.
Action Plan (If it arose again, what would you do?)
Having known the importance of critical reflection, I commit to become a critically reflective teacher. From now on, I will keep record of learning experiences or critical instances where I can reflect and develop a habit of writing critical reflection using the four lenses. Lastly, I commit to learning continuously as this will improve my pedagogic actions.
After reading the resources of this module, did your definition of reflection and your opinions of reflective teaching practice change? Why or why not? How?
After reading the resources in module 1, my definition of reflection and my opinion of reflective teaching practice definitely changed for the better. What I used to view as personal or alone time thinking (reflection) was much more than what I thought it was. Now, I view reflection from a wider perspective using the four different lenses. Moreover, I am now committed to applying reflective teaching in my future endeavours.
Finally, to echo the lesson objectives of this module, a critical reflection skill is essential for transformative teaching, lifelong learning and continuing professional development. Since educators are at the forefront of learning, they should be empowered to conduct objective and principled self-evaluation, to engage in collaborative reflection, be better educators and decision makers, and to solve issues and improve their practices.
University of Kent. What is reflective learning? https://www.kent.ac.uk/learning/PDP-and-employability/pdp/reflective.html
University of Kent. Becoming a critically reflective teacher. https://www.kent.ac.uk/teaching/documents/qualifications/criticallyreflectiveteacher.pdf
What is learning? This question seems so easy to answer because I believe I have been learning since I can remember. But then again, what is learning? It took me more than a month to finally force myself to come up with a ‘concrete’ definition of learning. Prior to studying module 1, my definition of learning is ‘Learning is a lifelong process of explorations and discoveries, acquiring knowledge and making sense of life experiences in order to improve the quality of our lives’. Having exhausted all that I have learned about learning, and comparing to Schunk definition of learning which is ‘Learning is an enduring change in behaviour, or the capacity to behave in a given fashion, which results from practice or other forms of experience.’ (Schunk, 2012), I can say that somehow, my definition of learning and that of Schunk’s are similar. Here, Schunk gave three elements of learning, namely: 1) change, 2) endurance over time, and 3) consequence of experience. Going back to my definition, I think I have satisfactorily incorporated the three elements. However, after going through the many readings and resources for module 1, I can say that learning is so much more. What I am sure of right now is that my definition of learning will again be ‘refined’ along the way. So let me look back on my learning journey…
How did I learn before? So far I can say that in terms of academics, I have travelled fairly well. I finished my engineering degree on time, I was able to enrol for a diploma course then decided to pursue masteral (although I was not able to finish it), and now, I am into professional teaching course. When I was just starting on my career, I set goals about my (future) family and career. I remember making timelines. In it were the things I want to have like cars, houses, and more properties (you name it). Moreover, I set goals for life’s major events such as getting married, having kids, finish graduate school (even post PhDs), and be successful as I have always dreamt of. Yes, back then good education was my ticket to accomplish all these goals. So I was focused with my studies. As a student, I think I learned to study to the test. Learning was all about putting the course syllabus to heart, making sure that I successfully finish all requirements. Now that I am into ‘formal’ (I paid for a tuition, this is not free so I must strive to do harder, sayang ang pera!) learning again, I realized that my study habits or my attitude is still the same. Yes, I still have to learn so many things.
I looked at my transcript of records, diploma, and certificates. I accumulated ‘evidences’ of my learning. Yet I am not confident that I learn because honestly, I have not really gain mastery of my subjects in college. My learning was not that deep, it was all superficial. All those higher Mathematics and engineering subjects, I think they just went down the drain. Most of what I learned in school was not what I needed in real life. I don’t think that my education corresponds to what my job demands. So this experience made me realize that to stay competitive in the workforce, we must not stop learning. We should not be content in having a university degree because whether we like it or not, we need work to earn incomes that provides for our needs and wants. To learn more will give us the advantage in life—job promotion, confidence, or just more determination to be at the top of whatever endeavours we are in.
How should I learn now? Module 1 of this course talks about the many different theories in learning and how it can impact both our own learning and teaching. As aspiring teacher myself, I need to maximize my learning in order for me to become the effective (critically reflective) teacher that I would like to be. I shall look into details on how I apply all these theories of learning covered in the succeeding modules. But for now, my take away for module 1 is that our learning needs awareness, a conscious effort on our part to continuously seek to apply and test theories and principles that we gain through learning. We have to be critically reflective and have to put into writings (like eJournal) as these will serve as reference in explaining our learning/teaching experiences. Having said that, allow me to write the new concepts that I learn. From now on, I will continue to develop theoretical knowledge about content and pedagogy (Technical Rationality) that will eventually be called Practise-based theory due to further improvement in the knowledge developed. Moreover, I will adapt and experiment with the different practises, applications, and development of theories, hence the Theory-in-use. Finally, I will synthesis these theories and practices to become tacit knowledge. And the learning cycles go on and on. It never stops!
What then is learning? In the above definition, learning has three elements. Now, I can say that learning has much more elements in it. Learning is alive and dynamic. It is a lifelong process. We have to maximize our own learning to benefit from it, whether in teaching or across various discipline. We have to cultivate our learning or else it becomes stunted. Our learning should manifest in our interactions or dealings with others because eventually, the goal of learning is finding meaning to life and appreciating our very existence. Learning therefore is life itself.
This serves as my Final Post for EDS 113. 🙂
If learning is a journey, where would I be? The 10-weeks journey to learning assessment has been an adventurous one. With extra ‘baggage’ (the life of a stay-at-home mom with a toddler, a pre-schooler, and a 3rd grade kid) to carry with me, I think I managed to climb up the hills and to the mountain’s peak. Now, I have a better perspective and can appreciate the view below. I used to dread assessment because it means having to prepare for an examination that requires memorization, and that I need to get high grades to be in the Honor Roll. This myopic view of assessment has been changed.
Let me share with you my 10 stopovers along the way.
- Assessment. I will always bring with me my knowledge and skills on assessment because it is an integral part of learning-teaching.
- Evidence of Learning. I will continually look for sound evidence of learning. That way, I know I am at the right path.
- Assessment Cycle. This one goes round and round. The Plan-Do-Check-Act is a handy reference.
- Alignment. When the going gets rough and the road becomes bouncy, look again on the objectives and do the necessary re-alignment of activities and assessment.
- Bloom’s Taxonomy. This is a good tester to carry on a journey. I should not be content with low-level thinking skills, instead strive for higher-level.
- Effective Feedback. This is a mirror; it reflects my learning progress so I will clearly see what needs to be done.
- Peer & Self-Assessment. This is not just about me, it is also about whom I journey with. I need to assess whether I am an asset or a liability to the group. I should know what to do.
- Traditional & Non-traditional. Along the way, we will realize that we have different preference. Just choose what is appropriate for the task at hand. Traditional or Non-traditional, both are important.
- Table of Specifications. This is checklist for what to bring along in our trip. We make sure to cover everything we need to successfully pass the test.
- Rubrics. Never lose sight of your guide map. It tells you how to arrive at your next destination.
So where am I in my journey? I think I just scaled Mt. Pulag! One more trimester and I will reach Mt. Apo. For who knows, the next expedition would be Mt. Everest.
To my fellow climbers, thank you for the company, I learned so much from your posts on discussion forums, from reading your thoughts and reflections on your journal, and for the collaborative learning in making our assignment. Truly, two heads are better than one.
To our Guide, Teacher Malou, you have always been an encouragement right from the start. I may not be sending you messages but please know that I read all your post, announcement, and yes your tips/clues and I appreciate all your efforts. Your Essential Stuffs (Course Guide and Power Tools) were really helpful. Now I got to pay more attention to rubrics and I will try to maintain my eJournal.
And of course, special thanks to my family for keeping up with my ‘craziness’ every due date.
So long farewell, till our next climb. Bon Voyage!
As I study Module 6, I came to realize that there are just so many classroom assessment techniques that a teacher can employ for effective teaching and improve learning for the students. What strikes me most is the use of alternative assessment techniques. I am at awed of how creativity and innovative techniques can impact authentic tasks to achieve better learning experience. On this particular module, I also learned that for test to be effective, it should be designed in a systematic way like setting up Table of Specifications (TOS) just to make sure that assessment is aligned with the objectives, and that the test design satisfies the different cognitive level. This TOS is mainly use to design traditional assessment but can be improved or modified to suit alternative assessments. Moreover, I came to appreciate the use of rubrics in giving scores and how it can be used as reference for student to gauge the quality of their own work and to encourage self-assessment to improve further learning. Similarly, the use of feedback in assessment can greatly contribute to the achievement of learning goals because timely and effective feedback is meant to improve tasks.
From my experienced, most of the assessment I have had were of traditional kinds. Assessment usually consists of multiple choices, true/false, fill-in the blank, and other commonly used techniques in the classroom. I doubt if this teacher made assessment have gone thru systematic design using a TOS. I remember being frustrated at times when my expectations of certain tests or exams have failed me. Sometimes, test only consist of one type, say all multiple choice. Other times, all questions require an essay answer. And by the way, according to good teaching practises, teachers must refrain from giving the students freedom to choose and answer essays that they want to write about. Ideally, students in one class must answer the same set of questions in order for the teacher get a precise measurement of the class learning. But then again, what is more important in designing effective test is to have clear goal or purpose in doing such assessment.